It always amazed me how little mothers and women talk about their business to one another. I mean, we talk about guys, husbands, dating, periods, but we don’t talk about birth. We don’t talk about that long stretch of nine months that seem so short in comparison to the long life that follows the not so easy labor and birthing of your child.
When I was pregnant one of my biggest concerns other than an episiotomy, was losing my identity once that baby girl was born. My husband and I would go on long walks and I would burn his ear off as he listened to the words rush in about how I am so much more than a mother. I laugh because for anyone who knows me, I have wanted to be nothing but a mother for all my life. I never was sure about marriage though, I knew I wanted raise kids with someone. There was never one career path that spoke to me, other than caring for others and working with children. Yet, even when I did, there was always a void I was trying to fill. There I was pregnant so worried about losing myself in motherhood.
Here I am completely engulfed in motherhood. I say engulfed and not lost at this point. There was a corner that I had to turn in order for me to become engulfed rather than lost. I am immersed in motherhood, I am not lost. It took me months to fully get to where I am at. This is the part that we don’t talk about. That taboo topic of post-partum depression.
I didn’t realize I had a cloud overhead after my daughter was born until that oh so grey cloud decided to move on and disperse into the air. I had an unmedicated, natural, vaginal birth. It was the best thing I have ever done and the most challenging. It was difficult physically, but more than anything it was difficult for me mentally, and emotionally. There was a great sense of loss and mourning that flooded me which I never expected, and no one had warned me about. After birth, you are a different person. No matter how much you say you don’t want to lose yourself and you swear up and down that having a child won’t effect you. Get ready toots, it’ll come.
You grew a human inside of your beautiful body for nine months. You housed a body and a soul. You were the first home that baby ever had. For nine months your body transformed for another being. Then, within hours, for some it will be minutes, that baby goes from being inside of you to outside of you. You will rub your belly in comfort and realize that she is no longer there but in your arms now, or in your partner’s arms. Wrap your mind around that. In, then out.
I missed being pregnant. I still miss being pregnant. I got so used to carrying the weight on the inside, so to speak. The feeling of longing to be pregnant, while so happy my baby girl was in my arms was one of the strangest feelings. I would become sad for no reason. I would obsess about the birth of my daughter. I would be happy one moment then in a daze the next. I couldn’t handle the crying, to the point where I would have to stop myself from just dropping her with all my frustration. There were so many signs. Yet, I would brush them all off. As I am sure we all do. It is a huge adjustment. And maybe we need a new fucking term than post-partum depression. There is such a negative stigma to it. Maybe post-baby-birthing-lack-of-sleep, post-miracle-lack-of-support, post-vaginal-stretching-what-the-fuck-is-my-life, something other than depression. I definitely didn’t have a severe case, but there was something there that I couldn’t uncover.
Then it all hit me almost exactly three months after birthing my babe. We were in Italy with my family. It was probably the feeling of being “home”, with so much family and love around that allowed me to come to.
There may not be a loss of self during this whole baby-making, baby-having, baby-raising thing, but there is a birth of a mother. There is a transformation that occurs that we don’t celebrate and acknowledge as much as we should. I am still all the things that I was before the birth of my daughter. I am a provider in the household, I am independent, I am still incredibly interested in everything I was, even more so now. I am still all that I was, except that I am a mother now. It has changed my perspective on absolutely everything. I have transformed into all that I was and then some, then a great, big some. I would say that I am Raffaella 2.0.
Those first three months after giving birth are fucking insane, yet so calm. It is deceiving. It takes time to understand what it is exactly that is going on and honestly, you have to be open and ready to really look at what happens when you give birth. It is more than just the physical. You haven’t lost yourself. You’re still very much there, it may just take a little more effort to bring those qualities out. When you’re child is more independent you will be able to return to old plains, or adventure into new ones.
Shut yourself off from everyone for a little bit when your partner, family, friend, is holding your babe(s), and feel all those bittersweet feelings of being a mom. You’re priorities are different, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost any bit of yourself. The time will pass and the clouds will clear. You’re baby will finally smile back at you after giving her every ounce of your being for the past days, weeks, months. Look in the mirror and say hello to that sexy mother and jump into the freaking beautiful mess of motherhood.
With so much love and support to you bad-ass mamas,