My Journey To Motherhood
My Journey to Motherhood has many different versions depending on who's listening - a complicated patchwork of struggles and pain, laughter, fear, guilt and happiness. This is my unfinished quilt, the pieces of my journey.
To a first timer basking in the glow of her third trimester belly, it's a very down-played, candy-coated tale of bliss, cuddles, cliches, excitement, and of course, compliments. If I have learned anything from pregnancy, you always, always compliment a pregnant woman on how great she looks. Men read this blog too, right?
If my story is being told to a brand new mother it's filled with empathy, compassion and a deep understanding of the real pain and loneliness that can sometimes be coupled with the joy and elation of newborn baby bliss, how conflicting that can be and how it can cause a tremendous amount of guilt. Admitting that this backroom version of motherhood exists is painful to voice for fear of judgments and assumptions - and labels that seem to follow you along your journey.
Moms with children the same age as mine hear stories filled with confidence, jokes, witty banter about sleepless nights and sore breasts, swapping tips and tricks learned from deep within the trenches. There's a camaraderie, a sisterhood and the unspoken understanding that you haven't always had dark circles under your eyes, purple stretch marks under your clothes, a squishy tummy that still exists 11 months postpartum. Your hair is in fact capable of something other than a pony tail and yes, you have had conversations that don't involve the color of baby poop, or the frequency of spit-up.
When my stories are written down and hidden away in the dark hours of the night due to the raging insomnia that postpartum depression can sometimes cause - it's a naked, raw realization, unearthed from deep within the tunnels of my mind. It is neither sprinkled with glitter, delivered with the expectation of laughter nor dolled up and embellished to avoid judgment from mothers who are sitting high on their perfectly groomed horses. It's rough, edgy, not for mass consumption. Too blurry to read because the tears flowing out of my eyes are burning so strong I'm writing the words blind. Face sticky, breath heavy, sour taste of resentment in my mouth for others who are not dealing with this pain, who are not sympathetic to this pain and who refuse to admit that this pain can exist even as you are doting on your children. These are the stories that prove I am human. They remind me that Superwoman does not exist, but a loving, honest and present mother is real and in the flesh. These are the stories that sometimes scare my husband and make my mom cry because the wife and daughter they love so much is hurting and they don't know how to fix it. I too am still searching for the repair manual...
All of my stories are true. Even the dark chocolate dipped strawberry ones, drizzled with caramel and dusted with powered sugar, because my children truly do melt my heart and make me proud beyond words. My husband truly is the amazing man I frequently like to brag about. They've made me a better person. Because of them, I'm wiser, more confident, I have more of a purpose in life. I'm the most complete version of myself I've ever known. However, since becoming a mother, I have more fears, more guilt. More fights between me and my husband due to our differences in approach and execution. Admittedly, I've judged how others parent but I also have a deeper appreciation of family, the importance and necessity of happiness, laughter, silliness, making up songs and creating magical memories, preserving our planet and the need to fight for equality and basic human rights.
I am a woman who grew a life inside of my body, nourished that life with love and patience, feeds that life milk from my breasts, comforts that life in my warm embrace and who will hold that life in my heart until the day mine ends. I am a mother and this is my journey...