Mat Leave Musings

I’ve had so many blog titles bopping around my brain for the past few weeks and no time to do anything about them. So on this fortunate night when my 8-month old daughter took all of TWO minutes BY HERSELF to pass out in her crib, I think this post will be an amalgamation of the various working titles I’ve had flying around my head lately. Here they are:

“Am I Addicted To My Daughter? (Is that a thing? If it is, I’m pretty sure I am)”

“Are These My Tits Or Did Someone Replace Them With Pancake Batter?”

“What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?” a.k.a. “Fuck: Mat Leave Is Almost Over”

and lastly “OMG I Wanna Cry, She’s Almost A Year Old”

Let’s start with that last one. Prior to becoming a mother, I used to Hate when women said ‘Oh, little so and so is just growing up so fast. Oh little so and so, please stop growing. Sob.’ It drove me nuts because I was like, well why on earth did you have children then?! The alternative to not growing up and getting older is Death. Are you wishing death upon your children?? So let me be clear, I still think that statement is stupid, and I will not wish ever that Sadie stops growing. However- I do get the sentiment. Now that I’m a mother myself, I really, really do.

As of this Friday, Sadie has become her own person, independent of my womb for 8 months now. I have had eight months of watching her grow out of her newborn clothes and into all sorts of mischief and wobbly-legged attempts at bipedalism. Since she’s become more ambulatory, she now wiggles out of my desperate grasp more often than not, and 100% of the time that I have her on the diaper change table.

I chose to make a baby in the hopes that it would become its own independent person, and that experiment is all coming along quite nicely. But I’m realizing now that there are Way more months on the side of the maternity clock that has already passed by, and that our side only has four more months left on it. With the strides she’s making now, I know that those remaining four months will feel more like four hours. I have an acute feeling now that Every Moment with her matters, and that these days of just the two of us spending every minute of it together are numbered.

Hence why I lied to my friends the other weekend, and then spent the following week questioning if I was addicted to my child. If you’re one of the friends I lied to and you’re reading this- I apologize in advance.

There was a Christmas party. One of my babeliest friends was hosting it and it was going to be a blast. Three other amazingly hilarious, energetic, fun-times friends that I love were going to be there too. Only problem was- it was on a Sunday night, from 6-10 pm, and Ryan was away on business. We’re very limited for babysitters, so I didn’t think I could make it. But at 4 pm on Sunday, my friend got back to me and said ‘Sure, bring Sadie by. We can take her no problem.’

By that point, Sades and I were just leaving Superstore in Airdrie and I had already envisioned a romantic night ahead of us snuggling together on the couch, eating popcorn and watching House. So I lied.

I said that I couldn’t find a sitter and told the girls to have a great time and to send me pictures of what I missed. When I took Sadie out of the car seat after our drive home, I removed her little woolly pink winter hat, pulled her into a giant squeeze on the staircase and just inhaled her little baby scent. I drank all of her in and I thought “Yes! This is worth staying home for!”

In the coming days, I began to wonder if these events meant that I had an unhealthy fixation with my child. So I ran this story by a few of my Mom friends (one of whom was at the party and I had lied to), and the consensus (at least from those friends) was No. One said “They’re your child forever, but only your baby for a little while.” And the friend I had lied to said “I actually think it’s so beautiful that you lied to us so that you could spend more time with your child.” So I took their words for it, but if you want to tell me there’s something wrong with me, I’m all ears!

The last two working titles, floppy tits and returning to work, I’ll have to leave for another time, as 11:00 pm now feels like 3:00 am and I can barely keep my eyes open.

XO, Em

The Future is Female (but for today, I am afraid.)

I’ve had the phrase ‘the future is female’ rolling around in my head for days now. Sometimes when it pops into my head, I think of the Fast and Female run I just did in Canmore a few weeks back and I smile at all the grandmas and moms and girls running together. And sometimes, when I look at my baby girl in my arms and think ‘the future is female’, I want to cry.

I’ve wanted to write a blog post about the future being female for awhile now, but every time I sit down to type it, I fear being ‘too political’, and I stop.

And that right there is why I must write this post. Discomfort.

This post makes me uncomfortable.

