hallway conversation

24 May

I had a great conversation today with a gal that I used to see every Sunday when I worked for the church. We don’t know each other too well, but she is so sweet and a pleasure to talk to when I see her.

Today she confirmed some thoughts I’ve been having.

And made me feel like I wasn’t so alone.

Her story is somewhat similar to mine- she’s ahead of me in that her kids are a little bit older than Cruz- but she was married for 5 years before they had kids, she started having children a little bit later in her twenties, and she worked all of her adult life leading up to then.

That’s me. I have worked since high school- sometimes multiple jobs at a time. I’m very much a go-getter. I’m independent, self-motivating, a hard worker and love doing things on my own.

I have lived all my life doing things for myself. Sound selfish? Probably. But you know you’ve been there too.

I got married and honestly, marriage is hard work, but it wasn’t a hard adjustment at first really. We figured each other out and have been happy ever since. 5 years of just us two is a good amount of time to get comfortable with it just being the two of us.

Having a baby has enhanced our lives in more ways than I can count. Cruz is the biggest blessing- I’ve always wanted to be a mom and we couldn’t have asked for a better baby than him. He’s an easy baby too- so happy and so easy.

Being a mom’s hard sometimes, but Cruz is a pretty easy going kid.

But I’ve struggled with some aspects of  ‘mommyhood’ and I haven’t been able to put my finger on why, really. I mean, I know it’s hard and everyone struggles. But there’s been a part of it that I’ve been fighting and I haven’t been able to figure it out.

It’s because having a baby has completely changed my life. It’s completely changed me. How could it not? You’d have to be pretty naive to think that you are going to be the same person you are now, after you have a baby. I think it’s not possible.

I’ve just grown so much in the past 7 months- my whole entire world has changed. I wouldn’t change anything- except being exhausted ha! I really do love it, but I never expected to ‘grieve’, somewhat, the life of independence I’ve left behind. To adjust my entire world around this little being who has to depend on me and Jason for everything. I am learning new things about myself everyday- new emotions were born inside me through this process.

Even the way I view certain friendships is different. That’s been the hardest of them all. Adjusting to how people view me now and working through those insecurities. Trying not to be the stereo typical “high strung” mom in some’s eyes- when I’ve come to realize that if you view me as high strung, you don’t know me at all.

I’ve grown and I’ve changed. I’m thankful for the change because I feel like I am becoming the best part of me possible. Cruz is bringing that out in me and I’m constantly learning new things about myself- which is scary because pre-baby I thought I knew myself pretty well!

It’s been a place of discouragement to me- to feel like people don’t understand me. To know that some people talk about me and how I’ve been stressed. I’ve just  been really discouraged.

Until today. Today I no longer feel alone.

My dear friend in the hallway helped me to realize that I am not the only mom that has ‘changed’ since having a baby. She even helped me to realize the every woman changes after having a child. Every woman thinks they will be the same afterwards.

How can you be? Your life is changed forever. Your eyes are opened to more things that you ever thought possible. And you view the world differently that you ever thought you could. You can’t be the same.

I bet she never thought that she would comfort me the way she did today. I bet she never realized how God would use her to remind me that I’m OK. It’s OK to grow and change- even if people don’t understand. It’s OK to be different after going through a major life experience. It’s OK to surrender to it and enjoy the ride and the growth.

So I’m going with it. I’m sure some people still won’t understand. I’m focusing on surrounding myself with people who ‘get it’.

And I’m happy to say, that what you see is what you get.

