Last month I gave birth to my second child, a daughter. My firstborn daughter turned two years-old this spring and we just transitioned her into a toddler bed. There is no doubt that I am currently deeply involved in motherhood and all the trenches it comes with.
the loneliness of motherhood
With my transition into motherhood, I was most surprised at how isolated I felt. I had my husband, my friends, and my family, but I felt so alone. Mothers can be found far and wide and yet here I was feeling torn apart, left to battle the unknown alone. Our breastfeeding journey almost broke me. To this day, it was one of the hardest hurdles I have overcome. And it was during this both mentally and physically trying time that I realized why many women come to the decision that breastfeeding is actually not what is best. A healthy mama overrules all. Had my emotional state gone over the edge a smidge more, I would have done the same.
This was my first glimpse into how messy parenthood can get. I understood. I got a taste of the negative impact that having such high expectations over something could deliver. And right here is where my heart throbbed and ached not only for myself, but for every parent out there trying to keep their heads above water. That was my first lesson in self-inflicted parental pressures and in hindsight, I am thankful I learned it early on. From there on out, all of my so-called plans were chucked aside. They had come with a false sense of control, which I realized was not a healthy mentality.
The strong desires and plans I had lined up were all erased with a mindful reset button. I chose to continue taking everything day by day and assessing all factors involved. I wiped out all standards I had set upon myself and all those that came from outside influences. It was life changing. It was pure freedom. I chose to proceed with an open mind and an open heart. Most importantly, I vowed not to question or judge the decisions other parents made. Instead, I chose to listen, understand, and live in compassion.
I am not saying that plans, hopes, and preparation in parenthood have no place – they absolutely do. There are many different methods, styles, and ideas out there. Each one has clearly served their purpose and have worked wonders for families in different ways across the globe.
Information is available and doing research gives us great guidance. I am a strong advocate in the power of awareness. I personally think that we, as pre and post-natal women, should be familiar with our rights and choices that we have access to. But never have I learned anything quicker than the following: It’s when we dare to become attached to things that we cannot control where life gets messy.
The postpartum days are vulnerable, precious, emotional, and challenging as all hell. Holding such high expectations over our heads, at some point, will be more than we can take. Let’s not make things harder than they have to be. Instead, we should step back and simply aim for healthy mamas and healthy babies. Our tribe stand tall and proud and most importantly, in unity. Let our experiences, challenges, similarities, and differences all shine together. In the end, we are all one and we are all the same. This is motherhood.
Read more of our series of honest essays on Motherhood: Motherhood – I Should Feel Grateful, The Beauty of Motherhood and the Importance of Self-Care, and Postpartum Anxiety and Depression: When Healthy Food Wasn’t Enough.
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”