By Guest Blogger: Lisa Hogan
Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mother. It’s what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. Then I graduated college, got married, and my husband informed me that we were broke and had to work a few years until we could have children. That was hard, but I threw myself into my work and learned to enjoy the flow of it. It took longer than I wanted, but finally my husband said we could start trying for a baby. One month went by, then another, then another. Every month was a let down. I eventually thought we were infertile and became a bit depressed. But I just decided to focus on work, fashion, recipes, and travel, and time passed by. I liked my life.
After one year it finally happened. I was pregnant! I could hardly believe it. It was what I had always dreamed of. I was ecstatic! Everything was wonderful.
Then reality hit. I couldn’t exercise like before. I had to cut down on caffeine and sugar. I couldn’t eat all sorts of other things that were dangerous during pregnancy. Harumph! Besides that, I started to “show”. Everyone was telling me how my face looked different. They wanted to touch my growing bump. Then I started getting forgetful, gassy, bloated, and my acne got worse. Call it hormones, but it was a big reality check. As I approached the due date this baby made it hard to sleep, caused cramps in my legs, and I couldn’t even walk very long before I started to ache all over. I retired from work the last month and a half and tried to read all I could for the future that awaited me.
Then the day arrived. Labor! It was everything I expected and more! After trying for a home birth, I ended up in the hospital, and after 36 hours we finally got to meet Tristan. I was now a real MOTHER! It was amazing. I felt all those mama hormones start to surge through me. I loved this boy. He had been a part of me, and now on the outside he felt like he was still part of me. It’s like the umbilical cord was and is still there.
Again, reality soon set in. I didn’t get my body back as fast as I thought. I could no longer leave this little boy without leaking milk, feeling anxious about him, or missing him terribly. Going out to eat was no longer fun and relaxing. While at a restaurant, he would start to cry, we would get embarrassed, I would try to nurse him, the nursing cover would fall off, no one really got to eat their meal, and we realized that it just wasn’t working anymore. Don’t even get me started about sleep! That didn’t happen much with a small baby. Also, talking to other adults would typically end in some sort of small catastrophe with a crying baby at the end.
Anyways, this is where I think new mothers can learn a thing or two from the butterfly. A caterpillar might be happy and carefree, eating away, focused on herself and the needs of the moment for awhile, then at some point the desire for something more switches and she encases herself and becomes a pupa. In this stage the caterpillar sacrifices EVERYTHING from it’s past life. To move to the next stage, the caterpillar, and a new mother, has to sacrifice everything. There might be a bit of sadness and nostalgia as you realize you can never really go back to those carefree days of just eating leaves. A mother really does transform too. She becomes something totally different. Those first few months are crucial as she becomes forever bonded to this new little person. When the butterfly emerges after it’s encasement there’s a lot to learn and do. A butterfly now can dart around on the wind, pollinating flowers, finding a mate and producing more caterpillars. It’s an exciting new stage.
Being a mother I feel like I have changed in so many ways. As my baby started to be content to stay on the blanket for while, and as he slept more, I could start to gain some of my “old” life back, but all of it with a different focus and appreciation. There is a different goal in life, and a lot of it revolves around this new little baby. There is so much to learn and do as a mother. It is difficult, and you do have to change the way you do just about EVERYTHING. But after this transformation, there is a new sense of duty and excitement to life. There’s so much fulfillment in wearing an outfit that suits crawling around on the floor above any expression of fashion.
Bottom line, once a baby is on the way, your life is beginning to change, and it’s a wonderful journey. Don’t yearn for the caterpillar stage once you’ve become a butterfly. Embracing motherhood means SO MUCH when you let it really change you. When you embrace these changes, you love your new wardrobe. You love dancing with your baby. Rocking them to sleep. Delighting them with a peekaboo or a tickle. When they are peacefully asleep after a day of adventures you feel so accomplished. I never thought I would find someone I would be so HAPPY to share my raspberries with (and I love raspberries by the way).
I am a mother, and I absolutely love that it defines me now.
Bio: Little sister of Stacey Maaser. Mother of a tender-hearted 2-year-old boy. Resting somewhere between an all natural hippy, and a modern, super clean city girl.