There is no way to describe that moment when you meet your child for the first time. Everyone’s story is different in how that first meeting came to be - a home birth surrounded by family, a chaotic scene with high risk moments, or an adoption when the child was three years old. My first meeting with Parker, Weston and Corbin were all very “traditional,” the twins on the other hand have a different story. One thing though that is the same is the way you change, the way your heart grows, the way you see that child and now yourself. Regardless of the circumstances, when you meet your child for the first time you learn what unconditional love really is.
I have discovered so many things about myself since becoming a mom. I’m a magician at multi-tasking, always overly prepared for the “what ifs,” and an expert at distraction. I’m not just a mom, but also a DJ, a maid, a taxi driver, and chef. I’m a personal assistant, party planner, and cheerleader. I’m a nurse, counselor, puzzle solver and Disney movie guru. I’m a hair artist, masseuse, LEGO extraordinaire and a ghost writer. I am a character in a storyline, a partner in crime, a tutor, and dry cleaning service. Don’t try and quiz me on sports, MineCraft, Fortnite, or Peppa Pig, I know everything! I am a calm presence, a listening ear, a voice of reason and safe haven. When I became a mom there was an unearthing of these hidden talents, but at the same time I slowly lost part of myself.
How can that be the case? How can you gain so much and at the same time see yourself slipping away?
The sole reason that this occurs is because as a mother your focus turns to someone else. Those tiny toes and innocent eyes. The feeding schedule and ear infections. The reading homework and soccer practice. Mothers forget who they are sometimes because they are hyper focused on being what everyone needs.
I quickly lost myself when we had the twins just 15 months after Corbin and my world was about five sets of eyes, and five hearts, and five different needs. But slowly and surely I’m making way back. Let me tell you how I’m working on finding myself, because maybe, just maybe, it might help you…
I started to remember that my dreams didn’t need to just consist of what I wanted for my children and their lives, but for my own. Dreaming, having ambitions, looking forward to the future, has helped me to find myself again because I no longer let myself be defined by just my role as a mother. I love to write, to share a story and almost to a fault can be overly reflective. I started throwing out the idea of starting a blog to my circle of friends and it was almost a test, a long shot, I didn’t know if I could really make it happen, but I could feel this burning for something more and maybe this was it. One of the first steps to finding myself required that I look inward, remember my passions, and to not be afraid to reinvent myself and at the same time pour my time, energy and focus into something that is just for me.
Finding myself and being satisfied with myself is a journey. Self-love is not an easy task when there are so many reasons to doubt my abilities, feel guilty for my choices, and regret my actions. Sometimes it is the people we surround ourselves with that pull us out of the ashes or in my case off of the hamster wheel and shine a mirror on our inner selves. Those people can remind us of who we really are. My people have shined a light on my abilities and reminded me of who I am. I love to find the beauty that surrounds me, I capture life in pictures and words, I am loyal and a good listener, I am a leader and effective communicator, I am creative and helpful. My people remind me that I am more then the just a task master, more than the calendar queen, I am more than just a facilitator, I am much more.
While on the road to finding myself again, I realized it would require me to be brave. I wasn’t happy with my body, I didn’t feel good about myself. A year after having the twins and I was still carrying additional weight and my body had completely changed. It was hard for me because I felt like after the first three I recovered, but after the twins I felt stuck. I felt as though I wouldn’t be able to make a difference and forever be in this place. But I didn’t want to buy a new wardrobe because I needed the next size up, I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit all summer at the lake, I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror and feel defeated. Everyone around me would say, “you look amazing for having five kids.” But I still just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and felt like I couldn’t talk about it. So I made a few changes. I started working on more consistently at Barre3 and not only started seeing results in my body, but gained a tribe of supportive women and the confidence to keep going. I did a cleanse which helped change a few habits. It’s a work in progress though. I still feel guilty when I go and workout for an hour because that means either the kids are at daycare longer or my husband is on his own with all five. I still look at myself in the mirror and find flaws, but I remind myself that this body carried five babies, two at once! This body gave life and sustained life. I did that. I need to be proud of that and be reminded of that when things don’t fit right or when I’m self-conscious. It’s a work in progress with my eating and drinking habits. I know the right choices, it just hard to be rigid, food and wine are my rewards for tackling the day, but I need to find a better reward. How I fuel my body impacts my ability to be effective, I know this is important, I’m working on it.
Finding myself again also required talking to my doctor. Just know that postpartum isn’t just the three months after you have a baby, there is more to it then that and can be different for everyone. Don’t feel like you are failing if you need help. I crave control and what I didn’t realize is that as I was holding on so tight to the things I thought I could control, I was really losing myself, I was spiraling.
So the path to finding myself again required that I dream, a circle of people who lift me up and remind me of what I’m capable of, a new routine, being brave enough to refocus and jump off the hamster wheel, and the ability to ask for help. The journey for everyone is different. When we meet our little ones for the first time, we know what unconditional love is and we gain an unending supply of superpowers, but don’t forget about you. Nourish those things that make you who you are and find ways to grow, you deserve it and the impact will be a tidal wave.