(This post is a continuation from last Friday. Start at the beginning here.)
… I was shocked at my six-week doctor checkup to find I was “approved” to go back to work. I didn’t feel back to normal and physically I couldn’t figure out how I would even manage teaching and nursing and leaving my tiny babe. Although I wasn’t comfortable with the shape of my new-mom body, I gave myself a lot of grace and was impressed by how well my body was doing this job of growing a baby. I chose to dwell in that, instead of worrying about the extra pounds and squish.
As I found a rhythm to nursing, sleeping, taking care of our home, and doctor’s appointments, I began to find my voice. I had stories to tell and no forum to use. I also had this mental capacity that just wasn’t being tapped by the physicality of caring for a newborn. This was the biggest surprise of all, because I was expecting motherhood to fulfill me, every second of the day. It is fulfilling in so many ways, but I am also learning that God has created me to enjoy work and stretching my mind. I missed working, accomplishments, and deadlines. I missed teaching and communicating ideas. For someone who loves to cross the finish line, parenthood stretches on endlessly.
Starting to reflect, write, and work with women I love and respect has met a need to mentally engage in my world. I don’t believe this makes me less of a mother – it is making me better. I dreaded “waking up” in my 30s and feeling I had lost myself through giving everything to my kids. I hope when she is older, my words are read by my daughter. She can read what new motherhood was like, and how much I love her and her father. I hope she sees that friendships and honesty are worth it. I hope she sees the value of working hard and giving yourself grace to try new things and learn from mistakes.
I’m realizing that there is no one way to be a mother. My feelings, struggles, and needs are different from yours. Maybe this is why it felt like a “cliff” – I must find my own way to navigate this life, based on how God designed me. My words can be part of my way to teach and raise my daughter.