We all know the song “Let It Go,” but aside from it being impossible to to get out of my head (I have to admit, I secretly love it), I decided I needed to take Queen Elsa’s words to heart.
I have a nine month old (seriously…time, slowdown) so I’m fresh off the new-new mom phase and I’ve started transitioning into not-so-new-life of momhood. There are an endless amount of feelings that come with being a new mom:
- fear that that you won’t be able to figure this whole “mothering” thing out;
- amazement with what just happened to your body;
- disgust with the aftermath of what just happened to your body;
- uncertainty of how you’ll get back on track with your partner; and
- the all-consuming, mind and body, feeling of love and attachment to this sweet, sweet, perfect child who is now, and always will be, part of you.
Oh, and I can’t forget the tiredness. Although, I think that stays relevant throughout every stage of parenthood.
But maybe the hardest to deal with, in my experience, is the guilt. I take pride in associating myself with a group of women who are pretty amazing. We’re not necessarily all moms, but we each juggle a different assortment of relationships, work, marriage, household responsibilities (that hopefully the men are chipping in on), charity work, exercise and a host of other activities that I’m leaving off. I know I stretched myself and my time thin partaking in these areas pre-baby, but Good Lord how it escalates post-baby. I still can’t decide which haunted me more- the “work guilt” when I was with baby or the “mom guilt” when I was at work. This really got to me for the first few months back at work and it got to me in a really big way. It’s crazy how our bodies know when we’re taking on more than we can handle because, for about a week, I was pretty much rejecting most of what I was eating or drinking in a violent way. It was only when I made a conscious decision to cut myself some slack (AND made time to go see a medical professional), that I was able to somewhat function. Part of my mental recovery included cutting my breast feeding timeline short. Since my workplace doesn’t offer the most nursing-friendly environment, figuring out a convenient location and time to pump became a huge stress factor. I really wanted to breastfeed exclusively for a minimum of six months and I put a lot of guilt on myself when I threw in the towel at month four.
Coming out of my new-mom stage, I made a shift that I believe has made a big impact on the well being of my emotional and mental states. I remind myself that I just did something amazing: I had a baby. And I continue to do something amazing: my baby is thriving and happy. I grew and birthed a perfect and amazing human being. And I’m nurturing this human to be a good citizen of this world. That is my primary focus right now and I am so happy about that. My work and my life commitments are very, very important to me but I’ve made it very clear to all, and most importantly to myself, that this mom thing is my top priority and I refuse to feel guilty about that. To some women, kids are not a priority…and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, I’m fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be this kid’s mom right now, and I will lavish every second of it that I can.