Recently my husband and I received visits from some friends who came to meet our daughter, she was 2 months old. After we shared with them some of the little one’s exploits, such as the many poops in her diaper, the conversation unexpectedly turned to talk about parenthood. One of them jokingly said that he doesn’t want to have children after what he hears…
Is it reckless to say something like that in front of new parents who just had their first child? It can. But I wasn’t offended. I understood exactly how he felt.
When I came of age, the fear of motherhood began to make me doubt whether I wanted to be a mother. As a self-proclaimed creative, I worried that I wouldn’t have achieved everything I dreamed of for myself before becoming a mother. I knew (in my heart, if not my mind) that I wanted children. But this fear around my own freedom overwhelmed me – and it remained until my pregnancy.
Since becoming a mother, many of the things I was told would happen, have happened. Everything: my life has been turned upside down. I have given up countless personal freedoms. I’ve lost sleep. I have spent more money on one tiny person than I have ever spent on myself. I have left a world in which I was at the center. Lazy days are no more (or at least, not the way I once knew them). Dropping everything and just doing what you set your mind to doesn’t happen anymore.
And it’s true what they say: There is no right time to have a child. Even when planned, doubts still exist: “Are we making enough money?”, “Will I know how to be a good mother?”, “Are we ready for this?”.
Parenthood isn’t easy. And yes, you give up things you wish you hadn’t. But for me, that was only half the story of my life.
I stopped questioning my worth to the world.
That’s not to say I didn’t value myself before I had my daughter. This means that I now value myself in a new way – a completely different way. I stopped feeling like I had to prove something. In an instant, everything I was trying was undone.
For my female friends out there, I hesitate to even write this (much less bring it up first), for fear of sounding like I’m suggesting a woman’s only purpose is to bear children. No.
Here’s my take: I realize now that everything I’ve worked for in my adult life—independence, freedom, self-sufficiency, self-esteem—was a form of preparation. I practiced so I could teach my daughter these same things, how to be a strong woman.
The idea that yes, as a woman, my daughter can do whatever she wants and that it has value. As a mother, I will lead by example.
I stopped feeling insecure about my body.
As someone who spent nearly 10 years of her life in the throes of a severe eating disorder, this is another one I write with both relief and trepidation. But I remind myself that it’s just one way the world has tried to steal my self-esteem—along with the billions of other women who are told every day that the path to success and happiness is through a number on the scale or the picture they see in the mirror.
So who would have thought that having a child would lead to me feeling like the strongest, sexiest, most beautiful and most productive person I’ve ever met in my life? I love my juicy curves. I have won every single one of them. The extra 15 pounds I carry is a plush layer of confidence. I eat to nourish myself and to produce food for my child. It’s a revolutionary feeling. I’m glad I’m finally getting pleasure, but I’m sorry it took 32 years to figure out.
What are all the things I stopped doing teaching me?
That I created a new space in my life. Space to fit a small creature and to fulfill my dreams. Yes, you read that right. To fulfill my dreams.
Since having a child, I’ve focused on the work I really want and love to do. I don’t have time to deal with the things that used to hold me back. That little smile has ignited a purpose and drive in me that I never would have experienced and that I never thought existed. I want to be an example for her. I want her to be proud of me and learn to be proud of herself.
I have gained creative inspiration. I see the world differently since I stood next to her. I wonder, like a child, with my child.
I now fully recognize and understand my parents’ love. I thank them every day for everything they have given me and for the way they have raised me and stood and stand by me.
mother.ly free translation