After almost a year of postpartum motherhood, I’ve realized a few things about this journey that I never knew until I was living in it. I honestly never wanted to be a mother. The moment I discovered where children came from, I said nah, not for me! I wasn’t born thinking my life’s destiny was to raise a family of my own. I told my mother proudly that I wasn’t going to do it. I was going to be independent and travel the world.
Not being a mother is just as valuable a decision as being a mother. It definitely isn’t the right path for every person who identifies as a woman. Of course, this decision made my own mother very sad. One Mother’s Day, she said to me it made her sad to think that I would never know the unconditional love between a mother and her child. I scoffed. I had bigger plans for myself.
So, when I met my husband and told him maybe I would be interested in having children with him, I was shocked at my own changing heart. During our 7 month honeymoon in Latin America, something changed my tone about kids. It might have been seeing all the adorable Latin American kids around me or turning 30. Who knows, but I turned to Ethan on a long bus ride after watching a dubbed Hollywood movie where the couple has a baby, and said, “I want a baby!”
He was shocked and so was I! This is not to say that anyone who doesn’t want kids should magically change their minds. It really isn’t a requirement in life to feel purpose or to feel more like a woman. We all have our own paths and passions and every person identifying as a woman can decide for themselves whether motherhood is right for them. For me, I decided it was.
Anyway, here is a bit of a poem that has been running through my head about what Motherhood has meant to me so far…
Motherhood is feeling that first flutter in your uterus and it tugging at your heart so hard you cry.
Motherhood is finding that will to keep pushing after 28 hours of labor, because you so badly want to meet your baby today.
Motherhood is digging deep within you to find strength and energy you never knew you had and realizing you are truly limitless.
Motherhood is being a warrior.
Motherhood is the roar of a lioness protecting her cub.
Motherhood is pure exhaustion and pure joy as you stare into your newborns eyes.
Motherhood is tears that won’t stop flowing and you don’t quite know why.
Motherhood is scars, sagging skin, a broken vagina cut open to fit your child’s big head out.
Motherhood is needing to poop, but it hurting too much to push.
Motherhood is painful leaking breasts and sore scabbed nipples.
Motherhood is a body you no longer recognize in the mirror, but know in your heart is beautiful because it is a vessel of God’s creation.
Motherhood is only half sleeping so you can hear your baby if they need you.
Motherhood is praying they sleep through the night. Then when they finally do, finding yourself staring at them sleeping just to make sure they are breathing.
Motherhood is getting annoyed that they are so needy and then getting butt hurt that they don’t need you anymore.
Motherhood is spit up in your hair, breastmilk or formula on your top; not remembering when you last showered.
Motherhood is when you’re running late already and you’re finally buckling your kid in their carseat and they have an enormous blowout that destroys their whole outfit and somehow gets in their hair too.
Motherhood is finally working out and the second you step in the shower to clean off, they wake up from their nap so you have to spend the rest of your day covered in sticky sweat.
Motherhood is desperately needing a break, then finally getting it and missing your child the whole time.
Motherhood is questioning whether you’re a good mom for going back to work, or if you’re a good role model for quitting your job and staying home. It’s never living up to society’s expectations and learning to say “Fuck it!” because you’ll never please society, so just do what is right for you.
Motherhood is thankless and extremely rewarding at the same time.
Motherhood is crying into your coffee in the grocery store parking lot, while your child screams in their carseat.
Motherhood is loving someone so hard, it physically and emotionally hurts.
Motherhood is rushing back from a meeting, appointment, or date with a friend, because your son refuses to eat solid foods and depends solely on nursing every 3 hours for survival.
Motherhood is learning to not fall into the trap of comparison. Don’t compare your child to another child, they are all unique and develop at different speeds and have different temperaments. Also, don’t compare yourself to other moms who all have different circumstances and experiences than you.
Motherhood is honoring your own mother and acknowledging how hard it must have been for them and wishing you had been an easier child.
Motherhood is nodding at the other woman in the store with the messy bun and sweats trying to control her own screaming kid.
Motherhood is sisterhood, we’re all in this together. (So stop judging!)
Motherhood is trying to decide whether to nap while they nap, or clean the dishes, mop the floor, do laundry, exercise, shower, eat a hot meal, drink a warm glass of tea, watch the rest of that episode you tried to watch three times before getting interrupted, or relax. And then attempting to do several of these things at once and they wake up after a half hour nap.
Motherhood is saying I won’t ever do…when I’m a mom and then becoming a mom and throwing that all out of the window, because it is too hard to be the perfect version of yourself you pictured you would be. (Give yourself a break and just do your best!)
Motherhood is writing this blog multiple times in my head months ago, then never having the time to sit down and write it.
Motherhood is all of these things for me, and probably includes many other things for other mothers, because we are all different and have different experiences but are connected in many ways.
Give yourself a big hug mama, you deserve it! Stop judging yourself or holding yourself to such high standards. You’re a rockstar and you need to recognize your own strength and beauty, so that your child can also see it in themselves.
What is motherhood to you?