Thursday, March 12, 2015

Have I Lost Myself In Motherhood?

Today I'm partnering up with Angie over at Wongpressdotcom and Kassie from The Freshly Brewed to tackle an incredibly compelling question about motherhood. I admire and respect both of these ladies and am so happy to share this topic with them SO please go check out their posts as well! You will receive some different, but very valid perspectives from them (as we are all in different stages of parenting) and my hope is that between the 3 of us perhaps we can paint an accurate picture of the identity of motherhood… A picture that resonates with many individuals walking along the journey that is parenthood.

Our discussion today begins with my dear friend Angie's Instagram account. Last week Angie posed the question: Have I lost myself in motherhood? . . . . (Say what??) . . . . Have I lost myself in motherhood? (It such an intriguing question, I felt I should repeat it.) As I repeated this question over and over to myself, I was floored. My brain just started churning and all I could think was we needed to have a discussion about this. I began to wonder if there are mothers out there who feel this way. I began to wonder if I feel this way. I wondered what this question is actually asking. Is it about identity? Is it about how we define ourselves? Is it about self care so that we don't lose ourselves? Is it about expectations? How do all these things relate to my own journey into motherhood?

SO… I'm going to attempt, to the best of my ability at this very moment, in the season of motherhood that I am now residing, to answer this question were it asked of me.

No. No, I have not lost myself in motherhood.
If anything, I have found myself.

BUT I want to take a minute to tell you how thoroughly this answer surprises me. If you had asked me 2 or 3 years ago to paint you a picture of my future dream life, it would have in NO way resembled what it is now. Don't get me wrong, I knew I wanted children, but I in no way ever had a lick of a desire to be a stay at home mom. Oh no. I knew that was absolutely not for me. I was very driven and career-oriented. By golly, I wanted to be a mover and a shaker in my profession. I wanted to be the next person doing research and writing books and training the future music therapists of the world. I wanted to run my own business. I wanted to make a name for myself in the world of music therapy. I wanted to prove all the people who doubted me wrong. In so many ways, I found my identity in my profession. In so many ways, I chose to define myself as a music therapist.

Then, I lost my first baby and all of a sudden the only identity I wanted was that of a mother. I would have given anything to save my baby. I would have taken on anything to save my baby. Truth be told, I would have given my own life if it would have saved my baby. When we got pregnant with Baby Blossom, I lived in fear that I would lose her too, but I also lived with the hope that I would meet her, that I would know her and I would hold her and love her. And all of a sudden, everything that mattered so much to me before, all those career aspirations, took a back seat to the beautiful baby I held in my arms. Everything by which I formerly identified myself, I consciously CHOSE to give up. I gave them up to be a stay at home mom (something I swore I would never be).

Perhaps that means in some respects, I have "lost" myself. But I don't see it that way BECAUSE I knowingly MADE a decision, for this season, to let go of those things. What's more, I feel like since becoming a mommy (and even since losing my first baby), I love deeper and feel more compassionately and empathetically, and discover hidden depths of patience that I didn't know where there. I feel like I'm a better friend and daughter and person in general. And I truly believe those traits have come from my journey into parenthood. I love this new person that I have grown into (even if it doesn't look much like the person I thought it would).

This is my story and the way I feel and I want you to know that it is absolutely okay if your story is different and if you don't feel the same way I do. Our experiences shape us. Our perspectives of those experiences shape us. We grow and we change and we become different people and that's okay. It's also okay to look at your life and feel like maybe you have lost a little bit of yourself. And maybe if we all share our stories together, we can pick up our little pieces and find each other again together.