If you know me then you know that I am a quote junkie. I love reading inspirational words throughout the day or hearing something that provokes thought. I came across this quote the other day that said, "A mind that is stretched by new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." It reminded me of the beginning of my motherhood journey.
Leading up to labor and delivery with Selena I was genuinely terrified of the unknown. I had the misconception that my water would break then we'd rush to the hospital just like in the movies. After speaking to my doctor, he kindly informed me that everyone's birth story is unique and things may not happen in that order. He advised that "it may be better for someone with a type-A personality like yourself to just go with it" (I was not offended by his assessment of my personality, I was happy that my doctor knew who I was- I brought notebooks to my appointments for crying out loud and yes I took notes). My husband and I discussed the option of not having a birth plan, which made me even more nervous because I'm all about plans. Coming to the realization that I had to just let my body do its thing was a struggle I battled up until 3 days before I gave birth.
((I'll save my birth story for a future post))
Flash forward to holding my baby girl for the first time; I cannot describe that feeling other than pure JOY. My little baby was perfect and I was so thankful! Everything leading up to that moment seemed like a distant memory. Since giving birth wasn't as painful as I had imagined (thanks epidural) the whole mind-body connection was not fully established for me. Don't get me wrong, the contractions were awful and I definitely recall that pain however, I anticipated not being able to walk right away after delivering. When I was able to move with ease and saw how much my stomach went down I thought ok I'm back!
I was discharged from the hospital the following day and was so excited to bring our little baby home. While having a newborn can be exhausting, looking back those were the easy days. Selena slept most of the time and when she was awake she was so happy! Still, I wasn't used to being needed/demanded so intensely and being home alone with her most of the day began to wear me out. I started to resist the love mothering PROVIDES, (it takes love too, but the amount you receive back is unparalleled). With this brand new all-encompassing experience, I started to look for comfort in familiarity. I would miss "the old me", a person with freedom, a social life and a career. I didn't know this baby wearing-barfed on-one hairstyle- sweatpants wearing woman. Those feelings would come, I'd feel guilty for having them, and it was an ongoing cycle for a couple of months. I had a hard time expressing what I felt because on one hand I was so happy being a mommy while on the other hand I felt like I was losing myself.
During the course of this ongoing internal struggle, my baby was growing and reaching milestones quickly. That tiny seemingly helpless newborn was turning into a little person right before my very eyes. Then one day it just clicked: I did lose a piece of myself, I wasn't the same person anymore- I was better! I gained so much more by being Selena's mommy than I ever would have just by remaining Sara. The realization set in that it wasn’t about me anymore, it was about her. She’s only going to be little for a short period of time and I chose to relish in witnessing and supporting her growth. Once I finally wholeheartedly accepted and embraced my place, I started to feel at peace. How could I have ever expected to fall back to where/who I was before, after the monumental experience of becoming a mom? This grandiose change was more of a transformation into the person I feel I was always meant to be. Traveling along the road of life and becoming a mom wasn’t a detour with the plan to get back on the same path, it was the destination. I look back at who I was with gratitude and know that while those seemed like the good days, these days are just as good (if not better).