Where does the urge to question come from?
I mean the deep, gnawing, relentless kind of grown-up questioning that typically arises from a desire to unearth a Truth, or remove the veil of “fact” from a fallacy. In my own experience, there is nothing that compels me to action quite like the provocation of truth-seeking.
There are a heck of a lot of things that I question in life. I question whether organic food is really that organic, I question the debate over vaccines and why those who ask too many questions are labeled as “anti-vaxers” without a second thought, I question why so many new mothers are terrified of giving birth naturally, why that at this time in America we do not have a system of paid maternal leave for at least a full year, why gun control is even a debate, and a million other things that are external and far-reaching. But lately a lot of my questioning is centered on my own life, the existential, and the internal.
I’m nearly 36 weeks pregnant. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and I work 7 days a week. These past few weeks I have had trouble coping with the degree of my daily exhaustion, wanting so badly to keep working at full-speed but having my body yelling at me to slow down! Take a nap! Hey! You’re tired because you’re growing a HUMAN inside of you! Relax!! Drink some wine! (oh no, wait, not wine I mean water. Yes, water.)
And up come all the questions…
Will I be able to handle work-life with two children? When will I have energy to make it through a full day again? Why am I so unbelievably tired every day? Will my daughter be happy or jealous when the new one arrives? How will I cope emotionally? Can I keep it all together? How can I run two businesses and raise two children at the same time? Is any of it possible? Am I crazy?
Somewhere deep down I know that I can and will manage just fine. My focus and drive always seem to come back to where they need to be, when they need to. But the thought of having to take a break is scary for me. To allow myself to lose control of my highly scheduled daily routine is an unsettling feeling. And yet, I remember what it felt like to have my daughter as a newborn and to be so completely and totally in the moment with her for those first 8 weeks. I did completely let go. Granted, it was much easier then because she was my first and I wasn’t working at all– I was in a totally different phase of life. But still, I believe that I can recapture at least some of that placidity and focus on the moment.
I’m afraid to let go of my work-life because I don’t want to fall behind… I don’t want to let it go. I want to be that super-mom who can keep running her business from home and stay on top of everything like a mythical goddess. But that ain’t gonna happen. There are no real life goddesses. Even the most impressive women in the world have to slow down at times.
Questioning parts of ourselves, parts of our own lives, and those external “big” things outside of our own lives is vital to being human. It is how we learn and grow and adapt. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and I think where I am right now is venturing into obsessive territory. I have to come to terms with what is reasonable and good for me and my family, and allow the pieces to fall into place as they will. I won’t have time to keep up with work or emails or keeping my sink free of water spots right after this baby arrives, because those things simply aren’t as important as holding my newborn in my arms and doing absolutely nothing but cooing at him or her for hours on end. Yes. That is what I must do. And funnily enough, it’s exactly what I want to do. I want to be a mother and only a mother for those precious early weeks after giving birth. I have to find a way to give myself the permission to do so. Everything else will still be there, and most likely nobody but myself will notice the cobwebs that slowly grow around it all. It’s not to worry about, cobwebs can easily be swept away. Anyway, spiders are good for the balance of the eco-system. 🙂
I will continue to question the parts of my life that don’t fall into place naturally, so that I can be a balanced individual who doesn’t take more than she gives or give more than she takes. But one thing I know without a doubt… the first moments after my new child arrives into this world will be without a trace of questioning. I will be too filled up with wonder and awe at what Life is capable of creating. And maybe, just for a brief while, I will let go of time and stress and worry and external cares and just be present. And I’ll probably have a glass of wine, too.
photo collage by Tara Tona