The Curated Life: Sunday Best

“September 26th, 2014

It’s so close now. My body feels so different. My, like, bones hurt and my stomach just feels weird. I’m going to be a mom soon. Ella will be here. I mean, this Wednesday is October 1st! I had a scare this morning, thinking I was in labor. But you know what, I didn’t panic. Maybe I didn’t really think it was a labor but I’m still comforted by how I kept my calm. This pregnancy has taken over my 2014 and it’s almost over. I was looking at all these pictures from this past year and 2013 and they all made me so happy and sad in a weird way. Life is going to change forever and I just hope I’m ready. I feel a little bit that I got pregnant for the wrong reasons. I wanted to move my life forward and justify my existence or something. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve wanted to have kids my entire life or how excited I am to meet Ella. She will be such a loved little girl. I want to know what motherhood feels like and I want to see Matthew with her. I hope parenthood brings us a new, better closeness. But all I can do now is wait. It’s so painful! Physically and mentally. I’m ready and somehow completely unprepared. I just really hope this all goes well.

EB”

That’s a journal entry from almost exactly a year ago. I’ve been going through these entries because Ella, that unknown mythical creature I was referring to, is turning 1 in two weeks. Seems impossible and entirely too soon but it’s true. Of all old posts I’ve read, this one stuck out to me because of that line about getting pregnant for the wrong reasons. I live a life surrounded by young mothers. And when I wasn’t one, I felt isolated. And judged and almost belittled. In my mind, the only way to be good for something was to be a mother. You couldn’t be a jobless, childless, aspiring writer. That existence couldn’t be justified. Obviously, most of that came from some dark internal place within me. But we live in a world where we see the life choices of others immediately as a judgment on ours. I saw these mothers and I knew, I just knew they thought they were my superiors. I didn’t know the sacrifice, the struggle, the work. I thought having a baby would make their judgment and my insecurity go away. Like I wrote, we didn’t have a child and drastically change our lives so that I could feel better about myself but I did kind of expect all of my insecurities to disappear. I didn’t know that when you’re thinking “I’ll be happy when…” that there will always be some thing you don’t have at the end of that sentence. I had Ella but then there were the intimidating moms of two kids. Or three or four. Then the moms who work outside the home. The moms who “have it all.” And the ultimate irony: the carefree no-kids couples who somehow also seemed superior. What I’ve discovered is you can’t win when you think “I’ll be happy when…” There will always be something. If you can’t find lasting happiness now, if you aren’t constantly working for it, you’ll be waiting forever. Because nothing you can accumulate will ever bring a happiness that must come from inside of you.

I’m lucky in that Ella does bring me incredible joy. I hope what I’ve written doesn’t make it sound like I regret her. Oh, I don’t even like having that word anywhere near her name. If there was ever a perfect thing on this earth, it is that girl. She’s my little buddy, my angel babe. But I can’t rely on her existence to make me confident or fight the judgments of others or to shine a light on all the dark internal places. I have to take control of that; I have to decide to be happy now. Not happy when.

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