I wrote this post on new mom fears a while ago. At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish it. I thought I would share it in light of mother’s day to encourage other moms on the journey of motherhood.
As a new mom, I remember having many fears before having my daughter. Now more than a year later I know my fears were nothing to worry about.
At the time I didn’t want to be only a mom. Leading up to this moment I had been Courtney. A married young woman finishing up her university degree. She was an autonomous adult.
Yet ever since another human life inhabited my body I haven’t been the same person. I lost some of the previous version of myself. It wasn’t until my postpartum days I realized this change. At the time I was not only coping with the presence of a baby but the partial loss of my previous self.
Although the start of this metamorphosis began in pregnancy. Constant nausea a reminder my body was no longer my own. I was not prepared for how much motherhood would affect me. From the outside, it was obvious to others that my physical body was changing.
Yet, it wasn’t clear that my heart and mind were changing and growing as well. As soon as my daughter came out of me and onto my chest I met the life that had been growing inside me. This was Lyla and I was now a mom.
Outside the womb, my daughter continued to depend on my body to live. In those early days breastfeeding was not easy, but it was something we fought for together. Throughout the first year, we faced other challenges as well. At 10 months we began supplementing with formula because she was losing weight. I learned each struggle only lasts for a season as within a couple of weeks she was back to a healthy weight.
Looking back it was in those early, hard, leaky, saggy, postpartum days that I went from Courtney to a mom. My priorities completely shifted to caring for the precious life that had been entrusted to me and my husband.
Along with this shift inside of me a new sense of confidence developed. I can’t quite explain it but a mother’s instinct to protect and care for her child is strong and fierce. I’m generally a quiet and timid person, but, I won’t hesitate to advocate for my daughter’s needs and well being.
Yes, I lost part of myself when I became a mother, but the parts I lost had to be pruned to become a good mother. That transition was not easy, I grieved my old life. First-time moms may be ashamed to admit this because the fact that we are a mother is a blessing. For us, subjects related to not always adoring motherhood are seen as taboo.
Adjusting to Motherhood
Now more than a year out from becoming a mother I am more adjusted in my role. I have learned the first few pivotal lessons in motherhood. The chief lesson being that a mother must be willing to change and adapt for her child. The process will not always be easy but the rewards of being a mother far outweigh the challenges.
As I have gotten over the shock of being a new mom I’m slowly finding my way back towards parts of my old self. Now that my daughter is older it’s easier to leave her with another caregiver. I can go on dates with my husband or go out alone for a few hours to work on my writing.
I’m learning to merge parts of the old Courtney with this new identity I’ve found in motherhood. As I go along in motherhood I’m sure I’ll continue figuring out this balance. Yet I’ll never arrive at a perfect one because it’s in the struggle where we learn and grow as people.