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I had an interview this morning. It was different from other interviews I’ve had. The woman conducting it was a new mom. She kept repeating throughout that I was an inspiration to her. That my candor and honesty has supported her though some troublesome times. While her words made my heart flushed, I couldn’t help but think; “But you do know I’ve travelled to hell and back, right? That what you are seeing now is three years of deep internal meditation and cleansing and healing?”

Now on the other side, my life is ticking along quite nicely. My personal work is paying off and I’m finding my groove in being a mother. But while looking through old vacation photos when Phoenix was 6 months old, I remember so vividly the haze and heaviness I felt. Walking through the motions, not really knowing who I wanted to be, losing my drive to fight for anything on the career front, begging for some moments when I felt “normal” and just hoping to survive. I physically couldn’t see straight.

There is so much damn pressure for a new mom to come out unscathed. Arms blazing, body “bouncing back” (why the hell do we even get pressure to focus on our bodies when we should be focusing on our newborn, is beyond me), and to have it all figured out.

I think lack of community mixed with intense female career pressure, peppered with no true societal support makes it very easy for a new mom to feel like it’s all too much.

But the thing is, you just have to get through it. Through every wakeful night, through every thought of broken dreams, through the guilt you feel about almost every damn thing. Through every judgement from those outspoken mothers, that you realize are just as freaked out as you. You have to fall before you fly. And when you come out on the other end, you have a resilience that’s unbreakable. A confidence that’s impenetrable and a deep understanding of what type of mother you are. And you won’t give two fucks about what people say or think about you.

As I look at new moms with the glazed-over eyes, I just want to run up to them, squeeze them tight and say “I promise you’ll return”. You might come back in different packaging, packaging you might like better or worse but you’ll return all the same.

You have to fall before you fly.

Tonight I tucked my three year old in to bed and I said; “You know mummy loves you so much, right?” and she responded “Yeah mummy I do. I’m proud of you mummy”.

I took a beat and it let that sentiment land. I’m proud of me too.  And it made me think, maybe, just maybe, I’m finally starting to fly.