This month at Curios, we’re exploring #hardfeelings.
Read on to discover Lauren’s journey to motherhood, the emotions they don’t tell you about, and discovering new parts of yourself in the process.
All I ever wanted to be was a mom. I have really vivid memories of being asked as a little girl what I wanted to be when I grew up and confidently saying “a mom.”
I am a big planner. I used to feel really proud of this quality. I had an A-Z plan for pretty much everything in my life and when things went exactly as planned, nothing felt more satisfying. My husband and I were able to get pregnant pretty quickly, which felt equally as terrifying as it was exciting. I took the prenatal vitamins and ate all the “right” foods. We told our parents and bought a diaper bag. I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and a D&C surgery 3 days after. We struggled and grieved and there were really dark days that were definitely not part of my plans for pregnancy.
We battled with the decision of when to try again. We tried for a couple of months, took a month off, tried again, and became pregnant with my son. I believe that anyone who has experienced pregnancy after loss can tell you that it is very much a “proceed with caution” situation. Setting the benchmark for when you’re allowed to feel the sense of relief you long for. Just wanting to make it past the week you experienced loss. Just wanting to make it to the second trimester. “I’ll feel relieved when he’s here and I’m holding him.”
Intrusive thoughts started around 25 weeks along. Fears that something would happen to my belly. That I wouldn’t be able to protect him before he was even out into the world. Terrifying visuals of the intrusive thoughts actually happening. Closing my office door between sessions to cry. This was such an intense and painful uncharted territory. People would say to me “When the baby is here, …” and I would correct them in my head. “IF the baby comes…”
He came 3 days past his due date at 9lbs 12oz. Healthy and safe.
When I became a new mom, I didn’t expect to lose every coping skill that ever worked for me. I considered myself to be a pretty competent woman in nearly every area of my life and trying to figure out this new baby turned me upside down. Every game plan we made worked for one night and not the next. His constant crying communicated to me that I wasn’t doing my job of meeting his needs. I kept waiting for the motherly instinct to kick in that everyone said would come. My husband and I would measure good days and bad days by how much crying was happening between me and the baby. I watched my husband step up and take over the role I used to hold. The type A planner – Organized. Problem solver. I felt like a shell of myself with really sore boobs who cried a whole lot and always smelled like milk.
All the baby books were for the baby. No one warned me that the biggest change in my new life as a mom would be me.
Being a beginner is really hard. Not having the right answers is not comfortable. Being thrown into constant change and uncertainty is sometimes really intolerable. I still know nothing. I’m only a year and a half into this, but what I’m finding out is that I really like this new me. I know I’m growing into the woman I’ve been destined to be. I can feel all the hard feelings and the good ones too because that’s honest.
Best of all, I have developed a new quality that I like even better than being a planner: I have acceptance. Acceptance that I have limited control. Acceptance that perfect isn’t real and good enough is possible. Acceptance that anxiety is something I will always deal with in some way and that it doesn’t have to terrorize me. Acceptance that I don’t have to love every second of motherhood to be a really good mom. Most importantly, I have accepted that the only requirement for being the mom I’ve always wanted to be is to love my kid with all I’ve got.
Watch us explore this with Lauren here.