I’m comfortable enough now to say there was a time I didn’t enjoy being a mother. I don’t want to mistake postpartum blues with postpartum depression. There’s a probability I had the blues. I did some research, and through it I discovered I didn’t necessarily feel disconnected from the person I was raising, but rather detached from the idea of what being a mother. There was a constant pressure from society and social media that was so suffocating to me. There are a lot of righteous wanna-be’s out there and I found myself relating to none. Joining an online “support” mom-group was a complete let-down because the lack of empathy and the amount of judgement was something I could not fathom. I was a mess the first 2.5 years of this journey. I’d sob uncontrollably without reason. I was tired— exhausted even. I felt empty. I was lost and so terribly afraid of not having myself figured out that the role itself did not come natural to me and I had to work through so much of me to make it a part of my norm. Time taught me that the most imperative act in my position was to cleanse. Cleanse my relations. Cleanse my feeds. Cleanse my place. Cleanse my day-to-day’s.
I’d been afraid of talking about any of this because I feared the hearer would jump to the conclusion that I would resent my son, when that has not been the case. Motherhood revealed how selfish I am, but to my defense, it’d also reveal how little time I’ve had for me. There wasn’t enough time before and after to get to know who I was, what I liked, or what I wanted. My pregnancy is a complete blur aside from the content in a journal I kept for a few months during that time. When I told my family I was pregnant (despite being with the same good guy for nearly 6 years) I was told, “pack your things and figure it out.” And the hell I did. We did.
There’s a heavy responsibility that comes with this title and I wasn’t sure if it was something I was capable of filling. I was extremely insecure and uncertain. It wasn’t until some time after I had him that I realized I really don’t have to be a mother, a woman, a wife, a friend, a whatever to anyone else’s standard then that of my own. If it made anyone else uncomfortable, that was on them. I could not let anyone else’s perception of me or the things I do get in the way of my daily being. I started to become myself when I let go of everything that amounted to what they made of me. I was like a snake going through its peel, leaving the old skin behind. I have found some degree of happiness in letting go and living for myself because that’s what going to make me a better woman, individual, and parent. I really couldn’t tell you how much of who I was, was based on someone else’s identity. I lived to please everyone around me, and even in my misery, I paddled away at the thought of, “at least so-and-so is proud.” The thing is, so-and-so really could care less. Regretfully, I did not realize this then and lived under rules and constrictions and did not enhance my better-being.
MY strength and some resources I’ve found along the way have nurtured my potential and growth. I wear what I want to wear. I say what I must say. I go where I want to go. I’m no longer muted or controlled by any outside influence and I think that’s an important aspect of staying true to the self. It’s also a significant part of living the life that’s been given and one day will inevitably be taken from me.
In the midst of my angst, a good friend once wrote me, “You’re not just a mother and a wife. You have a presence. You are artistic and deep thinking and stimulating. You are young, beautiful, and resourceful. People like to look at you and they trust your ideas. You have the perfect shape, curvy and smooth. You’re a writer, publisher, and content creator. Being a mother and wife are just aspects that add to that and make you more powerful. But you can only understand that you’re ready to.”
This is a process. I am far from being completely there with myself but I am closer to it every passing day, with every passing moment. Every time I make that choice. Every time I answer to me– not them, I come closer to myself and my own intuition.