I remember sitting on the floor in our Brooklyn bedroom about 2 years ago. Tears were streaming down my face. Six months into motherhood and I was so tired.
Exhausted to my core, both from being needed 24/7 and from falling in love with my baby so hard that I never wanted to be away from him. I never understood how much mothers can love until I became a mom myself.
Despite the insane amount of beautiful love I felt vibrating through my whole body and despite all the happiness I felt about having my perfect son and knowing that no matter what he would come first, another part of me also felt like the entire life that I had worked so hard to create pre-baby, was slipping through my post-baby fingers.
My professional self felt so far away. Does that sound familiar?
After bringing my business to solid grounds through years of deep dedication, I suddenly felt like I had no direction. I wanted to take on more clients and keep growing but I had no clue when I could fit them in.
I was breastfeeding and could never say with absolute certainty when my son would want to nurse. While I loved breastfeeding, I hated to pump. I wanted that closeness with my baby and at the same time, I desired more predictability in my schedule so I could keep up with my work.
I found all these paradoxical desires and pressures from the different areas of my life and I didn't know how I could bring them into harmony with each other.
When I thought about who I had become, I didn't quite know where to start describing her. What did I like to do in my free time again?
I wondered, how women with multiple children manage life? I "only" had one child (at that time) and there I was sitting in a puddle of my own tears feeling completely overwhelmed with integrating motherhood into my life.
Here is what was happening:
I was grieving my independence and yet if someone had given me a ticket for a day away from my mom life, I doubt I would have taken it.
I wanted more freedom, but the thought of hiring someone to be with my baby instead of me, ate me up with jealousy.
I wanted so desperately to feel like ME, but me the way I existed pre-baby, was forever gone. I realized that motherhood would forever feel like too much unless I stopped grasping for the woman who I once was and the life I once led.
Instead I had to learn how to allow myself to evolve and my life to restructure in a way that not only made space for my baby, but for me, the woman who loved life, the fun loving mother I wanted to be.
As I realized this, my tears began to dry up and I felt a wave of relief run through my postpartum body.
I needed to meet my NEW self that included the identity of a mother. I needed to begin a conversation with her and find out what she desired, what she needed in order to be refueled, which aspects of her life needed to surrender and which parts of her life were ready to bloom.
And so my journey into getting to know ME started once again.
I began a short morning routine where I placed my hands on my lower belly, taking a few deep breathes saying "I invite you to come out and show me who you are."
I also did a few exercises that honored the woman who I once was and released the parts of her that no longer fit into my new self. In fact, a lot of that felt similar to when I got rid of my college clothes.
At first I was a little sad, but then I quickly and intensely felt the power, potential, and confidence of the woman I was becoming; the mother in me.
The more I allowed my new self to emerge, the more I fell in love with her. I could feel where in my life I needed to set new boundaries, what I needed to make space for and what I needed to let go of. I began to feel lighter.
Here is a truth I discovered for me:
Before becoming a mom, I always wanted to believe that I could continue to run my life the way I did pre-baby and just add kids and motherhood into the mix.
Aren't women supposed to be able and allowed to do it all?
Personally, however, I found that while that may be possible in theory, I wouldn't be able to do everything I did before AND be the woman -not to mention the mother- I wanted to be.
I refuse to be burnt out.
I refuse to spend my life stressed and overtaxed.
I refuse to feel distant from my children, my partner or myself.
I refuse to stuff myself with unhealthy food because I just grab whatever is there.
I refuse to feel numb, angry and frustrated.
I refuse to not feel proud of the work I do and what I stand for.
That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes feel those things, but I refuse to stay there.
Realizing that meant that I needed to let go of certain aspects of my life, restructure the way I was working, re-learn how to make my marriage a priority, and become better at delegating, outsourcing and asking for the right kind of support.
I promise you that if you allow yourself to evolve and stop grasping for your pre-baby self (and, please give up the idea of "bouncing back" in any area of your life) and instead spend your energy on meeting and listening to the woman you are now who is also a mom, you will fall in love with her and slowly but surely motherhood will not feel like it's too much anymore... on most days at least;)
I'd love to hear from you and about your experience in the comments below.
Over the last years I have witnessed and guided countless women to do what I did. I know it is possible for you, too. Believe me.
If you are where I was a few years ago and you're finding yourself lost in motherhood, I would love to work with you. You can learn more about how coaching with me works and fill out a consultation form here.