And I hope it makes you uncomfortable too. 

When I found out I was pregnant this time around, I let myself get excited. We were five weeks and 4 days along when we found out, and I started telling Ryan right away that it was a girl.

When we saw her heart beating for the first time, I knew she was a girl.

I had told Ryan so many times that she was a girl that by the 20-week gender scan I was dying laughing, picturing the moment the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy and Ryan had permission to tease me about it for the rest of our lives.

But, sure enough, at our 20 week scan, the tech looked at us and said ‘I do believe you’re right; it appears we’re looking at a girl!!’ And tears streamed joyously from my eyes. 

I always pictured myself being a boy mom, and here we were, after a termination that I chose to call Matthew, and a miscarriage that we were sure was a Henry, being told that we were going to be parents to a little girly. 

My heart grew a million sizes that day.
A daughter.
A girl.
A Woman, some day.

And once she came forth from my body, I called my mother- a mother of three daughters- and sobbed some sort of warbled voicemail into her machine.

The moment I held my daughter in my arms, I realized how much my mom had ever loved, and lost, in the raising of her three daughters.

I thanked her on the voicemail for managing to live her life with ‘three hearts beating outside of her body’.

That is what my Sadie Greta is to me. She is a piece of my heart that beats outside of my body, and I would do Anything to never see her in pain.

My mom is at my house now until late July, helping me parent this child while hubby is away at work, and as the days go by, we’ve been covering giant sections of family history.

And it strikes me, in a lot of our family history, that women must bear Great burdens.

In our family history tales thus far, we’ve covered domestic violence. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Manipulation. Deceit. Extramarital affairs. Financial control. Abandonment. Sacrifice. Alcoholism. A whole host of nasty things that various women in my family history have had to live with, or die from.

They are stories that I know scraps of, as I have collected bits and pieces of them over the years in my own transition into womanhood, but to hold my baby girl in my arms, and hear them myself as a mother, is Quite different.

This morning’s story time involved the tale of one of my mom’s closest coming of age gal pals being savagely raped and murdered in her boyfriend’s apartment while he was away on tour with his band.

Her crime? Being a girl, and alone, in their apartment.

These stories are not new to me, nor are they uncommon. 

I know the statistics, that 1 in every 3 North American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. And I can only estimate that with rapes that never get reported, that figure is much more like 1 in every 2.

And I look down at my sweet, sweet baby girl, and I think ‘which one of the coin toss will you be?’. And I know that is a friggin Awful thought to have in your head, and trust me, that thought doesn’t live there all the time and take up any more space than it needs to- but it is there.

Because, by birth right, I have had a girl, in North America. And I worry for her.

She was born in a great country, to a loving family, and she undoubtedly has a wonderful future ahead of her, but she also has some mighty steep hurdles to tackle.

At the time that I write this, the stats are:

That Sadie has a in 1 in 3 chance of getting sexually assaulted in her lifetime (http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics)

That for every $1.00 a Canadian man makes, she will make $0.74. (http://www.payequity.gov.on.ca/en/GWG/Pages/what_is_GWG.aspx)

That she will have only a 10 per cent chance of becoming one of the top executives of a Canadian company, and only a 4 per cent chance of ever becoming one of Canada’s CEOs. (https://www.google.ca/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/4807359/female-ceo-wage-gap/amp/)

Those are just her absolute stats, the controls, if you will- but god forbid these following stats ever need apply to her as well:

Every 6 days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Over 80% of police-reported intimate partner homicides are women. On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home. On any given night, about 300 women and children are turned away because shelters are already full. (https://www.canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/)

As I hold my sweet baby girl in my arms, and I listen to my strong warrior mama tell me the tales of the women who have come before me, I trust that Sadie will beat these odds. I trust that she will be a trailblazer, smart as a whip, fearless, loving and confident. 

I know that she is the future, and that the future is female, but a small part of me grieves for her nonetheless. For the extra obstacles she faces simply because she was born a girl. And I am begging you, my boy mom friends that are reading this- please, Please, keep doing your part to raise strong boys. Strong, loving, fearless, confident boys that can help level these crappy stats into rubble. 

The future is in our hands.

XO, Em

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