I read another blog recently that clicked with me. This woman talked about how her identity as a person didn’t diminish when she became a mother, even though she admitted that motherhood was all-consuming. Instead, she proposed that motherhood was something that encouraged her to find more of herself.
I love that. Motherhood gets a bad rep as one of those things that can take too much from us – and that’s certainly a real threat. I have never given so much of myself in any other chapter of my life, but do my losses in becoming a mother really add up to losing myself?
I am admittedly consumed entirely by motherhood, and yes, this has entailed losses and hardships that are unsettling. I have no idea when I’m returning to my career, or if I will even return to the exact same line of work as I was doing before. I have no idea how many more kids we will have beyond the one running around and the one in my belly, and how much strength I have in me to give more as the demands of motherhood pile on. I have no idea what town or city we will move to next, or what ten more years in the Navy will look like for my family and what kind of toll that will take on us.
But, there is a big difference between feeling loss to feeling lost. Despite what I’ve given up, I feel more grounded than ever. I am not lost. I am growing.
To buy into the fear that motherhood is a woman’s greatest threat to losing herself implies that being a mother is a lesser version of herself. This is wrong. Yes, motherhood breaks us and takes from us in seemingly endless ways, but then it requires us to put ourselves back together to be more resilient, empathetic, bold, and wise.
Don’t sell yourself short – especially the part where you brought life into this world. Motherhood does not inherently take from us without giving back to us, so long as we remember our worth and remain willing to fight for our worth. I think that’s really the key difference in how we as individuals will experience motherhood – knowing, believing and upholding that we are worthy. That our losses aren’t meant to leave us empty, they are meant to make room for more experiences, more lessons, more love, more life.