Thursday, July 7, 2011

Motherhood Changed Me

For the first two months we both got up, three to four times per night. It was usually Kate who woke me up, and then I would wake both Jack and Mary as it was snack time. We took turns with each one, alternating bottles and nursing (Jack generally handling the bottle shift) and with rare exception, Mary would finish first, or fall asleep, and Jack would take her and happily climb back into bed. That left me with Kate, and in my struggle to stay awake, reruns of the Nantucket based comedy, Wings.

One night, after Jack and Mary had left me alone in the dark with Kate and the Hackett brothers, I dozed and woke to find not Joe and Brian and Sandpiper Air but Susan Smith, the mother convicted of rolling her car with her two young sons strapped into their car seats into a lake, on my television. Where only one year before the story of Susan Smith horrified me, now, in the dark with my tiny child nestled in my arm, I was nauseated. Motherhood changed me, the idea of being responsible for the death of my children was more than my exhausted self could take and I immediately turned off the television and headed back to bed, keeping Kate close to me for the rest of the night.

My curious self had watched much of the original programming when the Susan Smith story first made news. By all accounts hers was a truly horrible childhood, full of the kind of things that create really destructive adults. She lied, she deceived her community, she placed blame on an anonymous black man and in the end, she killed her children. And eight years ago I could watch it all on television, with a odd curiosity as to how could this really happen.

Not anymore. Motherhood changed me, it's more than I can even consider, and it's unconscionable.

1 comment:

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

On a semi-related note, I had a really poignant realization when our girls were 7 or 8 months old. I was casually watching a football game after the girls were in bed, and one of the players (not even a team I knew very well) sustained what looked like a terrible head / neck injury.

Always before I would have watched intently, hoping the player was OK...but I found myself in tears. I could only think of his mother, and what must have been going through her mind.

Motherhood really awakens the senses, and puts so many things in new perspective.


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