Overnight, I gained a new identity. I went from being Ivy at 7 PM at my induction, to a mom at 5 AM when my sweet baby girl made her entrance into the world. This identity was unknown to me, even though I had been preparing to become a mom for over 9 months. All of a sudden, you are holding this delicate, beautiful baby that you know is going to turn your life upside down. And then life as you know it, is never the same.
This new identity includes anxiety and worry about this new little human who is now part of our scary world. Those first few months are so raw and challenging that you really just do whatever you can to survive and get through. But then suddenly, the clouds open up and the days feel less heavy, and this new identity that was foreign, uncomfortable and challenging at times, becomes your favorite part of you. Or at least, that’s what happened for me.
I never knew that I would love motherhood as much as I do. I didn’t know that a milestone such as Charlotte grabbing a toy, or lifting her head higher during tummy time, would bring me such immense joy. I never knew that I could have so much fun singing the same songs over and over, just to get a smile out of her. But just as I am getting the hang of things and life is getting more fun with Charlotte, it’s time to get back to work. For many, this is an exciting time to have adult interaction and get back to the daily grind of work, but for me the very thought of being away from Charlotte and her milestones breaks my heart. I think this is just yet another layer of motherhood that is challenging. The time that you’re at home is really just survival mode – you are healing physically and mentally from childbirth and you also have this new human who depends on you for everything. Just when everything clicks and you’re feeling better, is when you have to return to work.
Change is really, really hard. And it’s okay to feel anxiety about those changes. It’s okay to set boundaries for what feels good and for what no longer feels good for you. It’s okay to be nervous about what you’re going to miss out on. I’m learning more and more each day that motherhood is about being patient with your child, but we also have to be patient with ourselves. I’ve experienced a huge shift in who I am and what matters to me. That shift started for me when I lost my mom and I really set boundaries to protect my peace so that I could focus on what was really important to me. And motherhood, or any new identity or change should be treated much the same. It should be a time where you reevaluate what’s important to you, what drains you and what energizes you and make changes accordingly.
And maybe that doesn’t mean that you have the desire to quit your job and be at home all of the time with your babies, or that it doesn’t mean that you stop playing your sport all together, but maybe it means you leave work 5 minutes early, or that you wake up 5 minutes earlier to spend a little more time with your baby or doing that thing you love to do. That’s where we find the balance of joy in our society. Although this shift back to work is hard for me, as I navigate my ever changing identities, I hope to stay grounded in what energizes me and be as present as I can when I am doing the one thing I have come to love the most, spending time with my daughter.
So if you’re going through a life change, ask yourself what drains you and what fulfills you, and take the time in your day to find moments of fulfillment, set boundaries of what is draining, and know that just like so many of us, you are doing the best you can to juggle all of the new and past identities that you have.
You are doing a great job. And as you continue to focus on finding time to spend time doing the things that fulfill you, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
Be Beautifully Simply You