Just Mom

February 11, 2019

Someone recently told me, “I’m so glad you started blogging/crafting/going to lunch with friends/etc.; you’re doing something for you again! 

...I was worried you were losing yourself to motherhood.”

Then I see articles and memes and posts floating around Facebook and Instagram:

“You’re not just mom. You’re still you.”

Something about that felt weird to me. 

Then a dear friend recently sent me an article that I think sums up why pretty well:
Caregiving isn’t valued. It’s the work of those in the shadows — maids, nurses, stay-at-home-moms — who need feminism to lift them up so they can find their real talents and their authentic selves. There is no sense that we can be happy in it. There’s an implication that we should be doing what we want to do, and what we want to do is not take care of someone else. How could we possibly want that?”   
How Feminism Has Left SAHMs Behind

I’ve said this before, I don’t parent the way I thought I would, I do things very differently than I expected to. I don’t necessarily parent by the book or the mainstream way. I parent by my heart, by my gut, by my instincts that evolution and biology and the universe are still somehow trying to guide me by. For me, those instincts are saying to spend as much time with my child as possible, to follow his lead, to soak up every moment, to be as much for him as possible, to always be there to meet his needs and help him navigate this world.

The moment that pregnancy test turned positive, the moment I heard that first heart beat on the monitor, the moment I felt that first kick, that first contraction, the moment they told me his heart rate was dropping, the moment they placed him on my chest for the first time; in those moments those mama instincts started to roar to life. 
And every moment since, I’ve had someone tell me they were somehow wrong. 

But here’s what they’re missing: Our best days are the days when I honor those instincts. Our worst days are the days when I question myself, when I question my child, when I let others’ ideas and societal pressures tell me that wanting to be with my child is somehow wrong or abnormal, that it’s anti-feminist, it’s anti-woman, it’s anti-me.

I’m not losing myself. I’ve grown in becoming a mother and I’m getting to know the new me. And I’m getting to know my child. And in doing so, I am doing something for myself. I’m allowing myself to soak in every precious moment, I’m allowing myself to connect, I’m allowing myself to slow down, I’m allowing myself to block out the world for just a little while and fully enjoy all that motherhood brings. For a mother with PPD/PPA, sometimes feeling like you’re enough is a struggle and trusting those instincts is especially important. Forcing something when you’re not ready or your child's not ready, only makes it worse. Forcing it on terms you may not be fully comfortable with it, only makes it worse. I’m not just doing this for him (though it benefits him just as much); I’m doing it for me, too. 

We need to stop telling moms, especially new moms, that in being with their child, holding their child, trusting themselves, they aren’t enough or they’re doing something wrong. 

I’m happy being *just* mom. In this stage of life, that’s who I am, that’s what I want to be. And that’s my choice. 

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