From the idea of becoming mother, to deciding to have a child, from the roller-coaster of pregnancy’s emotions to the pure happiness of the baby’s arrival, from the realization of the scale of the task to finding a life balance, a mother’s journey is quite an adventure!
In a hero’s journey, there is always an enemy, a dragon to conquer. What I’ve come to understand is that for a mother, the dragon is often herself.
A Birth And A Big Jump In The Unknown
I am in a clinic in Bali and the doctor is telling me that my baby is distressed and that we should do a cesarian. I’ve been in labor for 7 hours and it’s definitely hard to think straight. How am I supposed to make such a decision? Deciding on what’s best and safest for the baby and for me. Knowing both our lives are in the balance? I am not prepared for this.
Between two contractions, I call my best friend who is 12’000 kilometers away. She’s been a mother for 2 years and that makes her my Yoda. We decide to go for the C-section. An hour later, I am told that my baby is doing great and I relaxed on the operation table, listening to my surgeons chatting amiably in Indonesian while they patch me up.
Laying on that bed, a simple piece of evidence strikes me: this motherhood journey is going to be more demanding than I expected!
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Where Is The Goddamn Guide For This S**t???
I know. Vulgar. But truth is, this is how I felt when the hospital sent me home with a newborn and a happy yet lost husband. Prior to the baby being here, I thought I would rock at this! Honestly.
I went from being self-confident and eager to want to call my mom and beg for help in no time. But you know what they say: fake it until you can make it. So I pretended I knew what I was doing. Until it became a bit easier and more comfortable and a new challenge would arise.
You finally figure out the breastfeeding (or bottles), have a moment of glory, and all of a sudden you’re told it’s time to introduce solid food. You finally figure out how to work the damn stroller and can put it in and out of the trunk, have a moment of glory, and your children decide they want to walk instead!!!
In a moment of lucidity, I understood that there was no point waiting for a respite because there would be none. It felt like challenges were actually getting bigger as expectations grew. Like once your baby is 3 months old you’re supposed to manage it like a queen, get back to work, do the laundry, accept invitations, visit family, water the plants, choose a kindergarten, fill the fridge, read parenting books, take the baby for a walk, AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
But you finally find a semblance of a routine, and at that point, you feel so comfortable you decide to have another baby!
We All Have A Breaking Point
I thought that since I managed that first baby, with the challenges of multiple surgeries for his cleft lips, while succeeding in my first two years of university and a professional internship, I would rock for that second baby (do you see an overconfidence pattern here?).
I actually managed the new baby’s workload pretty well. I even managed to juggle university, daycare, taking care of the house, and being a play director for the village theatre company. What I didn’t manage was to survive emotionally all of this.
How did I figure that out? It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. My grandparents, who lived 15 minutes walk away, were expecting me and the children for a pie. I had the baby ready and my 2-year-old son in shoes but lacking his jacket. I asked him to put it on. And when he didn’t oblige straight away, I completely lost it. I mean ugly completely lost it. I yelled at this poor little thing who was watching me with huge, fearful blue eyes. His fear fueled my anger with guilt. I had to ask him to go to his room because I was suddenly afraid I might hurt him. I was at the end of my rope.
Even now, 12 years later it makes me emotional to remember that day. As a child, I had made myself a promise to never, ever, be an abusive mother and I felt abusive, using my son as an emotional punching ball. I failed him.
Giving Up Or Learning To Become A Better Version Of Myself
This turning moment in my life, looking into my son’s scared eyes, when I realized there was violence in me, long-lasting anger that was just under the surface, I realized that I had to accept it, or I could never overcome it.
This was the start of a long journey that got me here, today, coaching moms around the world. That afternoon, I calmed down, looked hard at myself, went to comfort my child, and took him for his pie at my grandparents. And I made a decision to do everything in my power to become the mother I wanted to be.
It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t even know where to start. But I had made a decision, and that was the beginning of it all.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. – Laozi
Motherhood Journey Never Ends
My journey took me to many places and taught me even more. From my work as a child care worker, my self-education about positive parenting, the birth of my third child, years of travel around the world, countless adventures and experiences, and my journey to healing my inner child.
It was all possible because I knew where I was going. I knew what I wanted for my children, and I knew who my ideal mother is: she walks this path with me, encouraging me. I know what is keeping me from becoming her, and I am working every day to overcome my beliefs, my education, and my fears.
When I look at that desperate version of me so many years ago, feeling so depressed at failing her beautiful, adored children, I wish I could tell her not to worry, that everything will turn out all right, that she will learn so much and become something she never thought she could be.
Be gentle with yourself, be patient, be loving. For you are a role model to your children and you want all of that for them, don’t you? And if feel like you’re failing, take a deep breath, get into a positive mindset, and spend time with your children. You can never be wrong with this one 😉
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I wish you all the best with your kids, always remember that we all do the best we can at a given moment, so don’t judge yourself too harshly. Be confident and listen to your intuition. If what you do comes from a place of love, then you’re on the right path.
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