Finding my Identity as a Mom
Okay here it goes, the transition from no kids to one literally rocked my existence. While joy was always at the forefront, our new lifestyle also brought a lot of anxiety, resentment and feeling utterly consumed with thoughts about whether or not I would ever feel like myself again.
Trying to find my identity again in the midst of motherhood was hard. Postpartum depression aside, I think anyone who has experienced the newborn haze knows how long the days and nights can be. I find myself staring at Winter when she sleeps and longing for the moments when she fit ever so perfectly in my hands, but to say that I miss it wholeheartedly would be bending the truth a bit.
It is not uncommon for a mother to feel like a piece of them fades away as they make their way into motherhood. Everything is so new, and you feel so consumed by the steep learning curve that is called parenthood. Swaddling, pumping/breastfeeding or learning about formula, diaper changes, bathing, nurturing, sleep training, functioning on little to no sleep, juggling relationships with your significant other, friends or family and then trying to be a working mom or leaving your job to stay home---all of it can feel overwhelming and frankly quite nebulous-like.
I now have a two and a half-year-old, and just in the last six months have I begun to understand that the transition from Terra without kids to Terra with has been a series of percolating thoughts, deliberate choices and required a whole lot of grace. I just now feel like I am Terra and also Mom.
I wanted to get my thoughts down on paper about my transition into motherhood because I know there is another colossal transition coming down the pike from one kid to two. These thoughts have been brewing for quite some time, so I think it's important to face them head on so I can release them and make space for more joy.
But here is the cool thing, you do eventually get your identity back, and for me, I feel more confident in my skin now than I did before I had Winter. I still have a journey ahead of me, but I can tell you that having a little person around me all the time who thinks I'm the whole world is so good for the soul, helping me persevere.
In this journey of self-discovery, I find myself wanting to model for Winter that I am both Mom and am Terra too. I say to her things like, "I love reading books with you, but when we are done, I am going to take a moment to call a friend because friendships are important to nurture." I also hear myself saying, "Winter, Mommy is going downstairs to write because writing helps me feel better and makes me a better Mommy and wife to your Daddy." Now I know that she doesn't entirely understand what I am saying to her, but I have noticed that she is often more understanding of me stepping away throughout the day or night to do these things. Now don't get me wrong, there are also a lot of protests that occur around here. Even still, I continue to make a conscious effort in providing opportunities for Winter to see me through many lenses so that she can grow up respecting that I am Mom, but my name is also Terra.
I think just by typing this out, I am feeling the magnitude of how cool it is to be a Mom and a woman and I never, ever want to underestimate the journey that it took to get here. I need to make sure I reread this when baby #2 comes to remind myself of exactly how I feel today.
How has your identity changed since becoming a mother?
Photography by Brittany Renee