Please scroll down for the English Version
Dies hier ist ein Beitrag auf Englisch, um an der Blog-Sammlung #EaseIntoMotherhood teilzunehmen, in der es um Nähen und Mutterschaft geht. Ich finde es immer wichtig, ehrlich über Mutterschaft zu sprechen und wollte schon länger mal über das Nähen als Mutter sprechen.
So, I caught a message Monserratt posted in a Facebook-Group, about the project #EaseIntoMotherhood. Its a collection hosted by Monserratt, Erin and Jodi . I highly encourage you to read all the posts, they are honest and true and beautiful. Since I am obsessed with both subjects I naturally wanted to take part and here it is.
Motherhood for me has distinct phases („It’s just a phase…“ ;-) ) so, I divided my text into these phases…
So, you think you can sew your own maternity capsule? Baby says nah. More specifically my baby said „Wow, this world is full of disgusting smells. GAG! GAG! GAG!“ 24/7 for 5 months. Hilarious to my husband. Also hilarious: not having anything to wear when on holiday because overnight-belly-explosion. So, frantical shopping instead of sewing and then I was too big to roll around on my
fancy cutting table floor. But there was so much sewing in my life, since I had plenty of time to distract myself from throwing up by doing sewing research. You can learn so much just by reading and looking at videos. I also took a few Craftsy classes. And since I am mono-focussed at the best of times, I was obsessed with two things: Babies and Sewing. This resulted in a carseat-blanket and a sleepsack we never used, because babyboy was born in the hottest summer in recorded history.
Nothing, really nothing, prepares you for this phase. I was caught in some kind of PTSD mixed with the greatest Lovestory ever told. I could not stop looking at this beautiful being and I cooed and sobbed and thanked destiny for fulfilling all my wishes and then cried about „the ruins of my body“ (hormonal drama is the worst!) and told my husband he better kiss the floor I walk on…
After about ten days I left the house alone for the first time to go to the supermarket and it felt like I had just left the bunker after the apocalypse. I also had a weird moment where I realised I hadn’t looked at myself in ten days, because I was constantly on the move and alert; I had become „Mama“, this person who is so in tune with a tiny human to the exclusion of all other sound.
My maternity wardrobe was all wintery stuff and the hottest summer came along. I was feeling weird in my new shape, my body did not feel like my own. I made larger versions of my TNT faux-wrapdress and then sack-dresses with removable straps. I felt better, being out of the maternity clothes at least. I still remember this weird hormonal mix where you feel really tired but also really hyper and you just want to use every second the baby is not on your body… I became so efficient at everything, even in my sewing there was no experimenting with things I might or might not wear. It had to be a hit each time!
Do you want to know how to sew with a bad sleeper? Place him on daddy’s chest, carry your machine to the farthest room and sew on whatever free surface you can find!
After about three months, those Hyper-Hormones went away and I crashed hard. My boy was a bad sleeper and generally needed permanent physical contact. I would have him on me 22 hours a day, I was going stircrazy, but I hadn’t the energy or free arms to comb my hair and put on make-up. I could let that stop me from taking a much needed walk or I could get fresh air without giving a damn. And thats what happened. Somehow this made me feel even less like my former self, where I never much cared about weight, but I really cared about what I wore. I got comments about the weight-gain and my sloppy look from some familymembers too. (Seriously, don’t ever do that to anyone. And certainly not a new mom. You might meet the wrong new mom and be punched in the face, just saying.)
At the same time, this was liberating. I realised that nothing significant happened if I looked like a Zombie/Mombie. I mean, some people showed that they are insensitive A**hem, but who cares about the opinion of such people? Most people actually just looked at the cutest Baby on the Block and would never recognize me without him. At this stage too I was expressing myself through clothing; through my unhidded undereye-circles, the permanent bun and the milk-stained T-Shirt with matching leggings I didn’t change out of because the kid was screaming his head off the moment I put him anywhere and that literally had me sweating and shaking from stress.
So, no sewing at this point, but a lot of online-shopping for fabrics and patterns. 90% of my stash is from that time. Though we went to a wedding and I made a black onesie with gold buttons for my kiddo for the occasion. And that really got me hooked on the quick-fix that is kids clothing. Seriously, its addicting, sewing something from start to finish in a kid-packed day and then seeing it all cute on the boy… It made me finally get a serger too.
So, I want to mention at this point, that I live in Austria, a country where you get upto three years maternity leave. In case you wondered how I could have the kid on me 22 hours a day…
Well, the kid starting crawling. So that upped my energy-levels. He was still an intense kid, but he accepted Daddy-Time more and more and when they went for long walks I managed to sew quite a bit of (as yet unblogged) things. Though this whole changing-body-thing really has me converted to capsule-wardrobing, which was not my thing at all before. But then I didn’t need to have all my bottoms match all my tops, because I did not change them three times a day. Practicality was also not a priority before and now it really, really was. As was that it really had to be well-made, because I did not to waste my precious time making something I didn’t love.
The whole experience taught me prioritizing in every arena. I did not have boundless energy to waste and I also did not have any down-time to get my energy levels back up. I learned so much about what really matters to me, because I could only give my sparse time and energy to few things and people. I frequently got the feeling that I wasted so much time before, imagine what I could have accomplished… but I also ocassionally miss vegging out with „Call the Midwife“… well maybe not that! Birthscenes have never been quite the same… ;-)
WHAT IS THAT-Phase
So, the second word my son knew was „Spool“. You want to know why? Because everytime I sat down anywhere near the machine, he crawled, ran or demanded I get him to me and then he would take down the Spool and throw it on the ground. He would then turn all the dials on both my sewing machine and my serger, unthread them, turn them on and off till the lamps burst… he constantly stole my washers to let them clang to the floor and I had to be extremely careful with the pins and scissors. It drove me crazy. I mean, Daddy was there with all the toys, can’t I have this one thing…
This phase really taught me to let go of „shoulds“. The kid should be playing with toys. I should try to wear mostly me-mades. I should be back to my old weight by now. He should be sleeping through the night. I should stop breastfeeding. I should really wash my hair more frequently. Sometimes all you should do is let it go. Let it go, and just buy those T-Shirts you need. Let it go, and see that what really matters in the long run is your relationship, not the household, not how you look and certainly not if you are on some fictional schedule. Time for all that will all come back by itself. Let it go, remove the needles from your machines and put them on the floor for your kid to explore freely. (Trust me, they get bored quickly by things that are freely accessible.)
I can’t name this phase yet, but man, this is really sweet. My boy just turned two. He has sewn a row „by himself“. He put a piece of fabric under the needle, then got down and stepped on the foot pedal and watched it zip through. That piece of fabric is now in his memory box. :‘-) He almost knows how to thread the sewing machine. And he plays with Daddy in the evenings and leaves me to it. His signal for going to bed is coming to me and telling me to take off my pincushion. I am so grateful, I made him almost all of his summer-wardrobe… Such is Momlife for me. I fret and complain about my free time and when I get it, I miss the kid.
So, this is how I eased into motherhood. I leave you with a quote that came in the first audiobook (of many) I listened to after my son was born:
„It was babies I loved looking at, the little Lords, sensuous delights of pudgy flesh and fluids. For at least three years I was awash in milk and poop and piss and spit-up and sweat and tears. It was paradise. It was exhausting. It was boring. It was sweet, exciting, and sometimes, curiously, very lonely.“
Siri Hustvedt: Blazing World.