January 31st, 2020 was a day I’ll always remember.
I had just taken a positive pregnancy test and I was in complete disbelief. We weren’t trying, but we also had the mindset of, “if it’s meant to be, it will be.” We were going to start trying in September of 2020, but God had other plans.
*Fun fact, I was engaged to my fiance and our wedding date was scheduled for September 25th, 2020 and turns out that was also our estimated due date.*
When I saw the two positive lines on the pregnancy test, I had never experienced so many emotions all at once.
Excited, scared, nervous, unsure. This was the greatest gift, a huge blessing, but was I ready? Was I ready to give up my selfishness? Was I ready to bring a new life into this world? Was I ready for my world to completely change?
I wasn’t scared of my body physically changing or the pain I may endure, but I was completely freaked out about my life changing.
At the time I was a business owner of a little less than one year and I had worked so hard to grow my business. What if my business changes? What if I no longer care about my business or my clients? What if my relationship with my partner changes? What if I lose my friends? These thoughts and fears stuck with me my entire pregnancy and even into motherhood.
Physically I had a great pregnancy.
I loved watching my body grow and change and to be honest, I never loved my body more. My partner and I had always wanted a boy first, and we got our little boy. I loved rubbing my belly, imagining what he would look like and be like. I had so much fun picking out all of the cute little boy clothes and designing his beachy little room.
We had made the decision to work with a doula and we hired her when I was 12 weeks, so it was amazing to be able to have her support from the very beginning.
As a first time mom, it just felt really reassuring to have someone answer all of my questions and calm my fears. Since I worked with a doula, I feel like I was pretty prepared mentally for whatever would happen the day I went into labor. I understood that birth plans don’t always go as planned, things can change quickly, and all that matters is that mom and baby are healthy.
It was September 20th 2020 (My husband’s birthday!!!!) when I went into labor and after 31 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of pushing, I delivered a healthy baby boy. I will never forget that experience. It was excruciating, challenging, beautiful, spiritual and overall just amazing. I had a very smooth recovery, and physically things were going great.
After the newborn daze went away, I looked at my life and was shocked with the emotions I started feeling.
When my son was about 2 months old, I started second guessing myself. I started thinking, “Is this what life is going to be in the next 10 years?” I would look at my non-mom friends with resentment and I even started resenting my husband in some ways. I felt like he was “so lucky” to be able to leave the house and catch a break at work. He is a firefighter so he’s gone for 24+ hours at a time, and I remember thinking, “Wow that’s like a vacation.”
Motherhood is so interesting. No one can prepare you for it.
You won’t know until you go through it yourself. But I was so surprised at the amount of available information regarding physical changes that happen during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. But I didn’t find anything, anywhere that talked about the emotions you go through when you’re a mom. The fact that your identity changes, your motives change, things you used to once love you no longer have interest in, you start to feel lost, disconnected from yourself, and life feels confusing because you have this beautiful blessing but you feel like you’re wanting more. You’re feeling unfulfilled but can’t pinpoint what’s missing.
When I was on a hunt to find something. anything to relate too, I started feeling even more disappointed.
When I would see moms saying their life felt complete and whole, and being a mom was their sole purpose, I started thinking, “Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mom.” And this breaks my heart because I am meant to be a mom. Just because I feel like I have another purpose outside of being a mom, doesn’t make me any less of a mom or a bad mom. Luckily, I did a ton of inner-work and self-reflection to figure out what I was seeking out of life, but what breaks my heart is for the moms who buy into the lie that they aren’t meant to be a mom just because they don’t live up to society’s standard of “perfect.”
This was my inspiration for creating my online community: More than a Mom.
I wanted to normalize the moms who were wanting more and seeking more. I wanted to create a space for moms to feel heard, understood and supported about all of the emotional challenges of motherhood.
I really started to resent the way society portrays mom.
Staying home raising the babies, cooking, cleaning and preparing the house while the husband worked might have been the case with generations before us, but this just isn’t the case anymore. But there isn’t enough awareness around this topic. What we see in movies and hear on podcasts for the most part is that once we become a mom, that is our purpose. Our identity is “mom” and our dreams need to be put on hold, and our entire life is just supposed to revolve around our babies.
It didn’t take me long to realize that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
For some moms, their only purpose is 100% to be a mom, and that is absolutely beautiful. There is nothing wrong with that, and I know there are some women out there who truly put their purpose into being a mom. But for some moms, that’s not the case. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting more out of life or seeking something that motherhood simply cannot fulfill. I personally don’t think you should attach your self-worth to any position (mom, CEO, manager, wife, etc.). Your purpose in life extends beyond your responsibilities as a mom, and if you’re left feeling like something is missing, this is perfectly normal and I encourage you to explore this desire further.
Here are some steps that helped me find my purpose outside of being a mom:
I started realizing the more I did things for me, the more I prioritized myself and the more I was living in my purpose.
I was a better and more present mom. I started valuing the time I was spending with my son a lot more. I noticed I wasn’t as irritable and wouldn’t feel frustrated. My overall mental health and happiness significantly increased once I gave myself the permission to have a life outside of motherhood.
And to whoever is reading this – I hope you know the same goes for you.
If you are feeling unfulfilled in motherhood, just know you are not alone, nor does this make you a bad mom. I challenge you to explore a life outside of motherhood, and watch as your life transforms before you.