I can so vividly remember the first time I took Sailor out of the house in the car by myself. She was about 5 weeks old, and I needed to go to Soul Cycle and Kate Somerville to buy a gift cards for Christmas presents. I had excruciating breastfeeding pain, so I didn’t know how I was going to get through it as I knew I’d need to feed her while we were out. The errands weren’t urgent but it had become time for me to find the courage to start doing things with her. So I got her into her carseat and took her into Soul Cycle in Hollywood. I can do this! She did great but once we got back into the car to go to Kate Somerville, she was starting to fuss. Feeding time. It had only been about 30 minutes since we left the house. I pulled over on a residential street and fed her in the driver seat. It took 45 minutes, and then we turned around and went home. Guess Kate is going to have to wait. I remember thinking, “How on earth is this ever going to feel normal?”
The other day I had the realization that the process of bringing Sailor into the world from conception was really a 2-year ask of my body. 10 months for growing her, and then anther 13 for feeding her. During that entire 2 years, I felt extremely unsure of what I was doing, or if I was doing a good job. I would look around at my friends who make being a mom look so effortless (even though I know it’s not for them either), and I have just been trying to figure out where I fit into this role. I read a great article in the New York Times the other day called The Birth of a Mother. It talked about how so much of what we focus on is the new child, but we don’t always consider the new identity we take on when we bring one into the world. Becoming a mom is like starting out as a completely new person, having learn your new normal, and your new self. Priorities are different, the definition of joy is different, challenge takes on a whole new meaning.
As breastfeeding started to get less painful (about 2 months in), I started to come back to life. But it took an entire year to actually feel like I was settling in as a mom. That first year, I was in a haze. A haze of self doubt, feeling like I was failing in all parts of my life, and not knowing what the future was going to be like. Not sure if I was cut out for this. I loved Sailor, but I wasn’t sure if I loved my new life. I would try to cut out time for self care but it always came with even more challenges (pumping on the go which I HATED or having to find someone else to watch her which sometimes felt impossible). I felt trapped and FAR from confident. It wasn’t until we got regular help after we moved that I started to feel what it was like to be both a mom and an individual with goals and a To Do list.
I’m still learning, and I’m still gaining my confidence. Last night a friend pointed out that being a mom brings a new meaning to the word “fulfilliment.” I know that’s true, but not on the deep level she was speaking of yet. Sometimes I can see that I’m still just trying to learn what this all means and keep up with the constant growth and change. I don’t know that I’ve officially found my full confidence as a mom yet, but I’m definitely on my way.
Our tees are by Mama Said Tees, a company that is celebrating positivity in motherhood/childhood. I LOVE what they are doing!!
Can’t wait to read what the other moms have to say on this topic:
Photography by Ashley Burns