Honest Motherhood

There are days I sit here and think that what no one tells you about motherhood could fill several encyclopedias.

No one tells you how you will barely be able to think about anything but this new human. Everything else in your life fades into white background noise. Nothing will ever be as important as seeing those tiny little cheeks break into a smile, watching the rise and fall of his chest.

No one tells you how terribly empty your arms will feel every time you put him down and how you almost don’t know what to do with yourself when he sleeps.

No one tells you how much you will love curling up with that warm little body in the middle if the night as you feed him–even while you mourn the loss of sleep. No one tells you how completely your body will change. I thought my body would feel like mine again after birth…but now that baby is earthside my body feels even less like mine.

None of the books quite prepare you for the many physical changes, the emotional and mental changes. For instance losing my short term memory for a few weeks after birth was not something I expected. I didn’t realize how long it would take for my body to heal after labor.

I didn’t realize that this baby would need me so exclusively, so intensely. Naively I expected to fall right into my old patterns and practices after birth.

No one told me how much I would love this tiny human. No one told me that becoming a mother would completely reshape my identity.

And even though some days it seems challenging and I really could use more sleep…I look forwards to learning and discovering new things alongside this little one.

Because this stage is temporary. Too soon, the babies will no longer need me this way. Too soon, they will grow up.When you became a parent, what did you learn that no one had told you?

Finding Strength as a New Mother

When my son was born, my partner kept telling me I was strong. The strongest person he’d ever met. Most days I didn’t feel strong. Most days I felt really tired, a little weepy and overwhelmed.

What kind of person was I now? Explorer? Wanderer? Mother? Wife? Daughter?

And then the daily struggle of wondering what I’d forgotten in the newborn hazy days of little sleep. Did I remember to swap the laundry? Order the groceries? Pick up diapers?

No longer the cat who walks by herself.

Now my arms were full of life every day and some days it was hard to imagine doing anything else…and other days it was hard to keep moving.

I tried to be strong…to be solidly grounded, Responsible and practical. I tried to look after all the odds and ends of our life. To catch up the laundry, to clean the floors and cook good food. To try and love that new little human and my partner all as much as they needed and still squeeze in a walk for the dog and maybe some tea for me.

But some days I felt like I was breaking. I didn’t know how to ask for help and I didn’t really even know what I needed. Being a new parent was a strange, alien world where intuition met doubt every day.

It’s incredibly unsettling, to be needed so completely by another human. To give up hours of sleep, to let life tumble and settle into strange new patterns of living. And while the challenge of raising a little person was and is incredibly wonderful…it is also immensely difficult.

Wakeful nights, slow, dreamy mornings. Milk sticky cheeks, cat naps and endless piles of laundry. As new parents we found it both unsettling and magical. We are not the people we were before beginning this parenting journey and it’s taken us time to become okay with that. I have moved into the realm of mother and I am finding myself and my strength in so many different places. There are depths to love I had never imagined. I could not have made this transition into motherhood without learning how to ask for help, without learning to trust myself, without leaning on other people for support. I might be strong, but I am stronger when I stand with others. I learned how intensely I needed support from the village and that is why I have built Home Roots – now just a seedling of an idea but soon to grow, much like my baby, into a nourishing space for families. Because when mothers are healthy, families are healthy.