On Becoming A Mom
Where to begin? Honestly, just writing the title of this post made me emotional. A lot of things make me emotional these days, maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s the state of the world, maybe it’s motherhood, probably all of it. I’ve put off sharing this post for a while because quite frankly, how do I even put this into words? Here’s my best shot…
On Becoming A Mom
So, let’s try this again, where to begin…let’s start here. I remember someone asking when I told them I was pregnant if I was going to delete that post. Why would I do that? I still stand by that blog post and I am proud of it. I think it’s important that we recognize there is no one right way to do life. At the same time, life throws you curveballs, then what? Well, I always said I didn’t want to have a child until I was ready, until I felt the urge.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was not ready, and I did not have the urge. I was, to put it politely, scared shitless. I don’t really know what switch went off in my brain or what changed, other than when I told Craig I was pregnant and I saw his reaction, I knew there was no turning back.
Pregnancy was hard for me. To be more blunt, it was AWFUL.
I probably sound like a broken record, but hyperemesis almost broke me. Truly. Watch Amy Schumer’s new doc Expecting Amy if you want to get a glimpse of what it’s like. Physically I was a mess, but it also took a huge toll on my mental and emotional health. There’s a lot of things you’re “allowed to be” when you’re pregnant, but miserable is not really one of them. The general expectation that you should be so excited and so happy to be pregnant ate away at me. I did feel lucky and grateful, but I also despised almost every second of being pregnant, and that scared me.
We were sitting at dinner with friends (remember when we used to do that?!) about a month before my due date and I remember asking them (parents of two kids under 3), “what if I don’t love my baby?” They sort of chuckled and replied with something like, “trust me, you will.” I wasn’t all that reassured.
It was hard for me to feel the connection that it seemed like every other pregnant woman talked about. Of course I had moments of excitement but a lot of the time I was just faking it for the sake of everyone else (when people ask how excited you are to be having a baby, no one wants to hear you reply with “I don’t know”). Generally speaking, pregnancy left me feeling guilty and stressed that I wouldn’t be a good mom or worse, I wouldn’t enjoy it.
Six months in to being a mom, here’s what I can say…
I remember not wanting to lose myself, being afraid that becoming a mom would change me. It HAS changed me, in the best ways. I remember not wanting my life to change and being afraid of how becoming parents would impact our relationship. Our life HAS changed. Our relationship has never been stronger. When I first held Marin in my arms, the bond between us was unbreakable. Somehow, my love grows deeper for her everyday. I didn’t know my life could get any better. I thought it was perfect just the way it was.
Becoming a mom changed me in ways so profound there are no words to describe it. There was no “aha moment” when I felt ready to become a mom. It’s a journey that has unfolded in the most beautiful and surprising ways over these last 6 months. It can be hard, but I can say with 1000% certainty it is worth it. Becoming a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done, truth be told, I never expected that.
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Thank you for this! Maybe its my own fault for not diversifying my Instagram feed, but it seems like every woman I follow has always known they wanted to be a mom. Everyone seems so eager to have kids and once they do have them, so eager to share about how wonderful motherhood is. Add to that the general societal pressure on women to have children, and no matter how many steps we make in gender equality, I still carry this internalized shame or embarrassment from not really wanting kids and yet having my value as a woman be connected to whether I become a wife and mother. So yes, I resonate with your journey so much. I need to hear more stories like this.
I think some of it is just how we have these conversations. Pretty much all of what I heard about motherhood was from people who always knew they wanted to be a mom. So I found myself wondering why I didn’t have that feeling. I think it’s actually quite common just not as openly discussed. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed about, whether you want to or not, and whether you do have kids or not. Everyone’s life, circumstances, passions, priorities are different, there’s so many ways to go about having a fulfilling life. I’m glad I got the surprise I didn’t know I wanted. xx
I am both touched and yet not really surprised that the end would be like this for you and your precious Marin Rose. Yet, there were days that I really worried about you being so sick and so fearful about what was to come . I held my breath until that day Caylin posted Marin was here and then finally a much awaited baby picture. I laughed and cried no less than if you were my own daughter . I’m so happy to see your beautiful pictures and for you to share all of your birth struggles and your happy success stories . Life is always a surprise and this is indeed a very good one! The best one ever! Love you Jess ❤️
Thank you so much Lynn. Always appreciate your love and support. xx
I’m so glad you wrote this post. While not exactly similar, both of my pregnancies were not the joy-filled-instagram-balloon-popping experiences. In fact, I found myself jealous that I was denied that. And then guilty that I felt jealous.
Thanks Kim. I’m really sorry you had that experience. I know you’re not alone in that. xx Jess
Excuse me while I wipe the tears from my eyes…
Okay, now that that’s done, I want to say how happy this post makes me; to hear that you are so happy is the sweetest thing to read. It’s crazy how these little people can make our lives feel so FULL. Thanks for being an encouragement that we don’t have to give up everything we love or that makes us “us” when we have a baby. That’s been my experience too and it’s so wonderful. And I’ll tell you, just wait until we are able to travel again. Bringing a baby to explore new places is the absolute best thing ever. I know my son will never remember all the trips we took last year, but I will and I’ll treasure those memories.
That’s so sweet. Thank you Mary-Katherine. I can’t wait to take Marin to new places. For now, we are enjoying our kiddie pool in the backyard, haha! All the best. xx Jess
This is so beautifully written. Wishing you all the best for you and your family!
Thank you so much Sabrina xx
Thank you so much for this post Jess, your honesty is everything. I was afraid of losing my identity becoming a mom – I saw so many images of social media that convinced me I’d completely change my likes dislikes and priorities. Well, 4 months into being a mom, my priorities have changed a bit, but I am happy with those changes. And I still exist, the me full of unique interests and passions and curiosity – all of that is still very much there, I’ve just augmented my interests a bit to fully encompass my little girl and her interests. But I’m still me. I define myself, and I decide how much of my identity is tied to my baby and how much is independent of my baby. That is so important to me, that each woman defines that for herself and no one defines that balance for her. Thank you again Jess for provoking such important and thoughtful conversations, your unique perspective on motherhood, social justice and environmental consciousness is why I love your blog so much <3
Thank you so much Alex. You put that so beautifully. Congratulations on becoming a mom. I’m so happy for you.