I’m in Melbourne, Australia at the moment and although it’s meant to be summer it is a cold, cloudy and rainy day outside. I’m reflecting on the year that has been and how far I have come in my conscious parenting journey, my business and my personal growth as a mother.
I want to share with you a little learning gem from that reflection and something I believe every mother should know. So here it is:
1. The woman you were before you had kids is gone (I’m sorry).
2. This is a good thing (I promise).
3. It is only when you stop looking back and searching for her that you will find your new beautifully unique and evolved identity (and it’s not the mother).
Last night I was chatting to an old friend who I haven’t seen in years! She is currently in the trenches of motherhood with a three-year-old and a 10-month-old baby. She was talking about how she feels like she misses her old identity, her impulsive, in the moment life that was full of activism, travel and adventure. She’s searching and looking back for that part of herself as she traverses the chaotic, sleep deprived role of a working mother of two little children.
I told her how I remember that stage of motherhood so vividly. Clear as day yet it feels like the memory comes to me like a dream. The sleepless yearning of a lost identity – knowing she’s forever gone, yet unsure about who will replace her. The lonely yet freeing feeling of a hot shower as you imagine who you were and what you could be. It’s a place of limbo and a feeling of aloneness.
It wasn’t long ago that I was there too, but I feel like I am on the other side now.
I no longer yearn for the maiden I used to be. I love her and I appreciate her, but I no longer need her to complete who I think I am. I’m also no longer a sleepless, breastfeeding mother whose 24-hour clock revolves around a baby and housework. And while I appreciate her so much and all the physical connection, I was able to have with my tiny babies because of her dedication, I no longer need to be her anymore either. Because there is now space for a new me.
So, who is the woman on the other side? She is a new person all together. Someone with the spontaneity and wildness of the maiden I used to be but with the patience and wisdom of the nurturing mother that I have become since I birthed my babies. Someone who chooses the conscious connection – not out of the immediate physical and emotional needs of my babies but out of the conscious choice of an attuned and experienced mother. A woman that is has undergone a sort of rewilding and is more comfortable in her own skin than the maiden she was before yet who has risen to a higher, more intuitive to her body and her family. A woman who has worked out how to delicately balance the boundaries and needs of my own spirit with those of my children. It’s a beautiful place and a place that I’m consciously building from within as I journey into 2024.
So, don’t grieve for the woman you were before the children. And don’t cling to the mother role that has become the security blanket of your identity. The woman you become does not need to be the woman you used to be before having your babies and she doesn’t have to be what you are now. She can be so much more.
Stop looking behind you at what you were. It’s time to take the next beautiful step forward in whatever way feels most aligned for you.
Do life with love, Leila A