I was overloaded with information during my pregnancy. Whether it was advice from friends or articles from mommy blogs, I was constantly getting a crash course in parenthood. When my daughter was born, I felt like I was as prepared as one could be for sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and strange bodily changes. Every day was exhausting acclimating to the challenges of being a new mom. Sometime around my daughter's one-year mark, I felt another monumental shift. My head was finally above water, but I felt more lost than ever before.
The panic of losing my identity blinded me from realizing I was growing. I wasn't losing myself — I was discovering myself as a mother, learning parts of me that I never knew existed.
With my husband's support, I decided to quit my full-time job and be 100 percent present in the upbringing of our child. I envisioned being a supermom — taking care of her tribe, expertly multitasking between diaper changes, feedings, and play dates, and still making time for myself. That dream quickly blew up in my face as I continued to struggle with motherhood. I had been career-focused for so long that it defined me. I found self-worth through the title of my position, the income I made, and the bonuses and promotions I earned. I swapped photo shoots and fashion shows for pee-wee playtime, and as selfish as it might sound, it was a big blow to my ego. I felt bad for daydreaming about my past life, wishing for just one day where I could "be myself" again. I knew I didn't want to go back to work, so I questioned why I felt this way.
The panic of losing my identity blinded me from realizing I was growing. I wasn't losing myself — I was discovering myself as a mother, learning parts of me that I never knew existed. I remember a time when my daughter went through a series of ear infections. The only way she would sleep was in my arms. I held her endlessly for hours. My arms felt like they were on fire, but I carried her with relentless strength and patience. She brought out the best in me. I no longer fear the changes happening and strive to meet days of anxiety and confusion with peace.
My journey of motherhood has so far been a precarious balancing act maintaining my needs, interests, and relationships — all while providing a loving, enriching environment for my daughter. There are times when I miss happy hours and long hot showers, but the growth I've witnessed from both myself and my daughter during this tender stage of her life is something I will never regret experiencing.