Don’t you love being a mom? Am I grateful for the opportunity, yes. Am I in awe and overwhelmed with love for my child, yes. Do I love being a mom, it depends. Being a mom is hard. Let’s be honest with each other about this experience. As women we feel like we must always portray that we have it all together, we do it all, and we make it look easy. If we were all honest, I think we’d say, it’s not. I cry a lot. I’m frustrated a lot. I never feel like I’m really able to do it all on a regular basis. We push down all of the negative thoughts and feelings because complaining makes us seem ungrateful or like bad mothers. What happens though when we don’t address how we are really doing?
I wanted to open up about the transition or metamorphosis that took place for me after having a child. Before finding out I was pregnant, I lived and made decisions for myself in ease. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. Though I may not have admitted to this view of myself out loud, but I also perceived myself as young and hip. Since I have had my child, I am having to rediscover myself as a woman again. I feel way less cool. I am having trouble accepting my transitioned post-partum body. I am navigating how to run errands, cook, clean, and shower while also attending to my very sweet yet demanding new child. I am trying to do all the things, while remaining present with my baby because every person I talk to tells me, “the time goes by too fast”. I am trying to show up for others, yet not loose myself at the same time. It’s a lot. Yet I think to myself, most of the women in the world, generation after generation, have done this, so why do I feel so overwhelmed? Do other people struggle like me? My guess is that they do, they just don’t feel like they can admit to it.
My point is, how do we really support one another? How do we lower the expectations for women, mothers, and wives, instead of continue to raise them? How do we stay out of judgement of one another for how she navigates this journey completely differently than ourselves? My guess is that all women and new mothers, like me, are really trying to do the best they can do. We know failure in this role is not an option. We internalize all of the stress, anxiety, the frustration, and the complaints because we don’t know if others can hold space for us or be confronted with our weakness.
I know there is an amazing opportunity for growth in the experience of motherhood that I would not have otherwise had. When I used the term metamorphosis, I view motherhood in the way that the chrysalis breaks out into a butterfly. When the chrysalis is cracking open and the butterfly is stretching, ripping, and pushing out its wings, the process it’s going through is inevitably uncomfortable, possibly painful, frustrating, and requires a great deal of effort. However, once they have succeeded in leaving the chrysalis to emerge as a butterfly they are able to enjoy the beauty and freedom of their maturity. Though difficult and overwhelming, there is such a beauty and strength that emerges in women when they become mothers. It is empowering and stretches me in a way I never expected. Going back into the safeness and isolation of the chrysalis is no longer an option. I have to now navigate the journey of the butterfly.
For support in navigating your own parenting journey, contact me, Grace Stevens, LMHCA at email@example.com