Pretty Odd Blog

The Confusion of Motherhood

To help me transition back to work after baby #3 (who is now eight weeks old) my workplace has graciously allowed me to telework for a month.

I started teleworking today.

My brain is mush.

I won’t say having three children is more difficult than I thought it would be, rather it’s as difficult as I thought it would be and then some. If you read that last sentence again, you’ll see it doesn’t quite make sense. Brain? Meet world. World? Meet brain.

A Brain Divided

It’s too early to say for sure, but I think even teleworking is more difficult than I thought it would be. Now my attention is divided not three ways, but four.

I still have to periodically remind myself that I have three children. How will I remember to remind myself now?

“I have three children, and two projects that are due by the end of August.”

Thankfully, IT projects don’t take nine months to gestate. Wait. Who am I kidding? IT projects take much longer to grow. While I was on maternity leave, a project I had been dreaming about and championing for over a decade was deployed to production. Which is great.

But now I’m back to work, baby is in the next room with husband, and something doesn’t feel right.

All My Children

The last eight weeks have been all about my children. Actually, the first four weeks were all about the new baby. The last four have been all about my elder children. As it turns out, they need as much, if not more, undivided attention than a newborn. It’s not the same kind of attention, and it doesn’t require the same type of energy. It doesn’t exhaust you until you want to cry (usually) but it is exhausting and, ideally, it requires a full night’s sleep to recuperate from.

**insert awkward, mush-brain transition**

Earlier today, I pulled some socks out of the dryer and I saw one of the nightgowns I wore at the hospital after Ava was born. If I was in a crying frame of mind, I would have cried. It’s not that I’m not in a crying frame of mind, it’s just…well, I guess I’m too numb to cry. Not numb in a bad way (or a good way) just numb. My brain cannot compute that just eight weeks ago, this body went from 5 to 10 centimeters dilated in roughly ten minutes. Give or take a few. It was a blur then and it still is.

Maybe that’s what mothering Ava will be like. A constant shock and awe. I can’t even remember if she cried when she came out. I’ll have to ask husband. I do remember during the moments after she was born, he held her while she looked calmly up at him.

I was worried about colic. Turns out Ava is the calmest person in the house. Perhaps she’ll always be the calm eye in the middle of the storm. I can only watch, wait, and see.

The Aftermath

Going back to work after Ava, is, thus far, best described as “confusing”.

Going to work after Noah (baby #2, now four years old) was, in hindsight, an act of will. I didn’t allow myself to feel sadness. Instead, I focused on goals like becoming a full time author, or becoming a part time IT professional and a part time novelist. God had other plans, the actualization of which were not without a fair share of pain. So, I guess you could say, I deferred the pain of leaving precious baby Noah.

Going to work after Isaac (baby #1, now seven years old) triggered profound depression. I felt like my child had died, literally. Hence, why I was staunchly determined not to feel the pain of leaving Noah, and Ava, too. Pain avoidance is often the work of the unconscious mind and is therefore difficult to avoid, ironically.

In Confusion

I have nothing profound to say in conclusion. Yet. Moments this profound require years to assimilate.

Maybe in seven years I’ll be able to offer a snippet of wisdom to mothers in similar situations as mine.

Watch this space.

About the Author

Jessica E. Thomas graduated summa cum laude with Academic Honors in Writing from Ball State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in English and a Minor in Creative Writing. She began her professional career in marketing at a large Indianapolis law firm. Since transitioning to Information Technology in 2001, she has worked in the pharmaceutical, student loan, and finance industries as a computer programmer, systems analyst, Web developer, and technical writer. She has authored two novels, three novellas, a poetry collection, a short story collection, and a children’s book.