Being A Mom
Updated: Feb 23
By Dorthie Owens, Counseling Intern, Push Counseling and Coaching, Dallas, TX
Who am I?! When can I breathe again? When can I be the person I used to be? I want to be them, but I don’t want to be judged because of it. I love my child(ren), and also, I was so happy when it was just me. Is it even possible to find me again?
How many of you have had those thoughts pop in your brain once parenthood began?
When parenthood begins, sometimes it is easy to put ourselves on the backburner and forget that we are people too. Parenting begins and it becomes all about the child(ren) you now feel as if you must ensure become a “great citizen” and a wonderful human to society. As they grow up, you lose your sense of being because your going to recitals, games, races, birthday parties, family functions, etc…BUT OH WAIT?! We’re also in a global pandemic. How can you manage to even try to find the time to express yourself when you’re either at home working with kids, or being the best stay at home mom you know you can be, or going to work hoping that the ones you’ve entrusted with your sweet little angels are caring for them the way you would? It’s exhausting. It’s easy to lose your identity and forget the person that you are when your whole life has been encompassed with changing diapers, being spit-up on, kissing boo-boos, cooking, cleaning, tutoring, no sleep day in and day out.
When I become a mother, I realized I missed so much of myself when my son was born. I lost my sense of self. I had serious FOMO, and couldn’t understand what was happening in my life. I realized it was because I forgot about myself, and didn’t give myself the opportunity to “mourn” who I just lost. I had JUST gotten married, and realized I’d be spending my first anniversary with a newborn. After a hard pregnancy and a scary first few days, I just knew the life I knew before was over. Then BOOM, I had another. Now what do I do? I then had to remember, I’m more than a wife and mom. I’m a person, not a lean mean milking machine. I have feelings and emotions an allowed to feel things. So, what did I do? Well, the only thing I knew how to do. I cried. I coped with the fact that I couldn’t be me without kids. I moped, I complained, and then I realized the person I knew without kids was gone. I can’t go back to never being a mom again. So I made a few adjustments:
1. I started therapy. I needed someone to talk to. Someone who objectively could listen to my woes, my happiness, my sadness, etc…without me feeling like I was going to be told, “It’s going to be okay.” I definitely didn’t feel like it was, and I needed empathy more than my family wanted to give sympathy. My therapists gave me a lot of support and reminded me about my self-care.
2. Self-Care. I chose to unplug some days and others I meditated. When I stayed at home with my children, I went out on walks to get fresh air. I used the things that resonated with my 5 senses in order to remember the things I used to enjoy. I love the smell of fresh air, I love to eat chocolate, I love the feel of blankets, I love to see my kids play together, and I love to hear music. On bad days, I didn’t use these things as a crutch, but more so as assistance to get me through the day.
3. I expressed my emotions even when I felt uncomfortable. I used to always keep what I felt inside, because I didn’t think I deserved to have those emotions. I am a mom. I’m supposed to enjoy this. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t until I began exploring the feelings behind why I felt that way. I was suppressing my emotions which started to turn into resentment towards everyone who was able to. How is it so easy for them and not for me. Again, I had to remember I am a person too.
4. I made sure people checked on me before they checked on the babies. Sometimes people forget that you as a parent aren’t just that child’s parent. You again are a human being. When postpartum feelings come, such as anxiety or depressive moods, you want people to check in on you to make sure you’re okay. Allow people to remember you are also a person too.
5. Re-organize and prioritize. I readjusted my day. The things I used to do had to be done either in conjunction with something else, later in the day, or earlier in the day. While harder, the family is on a schedule. I scheduled time for myself to just be me.
6. Ask for help. I wasn’t one to do so, but it is pertinent. It’s not all on you to wear all the hats all day. Use the village you have, and if you don’t have one, reach out. Try Facebook groups, mama communities, going to the park. Of course, do these things with the comfort level you have with yourself and with COVID, but give yourself the opportunity to get a little outside your box.
All of these things are easier said then done, but you have to give yourself the opportunity to remember you are a person. You are important. You and your feelings are just as significant as anyone else’s. Love yourself, mourn the person who used to be, and breathe. It’s okay to feel these feelings. It’s not okay to suppress them. You’ll be like a coke bottle that’s been shaken. Don’t wait until you’re too overwhelmed to seek support.
If you feel like you need to speak with someone, take that first step and reach out. It can be scary and awkward. It can feel overwhelming at times. However, if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to breathe, your body will do it for you. You matter!
About the Author
Dorthie Owens is a Counseling Intern at Push Counseling and Coaching in Dallas, TX. As a therapist, I want to support clients who seem discouraged in their journey in life and assist them in finding that sense of belonging in the world. She has a passion for helping mothers find a sense of balance and a true meaning of wellness. I aim to collaborate with clients and walk beside them during their journey. Dorthie loves to remind herself and clients that, “you are the best momma for your baby, and there’s no one else on the planet who is a better mom for them but you”.