BM (Before Motherhood):
1) I didn't sleep. From age 9 to age 35, I worried about not sleeping way more than I actually slept. I read books about insomnia, took pills, consulted traditional therapists and hypnotherapists, tried homeopathic remedies, and contemplated the worst. A biofeedback specialist told me I had the same level of muscle tension as a person who'd suffered an industrial accident. I had lots of ineffectual "therapeutic" massages, and one terrible breakdown.
2) I was nervous. Nervous when I was a kid, nervous when I was a young adult, nervous all the time. Nervous as a wild rabbit in a cattery. I fretted. I wrung my hands until I popped my wrists out of joint. I paced so hard I wore a groove in the hardwood of an apartment floor -- a groove I had to pay for. I was skinny. Did I mention I didn't sleep?
3) I was shy. Morbidly so. Called upon to give my opinion in a college class, way back in the early '90s, I feigned old-fashioned muteness. In certain situations, I simply couldn't speak at all. Wine, beer, and rum helped this situation. Until I became unaccountably allergic to all of them.
AM (After Motherhood):
1) I started sleeping, and now I can't stop. I am as narcoleptic as a kitten. I crave naps the way some people crave salt or guns or liquor or religion or secret websites. From the age of 1 to 3 my son took four-hour-solid naps every afternoon. I napped too, and somehow I caught it -- some sort of somnambulatory virus. Long after he outgrew napping, I carried the wavering torch. I stumble through every day in search of a blank hour and any reasonable mattress.
2) I still worry, but there's an ocean floor of perspective underneath. I move much slower. My body is completely different. D boobs are one significant, unexpected alteration. Where they came from I'll never know. But it's hard to pace the floor when you have a milkmaid's figure. I'll take a wooden stool instead. With a pillow--for napping.
3) Except in a few select situations, I am no longer shy. I just don't give a frickin' flip. I'll say anything -- try me. I read poetry in front of strangers. I talk on radio shows. I'll talk about anything, anywhere and anytime. I rudely interrupt dear friends so I can have my say. I exhaust myself and others. I have a hard time shutting up.
Except, of course, when it's time for a nice nap.