Motherhood gets real as soon as that sweet baby is born into this world. That sweet baby comes with needs—lots of them—and I am convinced they aren’t too happy about leaving their perfect world (aka the womb) to enter ours. When said needs can’t be met automatically, this little thing called a meltdown occurs (frequently) and reminds all of us mommas that motherhood is really challenging. Like all really challenging things (think back to big seasons of life … first day of high school, college, marriage, etc.), it tests our identity. We may start to question what we are made of, especially if the current challenge seems to be getting the best of us. That’s exactly how these first few weeks of motherhood have been for me. They have been extravagant in different ways, both beautiful and trying, and have left me with the question of, “Who am I, now?”
I never knew how carefree I was until my daughter Bellamy was born a month ago, and I experienced the *hopefully temporary* loss of being carefree. I tried to not build expectations in my mind during my pregnancy, and I spoke of my future with positivity and an assuredness of my ability to just handle it. In reality, that is an expectation, but I didn’t feel as if I was speaking on something I knew nothing about—which is hilarious because I didn’t have a kid! I was speaking from a place of knowing myself well as a non-parent. Although Bellamy is an extension of me, her birth challenged my perception of who I am.
Who am I as a mother? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the poor sleep or the less than 15 minutes a day I have to try and get ready, but I don’t really feel like myself … and I don’t know if I ever will again! I don’t mean that in a negative way, but simply in a real way. It’s a weird place to arrive at, somewhere in between wanting to fully step into the embrace of motherhood and mourning the life I used to lead because it’s easy and comfortable. When nothing about life is the same, there’s not a strong sense of familiarity to cling to. My day-to-day schedule is different, my thoughts are different, my face and body are different, my worries are different and what makes me tick is different, too. Even writing this is difficult, as I am struggling to find my voice right now! I feel completely altered without being able to put words to it, so bear with me!
I don’t know if these thoughts could be grouped in with the highs and lows of postpartum, or if I am truly going to have to get to know myself as a parent. Even though I have become a mom, I still don’t know how to “parent” that well. So much of it is natural, but parts of it are a true adjustment. I hope I am speaking to some sort of choir out there and am not alone in this. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever been a part of. The refinement process has never been so deep, and I am seeing how shallow my understanding of change was prior to parenthood. Maybe becoming a mother or a father hits us all differently, and some of us find it to be smooth sailing. Maybe some of us have to get to know ourselves again after every child. Whatever it will be for me, I hope the next few weeks will bring about some sort of common ground I can stand on as I start to build a new foundation of my life.
Who knew becoming a parent could knock you off your feet so badly? Not me. However, it’s truly the most profound thing I have ever done. I have never been so vulnerable, so exposed, at times broken and at the same time elated. It’s the most complex state of mixed emotions. I think it will make me the best version of myself, and I hope I can learn to appreciate the growth process and get the most out of these new and challenging times.