When you’re pregnant with your first child, many veteran mamas tell you how wonderful it will be. The focus of their excited chatter is mainly about the baby. You hear about the sleep you’ll lose, the milestones to look forward to, and all the tips and tricks you may or may not want to hear.
They often don’t tell you how it will change YOU as an individual. Yes, they tell you that motherhood is rewarding but never expand on it. They also don’t tell you about the beauty you find in yourself nor do they tell you the strength that grows within you.
Motherhood is an ever changing thing. It’s filled with so many different emotions (often in the span of 5 minutes). Motherhood is something you not only put so much of your heart into but your soul as well. So much of yourself is put into caring for tiny humans.
We’re often second guessing our decisions. We worry how every possible action and reaction will effect our children. Talk about even more pressure when you add having other mamas, parents, in-laws, and just about anyone else in the world being able to comment and scrutinize a mama’s every move into all of this. Trying to navigate motherhood with PPD makes it even more nerve wracking. It feels like things are intensified by 100. Often you’re trying to find the strength to have strength. Add the stereotypes that is often associated with PPD, well, a person needs all the strength they can get. You feel like you not only need to prove it to yourself that you can make it through but to others as well.
Yes, you do second guess yourself in motherhood. Whether it’s exclusively breastfeeding, formula feeding, cloth diapers, co-sleeping, teaching your child sign language, or only giving them organic food. You are continually second guessing every decisions and every move through the constant running thoughts in your head, comments from others, or articles you read. You feel like you need to, or are more than ready, to defend the previous mentioned choices. When things don’t seem to go as you thought (i.e. crib training early on, switching to formula feeding, etc.), you find yourself second guessing your second guessing!
However, you also realize through the missteps and triumphs that you’re doing the best that you possibly can.
You see it when your child reaches a milestone. It’s seen when your child’s laughter is so joyful you have tears in your eyes. You can also see it when you watch your child’s personality budding before you. Your child’s progression, whatever the pace, will show you everything.
Motherhood makes you vulnerable, it makes you protective, and it makes you stronger as a person.
This is why you become so passionate about every decision you make. You may have a bad motherhood day but the thing is, you wake up to do it all over again. Maybe with not as much strength as the day before but you still do it.
I’ve realized that the choices I’ve made so far regarding my children are led with my heart. I become protective over those decisions because I know in my soul it was the right thing for my child. That I take such criticism and scrutiny so dearly because I’ve put my heart into these children. I know it can be easy to question the parenting decisions of others but in the end aren’t we all making childrearing decisions that others will question and scrutinize? It’s then that I realize that while the advice given should be taken under consideration, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to follow each and every tip.
My babies and motherhood have taught me to continue putting my heart and soul into the things I love. Motherhood has taught me to not apologize for my beliefs. That it’s okay to be protective when it comes to scrutiny or criticism. More importantly, it has taught me that there was always this strength in me. It continues to grow as my children grow. It continues to grow even when I make missteps as a mama. It continues to grow as I maneuver my way through PPD. Motherhood has shown me that my strength was always there, it just need a kick from two handsome little men for me to realize that it was there all along.