In a recent blog post I addressed the proverbial elephant in the room: motherhood did not come easy to me. Despite my best intentions and waiting until I was older to consider conceiving, I didn’t simply slip into my newfound role.
I had what I affectionately refer to as Mom-life crisis.
My crisis started the day I could no longer cram into my skinny jeans. I was 18 weeks pregnant, though I didn’t look it. I was somewhere between my body and my pregnancy body, i.e. I looked like I inhaled a cheese steak and downed a 6-pack but not like I was carrying a child. I had no clothes for this size. Maternity clothes were too large, and my clothes were too small, and so I broke down.
Looking back, I know this moment was the beginning. It was the first sign I was “loosing myself.”
When others go through quarter- or mid-life crises they tend to dye their hair, change careers, or—occasionally—buy a motorcycle or vacation home in the Hampton’s. But my crisis wasn’t like that. Mine was all about the little things. I wanted to shave (hell, even see) my legs or enjoy a plate of hot wings without having to ingest an entire container of Tums. I wanted to be able to saunter instead of waddle. I wanted to sleep through the night without needing to make six trips to the bathroom. And speaking of the bathroom, I wanted normal bowel movements. (Sorry if this is TMI but everybody poops except pregnant women.)
I wanted to remember what it was like to be me and not simply pregnant (and, later, Amelia’s mom).
I wanted what I couldn’t have: I wanted my life back, like it was before.
I felt terrible for feeling these feelings. I scoured message boards and Mommy blogs, desperately hoping I wasn’t alone. Unfortunately, I found few conversations and even less support. But I now think I know why: It wasn’t because I was alone. It was because fear of these feelings kept me (and keeps others) from sharing them. We stop the conversation by not having it.
Thefreedictionary.com defines a crisis as “a crucial or decisive point or situation, especially a difficult or unstable situation involving an impending change.” Of course, this is the nature of any life crisis. Some situation throws us through a loop and we crave the past and the comfortable, i.e. the way things were. We fear the future. We fear change. But everyone has come to expect life crises as the norm. What people don’t expect is a glowing pregnant woman to be unsure about her newfound role, to be unhappy about her newfound life.
And that is something that needs to change.
There is nothing wrong with lamenting the loss of your life. You shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling, and you shouldn’t believe there is something wrong with you if this isn’t the “best time of your life.” Things are changing and yes, you will be making sacrifices. Some changes you may willing accept and others may make you want to knock your significant other in his, or her, sweet and supportive little face. It’s OK. (I mean, barring you don’t actually hit your spouse it is all good.)
I’ve read articles aimed at avoiding these crises but I say why? Why avoid what you, eventually, will need to face? Besides, my Mom-life crisis wasn’t all bad. I came to love my pregnancy (and post-pregnancy) body more than I loved my pre-pregnancy one. I learned that everything doesn’t have to be scheduled, and spontaneous dance parties are the best parties I’ve ever attended. I’ve learned to lay still and stare at the sky and throw leaves in the fall, and my purse is always stuffed with toys and “Mom” snacks, so I am always entertained and never suffering from low blood sugar.
I’ve learned to love the little things thanks to one big meltdown.
So if you are considering motherhood for the first time or—perhaps—already embarking on your pregnancy journey, remember everything isn’t always rosy, and it doesn’t have to be. You may have an amazing time and love every second of your pregnancy and mommyhood. I sincerely hope that is the case, but know that you may not. You may struggle. You may cry. You may be sad and angry and disheveled and find pregnancy and motherhood a motherfucking drag, and that is A-OK. It is normal. You are normal.
You are not a bad mom for feeling guilt or anger or sadness or remorse. Instead, you are the best mom because you feel these things out of fear of not being enough.
Please help keep the conversation going with #momshelpingmoms and #momlifecrisis.