eight months have passed since I have had the honour of mothering our sweet little soul, earth side, though it feels like eight minutes. somehow, time has managed to accelerate even more, and I’m staring down the barrel of the last three months of my maternity leave. during this time, I’ve been jotting down thoughts about what I’ve either learned or re-confirmed as a mother, and I’m excited to share some of them with you today, on mother’s day. from discovering that toes work remarkably similar to fingers to the challenges of taking care of myself, it’s been a truly wild ride; one that has blown my entire existence wide open. and, if you’re not a mother, I’m positive that you’ll be able to relate to everything I’ve written here, so I hope you’ll read on. over the coming months, I will continue to share my experiences with body image pre and postpartum, breastfeeding, sleep (both for babies and parents) and postpartum depression and anxiety; topics that I’m passionate about helping to change the conversations around.
For now, some of my most powerful learnings, so far:
I am extremely privileged to live in a part of the world that has access to incredible health care, support and resources of all kinds. a 12-month maternity leave is truly a gift to humanity. we are also incredibly lucky to have been blessed with a very healthy little girl. the path that some families walk is incredibly scary and painful, and my heart truly aches for them.
I feel the happiest and most aligned when I am parenting the way my heart wants to, rather than by a list of suggested ‘do’s’ and ’don’t do’s’. parenting books, programs, googling, social media, and even talking to other parents, while all good resources, are also portals to rabbit holes that rob me of trusting my intuition. the only thing I need to worry about doing ‘right’ is being present and loving our daughter unconditionally.
the competition and comparison game amongst mothers is alive and well. I, alone, determine how much skin I want in that game: none. our daughter’s joy and happiness is more important to me than any developmental milestone, statistic, curve, or percentile. every child’s journey is different. period.
worrying and trying to control a situation is the worst course of action. always. acceptance and trusting my intuition is the best course of action. always. and this goes all the way back to pregnancy. as challenging as it is, going with the flow is truly easier than trying to explain, name and diagnose every little thing.
taking care of yourself as a mother is 100 times more challenging than I ever realized. we are wired to put our children’s needs first. ‘putting your air mask on first before helping others’ is a practice, and a very important and necessary one. exercise, being outdoors and meditation remain my best and most effective forms of self care. oh, and coffee!
I haven’t lost any part of my self or my ‘old life’: I’ve only found new and expanded parts, that I’m really enjoying getting to know.
even in the strongest of relationships, having a child challenges your marriage and/or partnership. sleep deprivation and adjusting to a new set of priorities puts both of you to the test as individuals, let alone as a couple. communication and connection remain paramount.
I want to be clear that I didn’t begin my journey of motherhood rooted in these knowings. there have been many days, nights, weeks where I was caught up in a downward spiral about low milk supply, nap schedules, or some other thing I thought I could control. and, I still have my days and fully expect to have many more! something a bit magical happened around the six-month mark, where I realized I was making things harder than I needed to and I chose to relax a bit into the unknown. it’s truly been simultaneously the most challenging and rewarding eight months.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’m excited to share my journey with new, existing and future moms. so much of this stuff is not talked about; we are too concerned with putting the perfect filter on things to make it seem like we have it all together. I think the beauty of motherhood is in the messiness: the sleepless nights, the tears, the confusion and the fear. this is where growth exists.
I got it from MY mama,
PS our sweatshirts are from Brunette the Label <3