I've never met this woman but I read her blog everyday. In a lot of ways, she and I are very different but there is something about the way that she writes that I connect with and today was no different. Today over on Blue Eyed Bride, Erin wrote about "The Evolution of a Mom."
Read it and come back.
Okay, you back with me now?!
Erin expressed so many things that I think every mother struggles with...especially for those of us who become mothers a little bit later in life. Yes. I know that 28 isn't exactly LATE in life, but I definitely had a career and entire lifestyle established long before I brought a little person into this world.
I think the whole concept of "who am I now" was the root of all my struggles with PPD after Natalie was born...and although I'm in a much better place now that I've gone back to work full time, I still have my identity crisis moments.
Before Natalie (and really, before I was ever pregnant) I was able to focus my time, energy and entire being to coaching volleyball and although I've written this before I will reiterate it - when Craig brought Natalie up to the volleyball game the other night, my heart was ripped in two. Half of it was on the court and in the game with the girls but the other half jumped clear across the gym and into the stands, wanting nothing more than to forget the game and go home to cuddle and play with my baby girl.
The last six months have really challenged my sense of purpose in this world and forced me to redefine how I value myself and my success. It's no secret that I like check things off and get high from finishing up a lengthy "to do" list. Graduated high school with honors....check. Graduated college with honors....check. Career straight out of college....check. Bought first car and rented apartment on my own....check. And although I can check "get married and start a family" off my list because I have physically done both of those things, there really aren't any clear parameters by which to measure how well I do both of those things.
And yes, I am aware that I am totally rambling and probably not coherent in any manner but please bear with me as there will most likely be some sort of majorly thoughtful conclusion at some point in time. But in the meantime - welcome to the slightly chaotic and sometimes out of control mind of a PPD woman. :)
I guess what my major point is - I used to be able to so clearly see my success and feel good about the work that I was doing in my life but with being a wife and a mother, it's a little bit hazier to really define "success."
And back to Erin's original point about evolving into motherhood - I have struggled with the feeling of being "selfish" if I tried to maintain any part of my former self instead of devoting my entire everything to being Natalie's mother. But I think of my own mother who, although I always knew that she loved me, I also knew that she wasn't just MY MOTHER but also a daughter, a wife, a friend, a sister, a youth minister and most importantly.....she was a woman with her own fears, desires, dreams, etc. She has set the example for me that I can be not only Natalie's mother, but a teacher and coach, a wife....and just Laura - a woman who loves to play volleyball, read books, and sometimes sings really loudly in the car by herself.
Over the summer I went to a 30th birthday celebration for my friend Shevawn and people were good naturedly joking with her about any "fears" regarding her leaving her twenties forever. I loved the response that Shevawn gave which was something along the lines of how she was looking forward to turning 30 because in her twenties she felt a lot of conflict about who she was (college student, wife, teacher, mother, etc.) but with the start of this new decade in her life, she felt more confident about who she is and her place in this world. I love that concept. I want to be in that place emotionally. I've been there before....a long time ago before Natalie was ever introduced into our lives and I know that I'll get there again.