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6 Responses to “hallway conversation”

  1. Rachel Allen May 25, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty as you blog about your mommy-hood experiences and discoveries, both about Cruz and yourself. I, too, did not even think about how much having a baby would change me. You know it will change your lifestyle and your day to day tasks, but no one really talks about how it affects you as a person. As you know, Tim and I had Jack way before we were planning on expanding our family. Of course we wouldn’t change it for the world now but jumping into motherhood way before I had even figured out what life looked like on my own and as a wife definitely took it’s toll. I went through some normal post-pardom feelings and then some of what I believe to be some mild personal depression. I’m really just now realizing that’s what that was. Thank goodness for a supportive husband, great friends and an unfailing God to help pull me through and to stay alongside me as I continue to grow and heal. I admire the fact that you’ve been able to recognize at least some of the impact Cruz has had on you as early as you have. That shows a lot of wisdom. I’m glad that you were able to connect with someone on this very issue. What a God moment. Cruz is a lucky guy to have such a fun, loving family. Thanks again for your openness.

    • jesswilliams May 26, 2009 at 8:36 am #

      Wow thanks so much Rachel! I had no idea that you went through that! The more I talk to people the more I realize I’m not by myself in this, so I really appreciate you sharing a part of your story with me. It’s so hard to handle the changes. Especially since I’m sure I look crazy sometimes to Jason lol. The guys get so used to their wives being one way and then baby comes- and everything changes. So you have to adjust to being mommy AND navigate your marriage again. It’s a lot of work… I’m with ya in that girl! Thanks so much for sharing! We need to get together with you three again soon- so let’s plan that! 🙂 Love ya!

  2. susan May 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    Jess, this post brought tears to my eyes. You articulated so beautifully how I have been feeling for some time now. I believe that after my menstrual cycle started again (5 months) I experienced some post-partum depression, but all along, I have mourned my former life, my pre-baby life when my husband and I had the freedom to do whatever we wanted.

    I am an independent, spontaneous person to begin with, and anything that is structured and repetitous stifles me, and if there is anything that requires structure and repetition, it is certainly motherhood.

    The very concept of motherhood itself is one giant paradox: you love your child more than anything and yet you feel resentful of all the responsibilities. I feel that as a mother you burden yourself with the weight of parenting, more so than the father. He goes to work, and gets to hold onto a big aspect of his former life. You, on the other hand, feel left behind, abandoned in a way, and you resent that too.

    My husband says that I get to eyewitness all of our son’s milestones, the wonderful things he will inevitably miss out on: the first crawl, the first word, etc. But the truth is that along with those milestones, we are in the trenches, day in and day out, and there is no day off for us. Not a lazy Sunday to read the NY times at our leisure, the ability to sleep in and get up when we want to, and forget about scheduling a date with our friends because we can’t plan that far in advance. And speaking of friends, you do get paranoid that your friends who do not have children or do not follow Babywise will think you’re out of your mind, that you are stuck on this “schedule”, that all you do is talk about baby-related things, and that you are not the person you once were.

    I agree with Jess: this is a new me, and take me as I am. I’m doing the best that I can.

    • jesswilliams May 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

      It know it’s so hard!! I agree- I’m sure my friends are so tired of me always talking about Cruz’s schedule and nursing etc etc etc. I’ve just realized that a lot has changed for me- even some of the friends that I have. It’s a hard transition and it’s different for every woman. I’m sure you are doing awesome- just know that you are not alone!! The feelings that you have are totally normal… Once I realized that and embraced it, things have been easier for me- at least in my mind set. Hang in there! I know how you feel!!

  3. susan May 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. I think most new mom’s feel this way, but they keep these feelings bottled up, afraid to admit it to others and to themselves. Doing so, I believe, forces them to admit that they do not love every aspect of motherhood, and they perceive that as being selfish and abnormal when in truth it is very much normal.

    I don’t pretend to be a perfect mother, and I certainly don’t pretend to love every aspect of being a mother, especially the nursing, the worries, and the unpredictable nature of things. But all I can do is pray and have faith that God will be there for me every step of the way, that he will give me guidance and arm me with the motherly intuition to do what is best for my son. All I can do is take it one day at a time, because thinking beyond that is too stressful.

    • jesswilliams May 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

      Well said! I completely agree!!

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