For all the mamas out there in the trenches.
A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Also known as, in motherhood — the ability to wrap your head around the fact that you can survive this!
For myself and many of the mamas I encounter, the idea of Motherhood and the reality of it tend to be two completely different things. If you are a first time mom reading this and your newborn is suckling your nipple half asleep (you know this icky feeling), or he’s screaming and you don’t know why and you’re so tired you feel like you may fall over, then I am almost positive you have had the same thoughts that I did when I brought my first baby home – “Will I survive this?”
I am here to tell you mama, that yes… you will. But what if rather then just survive it, you could relish in it? If there is one gift I can give you via this virtual platform, it would be perspective — the ability to take motherhood moment by moment. To interrupt any negative self talk and instead see yourself as the warrior that you are. To not deem yourself a failure if you aren’t sure what you are doing some days, but rather commend yourself for doing the best you can. To forgive yourself if you lose your sh*t. To acknowledge that while you are a mother, you are also a human — be kind to yourself. This is not something I had yet mastered with my first born and my postpartum journey was anything but the idea I had in my mind. I suffered crippling anxiety, overwhelming feelings of “what did I get myself into?” and an inert fear that I may not make it out of that first year alive. So when I was close to having my second (just a mere 18 months after having my first), I promised myself that this time, no matter how difficult the days may be, I would be present in the moment and cognizant that I could do this. And so, perhaps in a way to test my strength, the good Lord above blessed me with a very challenging baby boy. I am talking scream a lot, sleep never, kind of baby. So here I was, able to put this new found power of perspective to use.
One morning, Weston in the ergo crying and flailing, determined never to fall sleep, I noticed silent tears streaming down my face. I let them come. It was in this absolutely exhausted, incredibly emotional moment, that I made the decision to delve into the deepest depths of myself. It was in this place that I found a voice. A voice that started as a whisper but grew quickly into a clamor. “You can do this. You are doing this. It will not always be this difficult. You’ve got this!” It became my mantra and over time, I began to believe it. As I did this, a beautiful thing happened… I found myself living in the present moment. I was able to get through the shushing until I was blue in the face, look at his little (finally) sleeping face and breathe a breath of serenity. I was able to feel joy — the greatest joy, in a moment of such struggle.
The fact that I was able to do this was empowering but at times, also a little sad. Sad because I was not capable of this my first time around. I found myself nearly two years later, mourning the fact that my postpartum experience with Vi could have been so very different if I didn’t spend so much time in a tizzy of negative emotions like fear, guilt, shame and self-doubt. All my life I had imagined being a mother, and yet there I was wondering if I was cut out for the job.
However, with Vi, the universe was kind. After about four months we turned a corner and she became a very easy going, relatively good sleeping, not fuss for weeks, kind of gal. I got my footing in motherhood and I began to enjoy it. So much so, that we decided to grow our family when she was just eight months old! But, I know that this period of struggle can be much longer for some and that is why I am here trying to awaken that whisper I know you hear at times — to turn it into a thunderous, life changing volume. To remind you that it is our ‘dark’ days that can actually be the most empowering. To be able to surrender to the most difficult moments and then find the joy in a beautiful one just moments later — that mama, that is it. That is motherhood.
And lastly, my hope is that you will allow yourself to experience what I did in March of 2018, after the most challenging year of my life.
Gratitude for myself — body, mind and spirit. For my husband, my babies, my family, my life. And, as I step into the toddler/preschooler years of parenthood, I bring this well earned feeling with me.
So no, motherhood was not what I expected. It is the most unexpected, greatest gift that I had ever been given. It made me better, stronger – it made me myself.