Let me tell you a secret: When we first found out I was pregnant with our first child, I think my husband was even more excited about it than I was. Don’t get me wrong — I was happy about the news; but for some reason, I wasn’t 100% over the moon about it.
And that seemed to be a foreshadowing of what was to come. I enjoyed my pregnancy thoroughly (I was one of the lucky ones!), but there were moments when I’d be gripped with such fear — fear of what was to come, who I was to become, of losing myself. And I’d shrug that fear away, thinking I was silly; that there was something wrong (selfish?) with me.
When my son was born four and a half years ago, it wasn’t a moment of complete and utter bliss. In my head, I knew it was supposed to be the most magical moment — I was meeting my son for the first time! But amidst the exhaustion of labor and delivery, the effects of an epidural, and the uncertainty of what lay ahead, I just didn’t feel that Hollywood glow.
And when we came home, my husband and I were wide-eyed and wondering — what the heck do we do now?? Days blurred into hours and hours of wondering — “aren’t you going to sleep, Little One??” and “Before I knew it, it was 18 months later, my son was still not sleeping through the night, I was the only one who could actually get him to bed, I was exhausted, and my life felt like it was on permanent pause.
Not surprisingly, I burned out. And that’s when I realized: WOW. Motherhood is absolutely tough. I spent so much time preparing for the baby, I forgot to prepare myself for what was to come.
And that’s when MommyProofing was born. I realized how crazy it was for me to expect myself to bounce back to “normal” right after this life-changing (and exhausting!) process of growing my baby in my womb, birthing him, and then learning (and continuing to learn every day!) how to mother. I realized how strange it is to have society so attuned to a pregnant mother’s needs, then suddenly go dark once she gave birth — all attention, now focused on the baby, and very little support and attention to the mom. When we transition into motherhood, so many of us seem to forget that while we indeed brought new life into the world, it doesn’t mean we gave up our own life in the process.
These realizations —
- I am not crazy to think Motherhood is exhausting, tough, and complex.
- Believing the above does not take away from my love from my son and my love for my being a Mom.
- I am a separate person from my child. I have my own needs, my own desires, and my own dreams.
- And putting the above on pause would be an injustice not only to myself, but to my child as well.
…these realizations saved me.
Dr. Oscar Serrallach, a family practitioner in Australia, who has spent a huge part of his career working with moms, recently released his work on Post Natal Depletion. He defined it as, “the common phenomenon of fatigue and exhaustion combined with… poor concentration, poor memory, and emotional lability. There is often a feeling of isolation, vulnerability, and of not feeling ‘good enough’.” Sound familiar? This is something so many moms have felt time and time again, but never felt they had the right to it. So Moms, if you needed scientific proof — here it is. Post Natal Depletion IS real. You are not a freak to be feeling emotional, exhausted, and burned out. You are HUMAN. And this phenomenon can stretch on years — even up to the 10th year of your child.
What do we do with this information?
- I urge you Mamas to look into yourselves and begin asking — how am I feeling at this moment in time — spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically?
- What do I want for myself? What would make me a better Self, Mom, Wife, Family Member, Friend, Contributor to the World?
- What’s the first step to getting what I want?
- What support do I need from those around me and how can I get it? (That last part is SO important! Not just knowing what help you need, but how to go about getting it!)
If you start with just those four questions, you would be making the four best investments into your time, energy, and life. MommyProofing is something we Moms need to do — not just as we prepare to bring life into the world, but on a day to day to day basis. Because we Moms know just how quickly our Motherhood Journey can change, how our kids can change, and how we can change.
So here’s to you, here’s to me, here’s to all the Mamas of the world — to our Motherhood Journeys and saying yes to MommyProofing ourselves!
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I’ve accepted that I cannot do it all, that I have my strengths, but I also have my weaknesses. In the same vein, I’m still working on fully embracing my power, my confidence, my right to claim my life as I want it.
What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
What I’ve learned to appreciate and what I’m still working on are one and the same – just being in the moment. I am such a control freak! Becoming a mom has taught me (and continues to teach me!) that sometimes, the magic is in the moment — and not in staying within schedule or making sure we stick to “the plan”.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
One of my most rewarding achievements in life is realizing that it is 100% okay to not be able to do everything on my own. This realization led me to create a business I am so passionate about — supporting Mamas into getting to a place where they can be kinder and more loving with themselves. I dream of creating an even bigger community where every Mom has the support she needs, there is no Mommy Judgment, no Mommy Shaming, and definitely no Mommy Guilt!
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
I am a total self-critic, but a total cheerleader for others. This strange combination has allowed me to really push myself to achieve the best that I can, while providing a safe, motivating environment for those around me.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my spirit, my connectedness with myself, my determination to achieve my dreams without sacrificing my values. I love that I am not willing to give up, just because it’s uncomfortable!