Showing posts with label Identity and Motherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Identity and Motherhood. Show all posts

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lost and Found: On Becoming A Mother

I have read more than enough articles in parenting magazines that have dealt with the topic of women feeling like they've 'lost their identity' when they became mothers.  I know I've overheard mothers say: "I feel like I lost a part of myself after motherhood" or  "I just don't know who I am or remember who I used to be". 

I never gave much thought to this identity crisis...I never really cared to, to be honest.  I could never relate...I was hardly a person of my own when I became pregnant.  No, 25 isn't that young, but really, I had experienced little of life, was newly married and never really had some big fancy career.  Heck, I hadn't even figured out WHAT career I wanted to have when I started barfing my guts up.

That's exactly when my white flag of surrender went up to this thing called motherhood.  You could say I was surrounded by enemies on all sides and didn't know what hit me.  An innocent (obviously not that innocent) bystander in life and one moment I looked up and had an army of soldiers (otherwise known as hormones) holding me at gunpoint.  Surrender or else...or else die of puking?  Yes.  That's what I did. Threw up (in more ways than one) that white flag.  My life changed so quickly and really my body felt like it was under attack.  I could hardly lift my head, let alone arrange a defense.  And so there goes my fight to keep life as I knew it...Sarah as I knew her.  I was gone before I knew what hit me....before I really became me.

And that was a blessing in disguise I think.  Oh, maybe some drawbacks to it, but none I ever knew about.  When they put that little guy in my arms I had already surrendered.  Another battle...this one more heated, had me raising that white flag again, with every muscle in my body aching from the aftermath of the battle.   I had already, in way, been forced to be open to whatever this new life brought me.

When I thought back to those years before becoming "mother", when I was just ME, I try to imagine what could be missing now, 15 years later.  I try to relate when other women say they struggle with feeling they lost a part of themselves.  I look back and think, what part of myself did I lose?  Who was I before that? 

When I turn around and look, I see along the years, that indeed, I did "lose" myself.  If I look back on the journey, along the way I can see parts of myself have dropped off.  Mostly I didn't notice, sometimes I fought against it, sometimes I threw those parts off with joy.  Parts that I needed to lose, parts that I can't imagine wanting to hang on to.  Each child has forced me to let something go that was part of who I was at that time.

I see a rockslide of losses, and they read like a Paris Hilton biography.  I wasn't a spoiled rich brat by any means...I was just ME.  Like I said...I took care of ME.  That's only one person...and I had my best interest in mind.  I was in charge of myself, and myself only.  I had not a care in the world...because really a job, bills, and any other responsibility is nothing compared to being responsible for another human being's life.

Maybe there is some nostaligia there...some innocence lost along the way.  But I shudder to think at the alternative.  To NOT lose, to NOT surrender, parts of myself.  To still be the same person I was...to not replace those aspects of myself with something bigger, to not gain something so much greater.  To put up a fight to remain who I was 16 years ago...so much energy wasted, how could have I anything left over to be a good mother?

My children and I...we each gave each other gifts in the end....I gave away pieces of me to be their mother, and in return recieved a gift from those who made me mom...a new identity, a better self.  They continue to do that and will, I imagine, forever.