When I thought about what it would be like to be pregnant, to be on this path toward motherhood, I always imagined that I’d experience some great awakening inside me. That I would become a mother. That I would embrace this ideal construct of what it means to be a parent. That I’d walk through this process and come out on the other side a mom, like it was a mold or cookie cutter that would trim off the excess, the unflattering … the parts of me I hope my child doesn’t inherit.
But I’m learning that that’s not the case. I don’t feel radically changed. (Though, maybe I will after pushing a tiny person out of my body?) I feel pretty much the same I did pre-pregnancy … just with more sore muscles, a seemingly shrinking bladder and a much more prominent midsection.
The only noticeable difference I’ve seen in myself is an unexpected boldness that rises up where my child is concerned. It’s not always present, and the very few occasions it has happened has startled even me. (Normally I’m a pretty reserved person.) But when someone tells me how I should raise my baby, and I’ve already gently let them know that that’s not how Lee and I plan on doing things … and then they go on to say that I am wrong or I should rethink my decision. Well, let’s just say that I am suddenly not nearly as worried about speaking my mind and stepping on toes.
I’m not saying I have all the parenting answers (because I definitely don’t). But I am saying that I will trust my instincts about what is best for my family … and that might look noticeably different from what is right for someone else’s. And, you know what? There is nothing wrong with that.
Instead of some profound transformation into a mother, I’ve realized that I’m actually learning what it means to be me as a mother. I am changing, but it’s more subtle because motherhood isn’t a coat you simply put on over the rest of who you are. It comes in many forms and styles. And it also takes time. I’m still figuring out what me as a mom looks and feels like. It’s almost like meeting someone new and getting to know them. I’m meeting a new facet of who I am, of who I will become. It’s going to take some adjustment to embrace this new side of the old me, but so far I like her!