Literally overnight, I went from being in a corporate atmosphere every day to being a homemaker with a baby on the way. It was my decision, after all, to take a few months off to get things in order before the baby arrived. I was ecstatic and relieved to have some focus and not feel pulled in so many directions. For the first time in a long time, I felt a sense of defined purpose and allegiance to a duty greater than myself – motherhood.
That feeling lasted about a week.
The reality of how lonely I felt started to creep in. Everyone I would normally confide in was at work when I needed to talk. When I did get the chance to chat with a friend, I would grow tired of answering the same questions, “So what do you do all day?” and “What’s it like?” Not to mention how depressing daytime television can be! I felt like the girl in the bubble – everyone was watching to see what I would do in my new habitat. It was a strange type of isolation.
I was expecting my first child. I had a long list of to-dos that seemed impossible to complete. As I got bigger, climbing up and down the stairs with loads of laundry became nearly impossible. It took me an entire week just to assemble a child’s dresser I bought online simply because my growing belly was in the way. I got winded easily. Basic things seemed so much harder and harder things felt impossible.
Eventually, it got better and I settled into my new role with its glorious limitations and I found purpose in the possibilities that each day presented. I lowered my ridiculous standards, set smaller and more realistic daily goals and allowed myself to rest as often as I felt I needed to. I found a groove and I channeled my energy into taking good care of myself and my husband. I tried new recipes, baked, made green smoothies daily and read birthing books. Within those 3 months, I successfully prepped for the baby’s arrival, put the finishing touches on the nursery and settled into an emotional space of eager expectation.
In May 2015, we brought our daughter home from the hospital and there was a new learning curve began. My mother stayed with us for two weeks and my husband took off of work for three weeks. Those first few weeks were a blur of sleepless nights, unspeakable joy and overall exhaustion. I honestly don’t remember many of the details and I slowly fell into postpartum depression.
I had anxiety so bad once my husband went back to work that I would only leave the house for doctor’s appointments and the occasional rushed trip to the grocery store. I felt suddenly alone and once again, isolated. I had this little vulnerable person that depended on me and the weight of that fact was crushing.
What if we get in a car accident?
What if I forget to pack something important in the diaper bag?
What if she starts crying and I can’t get her to stop?
What if I have to nurse and we are out in public?
What if there’s nowhere to change her?
These unrealistic worries kept me up at night. They robbed me of peace and sanity. I nursed on-demand around the clock. I didn’t eat well. I didn’t take good care of myself. I barely showered or brushed my teeth. I was so baby-minded that I forgot myself. I forgot the purpose of the whole experience. I forgot to breathe.
To be so strong-willed and feel like I was broken somehow held me back from chasing my purpose. I put it up on a shelf. I look at it occasionally and committed that I would one day take it up again. It wasn’t until I overcame my fears and came back to myself that I realized nothing had changed. I was still me.
I joined a local La Leche League group where I found commonality and normalcy with women I didn’t know, but who were a lot like me. The adult interaction was refreshing. I saw myself in their struggles, successes and moments of weakness. They were real and made me feel like I belonged in a special club of warriors who took on the daily battles that no one witnessed or celebrated. I also took up contractual work on a seasonal basis, which required me to visit the office a couple of times a week and helped me feel connected again.
I’ve learned over the last two years to be transparent. I’ve learned through countless personal conversations, articles, blogs and vlogs that I am not the only one. It happens almost weekly that I have an encounter with someone who reminds me of why I am on this planet. My daughter was about fourteen months old when I gathered enough courage to start again, pick up the pieces and move forward.
And I know now that it’s perfectly okay. I am doing it. I haven’t given up. I will not give up. I just needed some time to gather myself, shake off the dust and refocus. I took a mommy detour, but I still have work to do. I still have a passion to help others, but now I have a small audience. There is a beautiful, chocolate, brown-eyed little girl watching to see her own potential in me. She thinks I can do anything. I am starting to believe that too.
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, entrepreneur, dreamer, life-changer, leader, encourager, counselor, confidant and writer. I am all of these things. I was made to be all of these things and my purpose dictates that I can do them all with excellence.
I stepped away, but now I’m back!