When I found out I was pregnant I had a major identity crisis. I feared becoming a single label: “mom.” It seemed like that mom life would be the only life I’d get to live.
I was so upset by that. I didn’t want to lose myself or sacrifice the person I was. I didn’t want to be so consumed with my daughter that I was no longer the wife / friend / employee / person I was before…
And that fear caused a problem. It took a while to enjoy my pregnancy. I wanted to be pregnant, but I didn’t know how to connect with what was happening. I adjust to new people and new experiences slowly. It felt weird and distant. M was born and the weirdness didn’t instantly go away- although it changed.
After sorting out my ppd and taking care of my health, I had the realization that M was mine. Everything she did and all her care was my job- I didn’t have to seek approval or validation for my actions from anyone (in tandem with K, of course). And that didn’t scare me at all- I started feeling more comfortable referring to her as my daughter.
Truthfully, I’ve only just starting thinking of myself as a mom. Maybe Mother’s Day helped a little? I resisted the all-consuming title for a long time… even though I was, by definition, A MOM. I admire other moms, I wanted to have a kid from the start, I look up to so many amazing mothers out there. It’s not the fear of being old or having that soccer-mom-mini van-driving,-lob haircut-vibe…….. it’s just the uncomfortableness of a new and limiting name.
When I announced I was pregnant the MOM CLUB showed up in full force and I felt like such a phony. People offered me clothes, toys, meals, advice, their kitchen sinks, etc. It felt weird… It felt fake to be accepted just because I was now “one of them.” I truthfully hated the idea of it… but secretly loved the support and help.
(I realize now that being a parent is tough and the so-called MOM CLUB is actually just women who have been there/done that/are still in trenches who want to help someone else that’s wandered into this war zone of untold horrors and blessings. Lol.)
A lovely blog friend shared with me that she felt very distant from her pregnancy, too, and only connected with her daughter once she was born. Another blog friend told me that the “instabond” moms have with their babies is sometimes a myth and for good reason. It makes SENSE that getting to know your baby and bonding would take time. They are a person after all- someone with their own wants and needs and likes and dislikes and personality and feelings. It’s a relationship that takes a little time.
M is five months old now and I love love love being her mom. Having a child didn’t make me love kids. I’ve never been a big kid person. But now that I’ve gotten to know my baby I am sure that I was meant to be her mother. No regrets, no hesitation, no second thoughts. I live for the day she calls me “mom.”
And life was unclear at first with a new human in the mix. Our days and priorities have changed accordingly… but I’ve found that deep down, I haven’t. I might be a little more distracted and usually covered in spit up, but I have a good relationship with my husband, I try to support and love my friends as much as I always have, and I still enjoy and excel at my job- although I work less days and sometimes long to be home with M when I’m in my office. I read a little less but I’m still a reader. I blog a little less but I’m still a blogger. I’m still a type-a perfectionist but things are a little more lax around here. I’m still me. I’m just a mom, too. And I think I had to go through that stage of insecurity to fully and gratefully accept this role.
This feels like a raw confession of sorts. I’ve never not loved M… I just didn’t know how to serve her and stay true to me. And I feel happy that we’ve figured this out a.k.a. I’ve realized the joy and fulfillment I have in being HER mom.
It’s tough to struggle with your identity. Whether it’s a job or a hobby or a label… it’s weird and uncomfortable to be sorted into a category by default. I feel lucky that I’ve ended up enjoying this new role. I’m embarrassed by how much I doubted myself, but thankful for those who built me up and helped me transition into motherhood. I don’t take the people in my corner for granted and I will teach M how important “our people” are- not least of all her incredible dad.
If you’re struggling with something big, reach out for help. Someone to talk to, an outlet to share your frustrations, prescribed medication to stabilize your mental health. It’s important. Your quality of life matters- don’t dismiss it when something feels wrong. ♥