I scroll through my Facebook feed mindlessly. I want to put my phone down and yet my thumb seems to insist upon the repetitive upward motion against my screen. Just a couple more scrolls…and suddenly I find myself reflecting upon the articles that pop up on my newsfeed. Over the course of two years, my Facebook algorithm has transformed from marriage, fitness, and fashion, to mom-blogs, parenting philosophies, and all things baby-related.
Before having my son, I swore up and down that I’d never ever let being a mother consume me. I would never be one of those women who could not stop thinking about and talking about her children. How annoying that was, depressing even. Surely, I would have a healthy balance in my life – a firm boundary and a line in the sand – between them and me. I wouldn’t lose myself, I knew that for certain. I would somehow maintain being me, while raising them.
After all, “the last thing the world needs is another mommy blog,” I once said.
How arrogant. How naive. To view parenting as some sort of systematic, black-and-white life experience is simply foolish. Just another season of life? No. It’s a transforming-all-encompassing-whole-hearted-breathtaking-strenuous-beautiful-overwhelming-pervading experience. No words can do this thing justice.
Motherhood is not just a step you take. I see that now. It’s a complete and total shift in life, in sense of self, in everything. It doesn’t mean that we stop being us or that our other priorities take the back seat. More so, it’s learning how to keep another little person not only alive, but thriving, as we navigate all the other parts of ourselves and the life we lead. Not only that, it’s also learning more about ourselves in a deeper way – both the brightest and darkest corners of our hearts – as we cope with being second in our own lives for the first time.
In Dr. Alexandra Sacks’ New York Times article entitled The Birth of a Mother, she discusses what anthropologists call “matrescence,” which is the process of becoming a mother. Sacks delves into the research conducted in the 90’s regarding this process by psychiatrist Daniel Stern. She states, “becoming a mother is an identity shift, and one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.” You can read the article here which goes into further detail about changing family dynamics, ambivalence, fantasy vs. reality, guilt, and shame as part of this identity shift.
Now I see why women, specifically mothers, write. The deep need for encouragement and connectivity during this experience is imperative for health and success. We need to know that we are not as isolated as we feel. We need to remember that most of our insecurities are not valid. We cannot raise the next generation alone, nor should we try to.
To all my friends and family who were moms before me, I’m so sorry for being ignorant. Today I can honestly say that I am humbled to be just another mommy blogger.