"Is it hard?"
The question is asked by an old friend of mine who has no interest in or intention of ever having kids of his own. He lives far away from me, travels a lot, and will see Neeps perhaps once or twice a year, at best. We're currently chatting via, well, Chat, and my fingers hover over the keys for a moment before I respond. Because even the most simple of my answers rapidly becomes complex:
But also yes.
If anything, I've been a little surprised by how easily and naturally I've taken to motherhood. I was definitely braced for it to be a much more difficult transition (and my rejoining the corporate workforce next week may yet fulfill that expectation). But it really hasn't been difficult- weird, surprising, even gutting at times, certainly, but not difficult. I think perhaps my lifelong habit of throwing myself wholly and unconditionally into love is paying off hardcore with this season of my life, because I have that to anchor me: that deep, primal, almost violent love that makes it the most natural thing in the world that I be able to reach deep and give my son what he needs.
But that's not to say it is in fact easy, either. Because actually, yeah, it is hard. Hard in the way that anything awesome can be hard. Climbing an overhung route, or hiking up a steep incline, or coming up with the perfect twist in a narrative- all of those things are hard, hard with a difficulty that varies from day to day as our bodies and minds go through the highs and lows they cycle through. But hard as all of those processes are, they are also really rewarding, and you feel fiercely proud and happy when you get through to the other side.
And, of course, it helps to have a good partner.
I don't want to say that I couldn't do this without Nathan, because I've seen first-hand that you can and will do whatever you have to do for your children, with or without a partner, but I will say that he makes it infinitely easier. Every time I'm reaching the edge of my endurance, I find him there, ready to carry me until I can start walking again.
So no, it isn't hard. Except that yes, it is hard. But most importantly? It's worth it. Easy or hard, it's so worth it.