It’s funny…lately I have been feeling a little bit like I am invisible. It’s not that I feel un-noticed, per se, but I have been feeling acutely aware of the extent to which my personhood is attached to someone else–and that I am, in some ways, so deeply entwined with Esmé that I wonder if I am forgetting parts of who I am. 

Don’t get me wrong…I am far happier with the person I am as Esmé’s mother than the person I was before I had her. I have been able to direct aspects of my personality that weren’t always so charming–my pushiness, impatience, obsessiveness–toward something positive…toward an investment in Esmé’s future, in her safety. And I suppose in that respect I am more me, or at least a better version of me, than ever.
But the flip side of this is that I have been noticing that I seem to lack the ability to separate myself–even when I absolutely need to. I seem to have forgotten what I might need in any given moment…let alone what I might want
In the past I have written about feeling as though I have lost my voice. And I suppose this feeling is partially an extension of that persistent self-censorship…the part of me that refuses to not be optimistic, the part that refuses to give voice (especially in front of Esmé) that what we are doing is challenging and frightening–in addition to being beautiful and hopeful and surprising.
I’m afraid to stop moving forward to some goal for her: therapy, fundraising, treatment. As I have said before…it’s like I cannot stop rowing, because the alternative is unacceptable. 
I think that this is often the experience of new parents–especially new moms–who might forget to meet their own needs through those early difficult months…remembering to eat (or eat well) only in respect to how eating will enable them to care for their new baby. But I feel as though three and a half years in Ez and I have never broken that pattern because of the extent of the care she requires.
The result has been that I seem to only be able to assert my needs in reference to her needs: I need to go to the gym because I cannot be unhealthy and be unable to care for Esmé; I need to get a massage because my back and hip becomes so painful that I struggle to lift her; I need to get out of the house each day (with her) because she gets anxious if we stay in too long. 
And lately it has been occurring to me that many other people also see me almost exclusively in reference to Esmé…and while she is, frankly, the most remarkable thing about me and the most important person in my life, I have to remember that I am more than Esmé’s maman. I am not entirely certain what that means now, because of course I cannot be the person I was before being her mother (nor would I want to be) and being her mother necessarily colors everything I do. But I do know what it feels like when I am seen for more than someone who takes exceptional care of and advocates well for my child–but rather as someone who has chosen her child’s cause as her own. 
And I do know that I need to take some time to think more deliberately about what being more than Esmé’s maman means to me and for my goals…for my needs.
Esmé has been doing so well lately so, I had planned a little away time for myself…and was looking forward to the quiet solitude of a train ride to New York City and back, coupled with a wine, food, and walking-filled weekend with one of my favorite people in the world–someone who knew me well before I was Esmé’s maman–to help me put all of this into perspective. But, through what at this point just seems to be the comically predictably unpredictable nature of my life–that requires a perfect scaffolding of care for Esmé in my absence–I had to cancel the trip…for the second time in as many months. 
Of course I am a big girl and I am used to these kinds of limitations on my ability to go anywhere on my own, but it is a symptom of the larger problem…that I cannot (or don’t know how to) find the space…
For the time being, I’ll keep doing what we do, of course…I will do so with joy, because I am fortunate to have my daughter, because I am fortunate that she is doing well enough that I can even entertain the hope of a one-night break (even if it doesn’t happen). 
And I will try again to find a way to carve out some space for me, whatever that might mean…

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