Something happens when you give birth. Your heart grows a million times bigger than you ever thought possible. Things you never worried about, now became an obsessive paranoia. You begin to take pride in the littlest things and major accomplishments are redefined as successful trips to the grocery store without meltdowns or getting to shave your legs. Motherhood changes you on a level that you can’t prepare for; but becoming a mother also changes your identity, and it’s easy to lose yourself.
As your child grows and changes, you revel in the little person, he is becoming. This little person that you felt move inside of you, that you bonded with before anybody else could, is growing into his own and you are watching, learning and helping him figure out who he is and what he wants. All the while, you wake up one day a stranger to yourself. Your friends reminisce about the “old you” and you find yourself vaguely remembering that woman.
She was confident and vivacious. She controlled her own destiny. She knew what she wanted and how she was going to get it. Her Saturday afternoons were once spent aimlessly wandering the Target aisles, pumpkin spiced latte in hand, simply because she had nothing else to do. But nowadays, your destiny is controlled by the tiny human you love so much. Washing your hair more than once a week has become a luxury and “quiet time” is compressed into the 30 minutes you spent folding the laundry and wiping down the counters while your little one power naps.
Before you became a mother, you knew who you were. Now your identity is stuck somewhere between who you used to be and “mom.” And as you figure out what kind of mother you are, you find yourself grasping at any part of the “old you” that you can.
It’s OK to grieve that “old you.” It’s OK to be sad that your life changed. To sometimes wish to go back to being that confident, well-rested woman. To dream of the uninterrupted, all-day Netflix binges and not having to eat snacks in private to avoid sharing. Grieve.
It’s part of the process, but at the end of the day, realize that motherhood has made you more patient. Its shown you to appreciate the simple things in life. Motherhood has given you an uncanny ability to love and care for another human unconditionally. You can now stomach explosive diarrhea and share half-eaten animal crackers without a second thought. Motherhood will give your life purpose and for the first time ever, you will realize why you were put on this Earth.