Let’s Call it a Life Pivot
There is perspective to be found while laying on the bathroom floor. You have to squint a little to see it, but right there nestled between three positive pregnancy tests and the layer of grime you’ve been meaning to clean off the counters you can find it. It might take a day or two before you want to acknowledge it, but it is there.
I was speaking at a conference the first time I heard the term ‘pivot.’ It was several years ago, and the startup term wasn’t nearly as overused as it is today. I immediately liked it because it reminded me of basketball. A pivot. I could conceptualize exactly how the term would be applied to work. You are facing one direction, you leave one foot planted firmly in known territory, but you change your view completely by turning the opposite way. I imagine myself swiveling in this manner when I feel I’m approaching a wall. One foot steady, one foot embarking on something new.
I’ve been in this place before. Not this bathroom floor. Not these three pregnancy tests. But this position, this disbelief, this perplexity and confusion. Except last time I was a baby myself, a mere 23 years old, and now I am eleven years older, eleven years wiser, and eleven years the mother of a child who asks in a shy voice if I think she is too old to still be tucked in at bedtime. I have a job. I have a degree. I have a marriage and a house and a dog who helps all of us practice patience and unconditional love. I have every single thing I thought I needed the times before, and yet this place feels exactly the same.
I’m not worried about losing sleep. I’m not worried about losing money. I’m not worried about not having enough time, or energy, or brain power to make it through a single day. I know how these things will go. I know there is somehow always enough. I know that abundance is a term we all get to define and quality is a term we never think we meet. The worry, the haunting thought that implants itself in my head a few weeks after that amazing embryo did the same in my womb is this:
What if I’m a better mom to this baby than I was to my first two?
The thought is enough to bring me to that dirty bathroom floor again, and again.
In what other endeavor in life would we ever second guess ourselves because we might have actually improved at something?
I’m baffled by the thought and paralyzed by it, all at the same time.
I keep coming back to the unfairness of it all. How different the experiences of my children will be. How different I will be.
The pivot idea helped me.
What if I’m actually still the same mother, to all of them, and it is just the view that changes? What if the foot that remains grounded is actually much stronger than the swivel that whirls us around to new surroundings? What if I love this baby as fiercely as I love my first two, and nobody keeps score about anything else?
That sounds like a life pivot I can live with.
At 10 and 8 I’m not done parenting them. I can improve for them as much as I can for the new baby. They can learn that being a mother, like everything else in life, is a constantly evolving task and our work is never really finished.
I’m off the bathroom floor. One foot steady, one foot embarking on something new. Ten weeks into this journey.