Having a baby is said to be one of the most wonderful and beautiful experiences a woman can have in her lifetime and for those women who have experienced it, this is indeed true.
After giving birth, you find yourself with this beautiful little bundle who you love and cherish in a way that you didn’t know was possible. As well as that, you now have all these motherly instincts that give you an instant desire to love and protect your child and guide you in taking care of your baby. In one way everything feels perfect and the gratitude you feel for having this little cherub in your life is overwhelming.
However, in another way many women find themselves going through one of the biggest struggles of their life as most women find themselves with their life turned upside down and to those of us who became mothers for the first time this can come as quite a shock to the system.
I found my life completely in disarray when first becoming a mother. I now had this little person in my life that I had to dedicate almost every single minute of my day to, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I now found all of my needs and wants completely overshadowed by this little person’s needs and wants. Even the most basic of needs such as eating or showering became a struggle. Not to mention all the other challenges that having a baby brought about such as getting out and about, trying to manage the little social life that I now had, waking up at all hours for feeds, managing the demanding nature of breastfeeding as well as coming to terms with the changes pregnancy had made to my body. The list was endless and for quite a while I felt like a shell of the person I used to be.
A few months after giving birth I found myself having an identity crisis. Giving so much time and energy to one person and not having any time to myself had almost made me forget who I was. As well as that, the constant process of having to drop my needs whenever my baby was hungry, tired, bored or upset had in a way reprogrammed my mind to think that my needs didn’t matter as rarely was I ever able to fulfill them. As long as my baby’s needs were met, I should be happy. I was completely out of touch with who I was, what I wanted and what I needed.
However, despite all of this feeling of hopelessness, a realisation dawned upon me. Becoming a mother had given me something incredible and that was a kind of strength that I never had before. I realised that I was a strong mother and not just in one way but in a number of ways. I had learned to endure endless crying and moaning (sometimes throughout the day), on days of utter exhaustion and tiredness I had managed to pick myself up and attend to my baby’s needs, I had also frequently managed to travel to far away destinations whilst carrying the whole weight of my baby in a sling along with a sizeable amount of luggage (nappy bags, hand bags etc) and as well as that I had also overcome the obstacle of getting stuff done with a baby who in every which way they could would try and bring my focus back to them. If enduring this is on a daily basis and not going mad is not strength, then I don’t know what is. Even my physical strength had improved from lifting and carrying a little person that was gaining weight daily.
Before I had my daughter, I never realised motherhood would be so incredibly hard but it has made me feel so grateful for what my mother went through having me. Not only that, it has made me realise what an incredible person a mother actually is. Someone who can deal with the demanding, exhausting, overwhelming nature of being a mother must be a very strong person and this strength is something that all mothers should celebrate.
As mothers we are not just a shadow of the person that we used to be before having children. We are strong, capable, skilled women who have created, grown, nurtured and given birth to life. I wish to reclaim the typical stereotype of a mother who often looks stressed and tired with unkempt hair and a haggard appearance. This is NOT what a mother really is. Yes, let’s not lie to ourselves; there are days when this is how we feel and look but we are also so so much more than that. Let’s celebrate our strength and what we have accomplished. We are strong women who are also strong mothers, embodying an aspect of divine feminine energy that has been revered and worshipped almost before the dawn of time. Let us try and remember that and when we do have those days when we feel like that stereotypical haggard mother with unkempt hair. Let us remember who we truly are.