There is a mother of a newborn on the beach, her sunbed is next to mine, she is skinny, nervous, exhausted. Her husband had taken the infant to sit on the warm sand just a few meters away. She keeps getting up, running over there, coming back. They change the baby’s diaper three times in half an hour.
I try to read, my three year old is playing with daddy in the water, but I can’t concentrate, her stress is bringing back memories of the first months.
Motherhood comes less naturally to some of us. It takes us longer than others to get used to living for another soul, to become selfless, to learn to parent without constant stress, to learn to embrace what we’ve created.
“Excuse me, is it ok if I put this here, there is no shade anywhere else,” she mumbles. It takes me a few seconds to register that she is speaking English, pushing the stroller through the sand.
“Of course,” I say, trying to make more room for her on the crowded beach.
“I feel like I’m invading your space,” she says. “This is Greece in August; there is no personal space,” I smile. The look in her eyes is lost, speedy, she struggles to place the stroller in the perfect spot as her husband places the baby inside.
“Don’t worry, I remember how it is all too well,” I tell her.
“Oh, good, I suddenly don’t feel so alone,” she says.
She pauses, takes a step back, “Does it get easier? Please tell me it gets easier.”
I want to laugh, at myself mostly, having asked that question so many times. I know I should tell her it just gets a different kind of hard.
“It does,” I say instead. “I promise you, it does.”