The Mental Journey to Motherhood

panama hat

I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but I never felt like it was my sole purpose in life.

After Seth and I got married in 2012, I knew I wasn’t ready (I was 23 and he was 22) but the questions inevitably popped up. I thought about my mom, a total force of nature that raised five kids with extras always around. She was a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled us growing up. She gave us everything. My younger sister, Emily, has the same motherly instincts and nurturing personality as her. They’re both thoughtful, giving, and always take care of other people.

I was always more achievement oriented. I wanted to create. I learned pretty quickly to say no and to prioritize my own inner peace and wellbeing over obliging others. I’ve always been very focused on bettering myself, which is why I’m so passionate about spirituality and personal development and growth. My focus has always been more on myself than on others.

A recent conversation with my friend Victoria brought up the notion that creative people tend to be more selfish. Based on my personal experience, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always described myself as selfish, especially compared with people like my mom and sister. It isn’t always necessarily in a bad way that means I’m not concerned with the well-being of others. It’s more that I just want to do what I want to do. I’m happy to help and serve others when it feels aligned and like the right thing to do, I just don’t like feeling obligated to do things when it’s going to cost me time and energy I’m not willing to spare. In order to create the things I want to create and do the work I do, it often means having a strong focus on myself, my inner workings, and my highest truth.

Knowing these selfish tendencies of mine, it caused me to 1) wonder if it would still allow me to be a good mom, and 2) worry that I’d lose my identity as an individual.

When I really looked at myself, I realized that despite having a creative side that caused me to be very self-focused at times, I did have a nurturing side as well, it just didn’t necessarily look like my mom or sister. I was surrounded by children and babies into my teens, I taught 2-12 year olds how to ice skate, and I was a nanny for years. I may not be a whiz in the kitchen or as naturally nurturing as some personality-wise, but I’ve always been good with kids. I take care of my dog like she’s a princess. I know our baby will have us learning left and right, but I trust that my instincts and my intuition will help me be a loving mother.

I now realize that motherhood looks different for everyone. Some people feel that it’s their purpose in life to have children and be mom, others don’t feel the pull to have children, and people like me see it as part of their purpose, but not necessarily their whole purpose. One way of mothering isn’t necessarily better than another, it’s just a matter of finding what works for you and honoring that.

A friend recently asked what made me feel ready to finally start a family. As I mentioned, one of the things I feared was losing my identity. Before, I wasn’t ready to let go of the time I had to myself, of creating, of my sleep, or of who I was as an individual. But the thing is, I’m still not ready to let go of those things. I just had a mindset shift. I realized that on the one hand, I’ll probably never feel ready to give up those things. I won’t ever want to not get sleep. And on the other hand, I don’t have to (except probably for the sleep part).

Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to witness amazing creative women balance being mothers with being creative business owners all while still maintaining a strong sense a self. One of the biggest blessings of my life has been becoming friends with Carlie Statsky. It really wasn’t until I was able to watch the way she lived, ran her business, and parented that I became ready to be a parent myself. I realized that she is the kind of mom I want to be and that being a mom while still being an individual is possible. In fact, I’d say it probably makes you a better mother.

Knowing that I didn’t have to lose myself made the thought of starting a family easier for me. Seth being in the fire service also meant that for the first time, we were surrounded by families, couples who just had a baby, or couples who were expecting a baby. Witnessing them made me want that for ourselves.

I wouldn’t say I felt ready. It was more of an acceptance that I’ll never feel ready or fully prepared, but that starting a family was something Seth and I both really wanted and were now willing to make sacrifices for.

I don’t want to be exhausted. I don’t want most things to be harder. I don’t want to stop working. I don’t want my body to change. But I do want to know what’s it’s like to love my own child. I want to feel our baby kick (which I just started to!). I want to watch Seth be a dad. I want to watch our child be loved and adored by our families and friends. I want to grow our own family. I want to see the world through the eyes of a child again. I want to learn from my kids.

Here’s the thing. The things I want, I now want far more than the things I don’t want. Being a mother will be my most important role in life, I just don’t want it to be my only role.

I know the beginning will be tough and will be a huge adjustment, which is why I have no expectations for the first few months. But I hope to simply grow into a better, fuller version of my current self. One that includes my love of style, my need for creative expression, my passion for personal and spiritual growth, my inclinations towards good design and curated spaces, all along with my ability to be a loving mother and good role model.

I’m more excited than I’ve ever been for this. I know our world is going to be turned upside down, but I also know there will be nothing better we’ve ever done.