When I went back to work after having my first baby, I remember walking in that first day feeling as if I was a completely different person. Truthfully it scared me because I didn’t want to be a different person. Everyone treated me as the same person, but I felt like I was lying to everyone. I knew I had a new title-Mom and I had been through a pregnancy, child birth, labor, delivery, clogged milk ducts, catching infant poop in my bare hand, cried literally over spilled milk, breastfeeding, sleepless nights etc. but that shouldn’t mean I was that different…right? I wanted to be the same Sabra I always was, I craved for that person, sad to have lost someone I was with my whole life overnight. Only to become someone new, someone I had wanted for as long as I could remember, but I didn’t know how to be both of these people. So many questions raced through my mind-Would my husband notice that I wasn’t the same person? How would it affect our relationship? Is this normal? Does anyone else notice I am totally different? What’s wrong with me?
How could I maintain both identities at the same time? It was a constant struggle to be the person everyone (myself included) was expecting me to be and the person I had become. The person who wanted to crawl into bed at 7 p.m. after we got the baby down, who would rather get up at 5 a.m. with my baby than stay up partying till 2 a.m., but all I wanted to do was be alone, yet that was such a lonely place. I wanted to be the person I was, plus super mom, a career woman, the mom other moms were jealous of because I “had it all together” (insert sarcastic laugh here).
When I was on maternity leave with my first born I would wake up each day and think “what the heck am I going to do all day with her”. I kept trying to do/be what I thought I was supposed to be. Instead of enjoying the time with her, I would stress out about doing stuff and making sure I did everything “right”. I remember being less than a week postpartum, wearing a pad bigger than my daughters newborn diapers and making a full dinner for my husband. I was so proud of myself to make such a healthy, balanced meal for us right after having a baby! 2 years later I kicked myself in the butt for doing that. Who was I trying to impress?! I was only competing with myself.
Then I had my second baby and I held her ALL DAY long when I wanted (and could). I soaked up every single minute of her being a sleepy newborn and me doing nothing but take care of her and myself. It was blissfully short, but so magical to have that time with her. Once she shifted into longer awake periods, I knew that precious time had passed, but I enjoyed it! From then on I have tried to enjoy every moment, easier said than done, but I recognize it all passes to quickly and I am supposed to be the person who does nothing but hold her baby and enjoy her at times. Now, I understand why people keep having babies, there is something so precious about a newborn, it doesn’t compare to anything in this world! To be able to enjoy the most innocent, sweetest little being (twice!), is one of the greatest gifts I have been given in my life.
I had been fighting myself for so long to accept who I had become and thought I wanted to be, that I missed out on enjoying so much of motherhood at first. The saddest part is, I didn’t fully realize this till my second was born. Fast forward 2.5 years later after the birth of my second child and I FINALLY accepted myself as this “new” person. I stopped mourning the loss of my former self and embraced this beautiful mom who recognized that I can’t “do it all”. I didn’t want to do it all anymore, I just wanted to be what myself and my family needs and that’s what really matters. That doesn’t mean I don’t have huge goals and desires, if anything I have bigger goals and desires now than I ever have in my life. I finally have the clarity I wish I had a decade ago, when I thought I knew what tired and busy was.
I am exactly who I was supposed to be all along. Becoming a mother didn’t change me into a different person, it made me the person I was meant to be.