My life changed the day my magnificent daughter came into the world. My heart expanded, my instincts deepened, I felt more in the second she was born than I had ever felt in my entire 30 years. My life had been altered forever. No going back. Yet, I made a subconscious vow throughout my entire pregnancy that I was adamant that I would not lose my identity. I was an actor – luckily I had been working for 15 years straight with no other job and was currently employed and that was to continue right after birth. “I got this” I said to myself. I’m a mother but by no means will I let that stop me. I will charge forth with fortitude and resilience not letting being a mother bog me down. Well my baby girl was born and my job wrapped up. So I was left severely sleep deprived, isolated and lost.
I remember going to a spin class about 3 months after my little was born and the teacher spoke about a time that she felt “lost” and I just crumbled. Spinning with snot dripping down your nose and caked old breast milk on your “sexy” activewear gear ain’t the greatest look. But it truly hit a nerve. Lost. Lost. Lost. That was it. I had no true bearing which way was up. I was in a fog. I had put so much weight on my job being my true identity that without it I had no clue who I thought I was and also who the world now perceived me to be. As I looked around at other working mothers I knew, and in the media, I believe they too resonated my sentiments. Celebrity instagrams with women who’d just given birth holding a script and breastfeeding with the title “multitasking” or “can’t stop won’t stop” “we can do it all” it dawned on me that they too were so scared to loose their identities. What are we so afraid of?? Why does success only equate to a job? Isn’t it a huge success to create a human being and then actually push them into the world? To put someone else’s needs before your own and to sacrifice, nurture and protect. Isn’t that success too?? That’s a job right? Why is it so engrained in us that to stop in our careers is weakness? In a sense to fail.
It’s been two years since my girl was born and I think back at that early time with slight regret. Instead of just spending each precious moment grounded with this perfect being, I ended up spending more time in my head. Obsessive thoughts about when I would get a job, when I would get back to who I was, when I would feel successful. The time is so fleeting and I can never get that back. Ever.
Then somewhere between the completely sleep deprived mother and the workaholic career woman I just stopped. Stopped obsessing every moment of everyday about my identity. I came to realize I was now all of it. I was some days a stay at home mom who facilitated every need for my child and some days a woman who wanted to fight for a job that also satisfied me in a completely different way. I can have it all, I just can’t have it all at the exact same time. And that’s ok.
When we are graced with our next child I hope to be more aware. I hope to be more humbled by the experience of motherhood. I believe the most important thing is identifying. It’s the first step to change. Breaking news – you’ll never go back to exactly who you were, how you felt or what you identified with. How could you possibly? You’ll be different . A different layer of beauty and success. You’ll change. And that’s ok too. That’s growth. You’ll become softer in your heart and have less control in your belief of what happiness and perfection truly looks like. Success will be important but it won’t be the most important thing. It’s a balance. I’m sure when our second child comes along I’ll beg for one more week to stay home. One more week to listen to the sound of my baby’s breath all day every day. A job will always be there. This will not.