Today Ziya is one year old. I’m chuffed. She’s lively and happy, glowing and gorgeous. She makes jokes and can’t be easily fooled. She’s got her trademark skeptical look down cold, and she likes to do things for herself rather than having you show her or do it for her. She’s confident, communicative, generally unafraid and she’s clear on what she likes and doesn’t. She knows who is hers and loves to snuggle with us, clearly missing us even in her sleep. She’s growing in body and personality, and is suddenly all arms and legs, no longer just a baby.
My little amazing warrior of light. I smile all the time it seems and she smiles back with her whole genuine self. Sometimes, i wonder at the fact that I’ve never smiled so much in my life. She makes love spring fresh and full each day. Again and again, my heart runneth over.
I’ve become a person I never knew I could be, the kind of mother I only planned on becoming, without knowing if that was realistic or right or not. I’ve also become more confident, more clear and focused, more powerful, more grateful for life. That feeling of being a mother is both armor and vulnerability, spectacular and everyday. I had Zi basically because I wanted to know what it was like to be pregnant, to make a baby and to breastfeed, because I have a woman’s body and potentiality. Now that I know, I’m aware I had no idea at all what was in this place, beyond where I could guess. Motherhood is everything I expected and nothing I could imagine. I know I never made a better decision in my life.
For the last few days, thinking about my virtually three days of labour and hours of birth, I’ve felt like it’s all surreal, like when you win an award or finish an exam or you are about to take off in a plane or when your dream comes true. I can’t believe it’s happening, and it’s hard to be calm and excited, live in this moment and live in them all, all at the same time.
Somehow, I’ve managed to combine work and marriage and motherhood. I’ve not done it perfectly, and whether its missing spending the majority of the week with Ziya or not getting out my publications at work or being too tired for enough quality time with Stone, I’ve had to learn as I often do that I can’t do it all well instantly and simultaneously. I keenly feel these ghost wings, but I’m coming to recognise, if only by necessity and for my sanity and self-acceptance, that I’m born to put one foot in front the next, not to fly. I still wish I had four arms, but when I let things go its because I’m adjusting to the reality of not being that goddess, recognising as women and mothers have to, that we are both divine and only human.
I couldn’t have survived this year without huge amounts of investment, understanding, advice and help from my mother, my research assistant, my boss, my husband, my friends near and far. So many people have helped to carry my cares and burdens, enabling me to continue to stride purposefully ahead. It takes a village to empower a mother to raise her child.
What have I learned? In a sense, no words, just love. To be a better person and to try harder, to reflect and repair, to appreciate and be amazed, to accept and to not abandon ambition, to do my best knowing that it might only be enough to keep the basics together and to continue to evaluate what the basics really are. I’ve learned that few things really are worth stress once my husband is home and my child is healthy and I work for the feminist revolution, the rest will have to unfold as I can shape it and as it should. Above all, I need to be healthy in mind, spirit and body, and even if it’s a work in progress, it’s important work. I need to know honesty, love, aspiration and acceptance to be able to be mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, worker, feminist, woman in all their inter-related moments and forms.
Hopefully, one day, I’ll write and perform poetry again, paint T-shirts again, edit video blogs again and all the other creative parts of life I don’t have time or energy for, I’ll exercise and fete and engage in more activism, but life is about stages and phases, and I’m rocking this one as much as I can.
She’s been her own person here on earth just one year. I’ve been that person who became a mother just one year ago. I’m full of joy for us both. I’m here and I’m loving it, learning from it and living it in full, as much as I can. I’m taking each day as it comes, as much as I can. I’m trying to balance the ups and downs, as much as I can. I’m letting Zi teach me, as much as she can. We’ve got so far to go, together. I’m open to what each of us brings, as much as we can.
Happy first birthday beautiful baby Zi.
May you continue to blossom and become the person you are meant to be.
I could not possibly love you more than I do
I wish all the goodness of the world for you