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Motherhood unveiled By Miriam Miller Photos by Lizzette Miller

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here I was at the local playgroup, talking to the mother of a bouncing baby. We were having a typical ho-hum conversation until she blurted out, “My son came from a sperm donor.” I tried to hide my shock as I had never actually met someone who had done this. I have known many women who wanted to be moms more than anything else they could desire in life, and made great sacrifices to achieve this, but this method felt extreme to me. I wonder what her experience has been, compared to what she imagined when she was a child or even a young woman. It got me thinking about the divide in motherhood between what is perceived, and what actually is. So I started asking around — friends with twins, friends with lots of kids, friends with kids with special needs — and processing my own experience, to articulate one of the most dramatic life changes one could ever desire.

In the room down the hall, my sweet baby is crying. I go pat her on the back in an attempt to settle her back to sleep. I hope that she doesn't end up wanting more than that, since I have tried for three days to write this article, and I am finally getting an undistracted window of time to do it. I didn’t pay any money to become a mom. I did it the old-fashioned way: got married, went on a honeymoon to Italy, and one year later, got lazy with contraception and came home with a “guest” clinging to my uterus. I discovered this one week before my husband said to me, “You should go back to school while we don’t have kids.” I was a little indifferent about being a mother. It seemed like the natural next step, not something that ached inside of me. My first steps into motherhood were very different from my friend Michaela, who always wanted to be a mother. After getting married, she wanted a baby right away. Michaela had caught slippery brown babies in India while away on missions, and had worked as a doula here in Canada. She was a baby/birth junkie, waiting for her number to be called. Both of us had a rough time with pregnancy, complete with excessive nausea, terrible joint and back pain, and the general feeling like everything was the polar opposite of a "glow." Nevertheless, I still consider pregnancy the honeymoon. You hear about a woman getting pregnant with her first baby, and it's all giddiness and dreams. And then the baby arrives — what a shock to every sense! It’s all extremes: exciting, then boring; filled with surprises, and then monotonous. You have feelings of intense love and devotion, but at times, anger and frustration. I have found it very complex, even if my experience so far with two children has been pretty normal. Adelle starts crying again. This time I put her at my breast to soothe her. While she is eating, I am initially irritated, but then I take the moment as a chance to pause and reflect on my writing.

40 | CONVERGE.

march

- april

2013

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