I am not my own. It feels like I have lost all my rights to my body. Lost the rights to make decisions because now all my decisions include the caveat 'as long as my baby isn't sleeping' or 'as long as my children can come with me' or 'I need to be home in time to nurse my baby.' When you become a mother, you are no longer your own.
As I write this, I am weeping. For many reasons... (1) being that I wish it would all slow down so I could savor the moments, and (2) because I also know that I keep wishing the days away, even when I know how quickly they fly by, and (3) I have been there, I remember, and I feel for you momma!
I must admit, I am coming out of this phase of life and into the preadolescent years. I have 4 daughters: a 10 year old, 8 year old, 6, year old, and 4 year old. My baby is no longer a baby, no longer wears diapers, sleeps in her own bed (until about 4 am and quietly slips into our bed). I don't have children stealing food off my plate or needing me to wipe their butt.
But I have been there...
I remember nursing every 1.5-2 hours and wondering when my body would be my own again. I was either pregnant or breastfeeding for over 8 years. I felt touched out! I was (and still am at times) sleep deprived. I remember feeling like my husband had no idea how difficult is was to be a mom- and honestly as much as he tried, there was no way he would fully understand- he wasn't breastfeeding, he wasn't getting up in the middle of the night to feed a baby. His body did not have the incredible design that mine did. My body was designed to sustain life, both inside the womb and outside of it. And, at times, I resented him for that.
I resented the freedom he had. I resented that he could go off to work and talk with BIG humans while I was stuck at home with tiny humans, whose voices were grating on my last nerves.
I hated that I was the main disciplinarian because I was the one around our kids the majority of the time.
I wished for the opportunity to walk through the door at the end of the day and have my kids run up to me like I held the world in my hands - seriously though, I was the one making their world spin, and yet these tiny humans had no clue.
I often wondered how other women could get out of their house looking so glamorous, while I had my day 3, unwashed, greasy hair pulled in a bun, wearing sweat pants and some freebie Tshirt, spit up across the front, toddler hanging on me legs, baby crying in my ear. I wished that these days would end.
I am not my own.
I resented the friendships that I lost because motherhood changes you. I hated that I was constantly missing out on fun opportunities because the baby needed me more. Your world goes from revolving around you and the decisions that better your life, to now revolving around these little ones and the decisions that are best for THIER LIFE. And that is a gift, not an easy accepted gift, but a gift nonetheless.
I am not my own any more.
But... there is a silver lining.
I got to be the one to snuggle that newborn and smell their head while I held them and nursed.
I was the one who got to see their first smiles.
Kiss their first boo boo.
Watched them taste many first foods.
Helped them take their first steps.
Watched them and their wonder as the world awakened before them.
I held their hand when they were afraid;
they came to me when they truly wanted safety and security.
And I know that all this time invested is worth it. Ladies, whether your body carried your baby, or not, motherhood is a selfless act. You become more beautiful even though you feel so tattered. You are planting incredible seeds into the lives of your little ones and one day those seeds will take root and grow into strong, fruitful, trees. One day your children will soar... and it will be because of you!
Now I am on the other end of this season... but I have these empty breasts, and I think, how can they be so quickly forgotten, they brought nourishment to my babies. I think about my womb, this bare, dormant home that could miraculously grow tiny humans. It saddens me that it may never carry a baby again. My stretch marks are actually fading away.... slowly, but they are. My c-section scar is practically invisible. One day you will look back and miss it all.
I am not my own.
Everyone says, 'this is only a season'... do you want to know what is scary... it's the truth. You feel like this season will never end, but I promise, one day you are going to blink and it will be gone.
So, take a moment and cry. Go into your closet and scream. Get it out! And then go look into the eyes of your precious baby, the smile of your tiny toddler because they adore you. See the joy that naturally flows out of them and capture some for yourself!
And just know that other moms have been there. We know what it is like. Give yourself grace; grace to fail, grace to grow, grace to be less than your own high expectations. You will make it through this season.
You, momma, make me brave! You remind me of the strength that I have cultivated because of those trying times I persevered through. You will come out stronger!
I pray that today is a good day for you!
My name is Jillian and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Encapsulator living in the Wilmington, North Carolina. I believe in women and that they deserve support throughout their pregnancy and births no matter what method of birth they desire. I myself am a mother to 4 girls, pregnant with a 5th (that is a boy); each of their births were vastly different.