If you’re a mom – you know. If you’re on your way to becoming one – you’ll get to experience it soon. If you have no interest in motherhood – that’s cool too. If you haven’t got to experience it yet but desperately want to – I’m sending you baby dust and love, support, and all the positive vibes I can muster.
This isn’t your typical post about the joys of motherhood. I love being a mom more than anything, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not writing this post to just talk about motherhood and how beautiful it is.
This post is actually about me – and how I’ve changed since I became a mother. And not just in regards to being a mother – because that’s not all that I am. I’m so much more than just my mom role – I am me still. Being a mom is a part of who I am now, but it is not everything I am.
Before I had Maggie, even while I was pregnant, my life continued on very much the same as before. I just got accepted to a Master’s program around the same time I found out I was pregnant but I was still so excited. I love school and I am always thirsty for more education and knowledge. I love learning, researching, expanding my options, and applying myself. I figured – I’m pregnant, I can definitely still do school. And I was right – I got an A- in my first semester of my program and I wrote an excellent final paper while I was about 33 weeks pregnant to secure that grade. I was proud of myself and my achievements – definitely a very “I am woman, hear me roar!” moment for me.
I had Maggie on January 8th and my semester started the same week. I cried a lot because, postpartum emotions and well, a little bit of stress. I quickly figured out that with a newborn this would be more challenging, and I was actually doing well in my course, but to support my mental health and give myself the free time I craved with both my baby and my husband, I decided to go on maternity leave for a year from the program with my intended return date being this coming January 2021.
I have been enjoying every moment since that decision with my baby. I am fortunate enough to live in Canada and get a long 12-month maternity leave (or you can opt for 18 even!). I wanted to enjoy every moment and even though the pandemic put a bit of a damper on that, I still have made the best of each day I get to spend with my kid. I know not everyone gets this, so I made sure I was thankful for it – even on the harder or longer days.
Over that time I did a lot of thinking. I started this blog and I’ve loved adding to it, promoting it, expanding it so much. I never expected to enjoy writing or creating content as much as I do – but I’ve actually become passionate about it.
I get a lot of sweet feedback from many of my readers saying “thank you for sharing this because I didn’t know that” or “you posted this at such a perfect time because I’m about to – give birth, take my kid for vaccines, start my pregnancy journey-“ or whatever it may be. I have received a surprising number of messages and I’m just so happy to be able to help ANY moms or parents out, even if it’s just by providing very basic information in an easy to read format. Even some of my opinion posts, like the one about getting rid of the term natural birth, have gotten a lot of views, likes, retweets and attention and I just want to say to you all – thank you.
Thank you for helping me realize what I’m truly passionate about and the direction I want to go. I am still passionate about learning, education, teaching, and nursing – these are all a part of my life. However I have, up to this point, been really undecided about what I want to do with those things. How I want to use my interest in those things to build or help build a better healthcare system.
This blog (and all the people who read it, help promote it, collaborate with me and so on), my baby, and my family (my husband especially) – as well as my profession, have all helped me have this eureka moment, if you will.
I want to help women and their families where and when they need it most. There is a lot of great support out there for women, but there is also a lot missing. Through my polls and questions on Twitter (as well as my own experiences), I’ve learned that there are many topics about women’s health that are not covered that should be.
Prenatal education in many areas, needs to be more open, accepting, and supportive of different pathways and choices. It needs to provide more education about the “imperfect” birth (meaning, a birth that doesn’t follow a ‘plan’ or go exactly as expected) – which frankly, is most birth experiences. People want to learn more about C-sections – even if they seem like a good candidate for a vaginal birth, because you never know what will happen. Induction methods, experiences and related education needs to be a bigger focal point – because again, anything can happen or change in birth.
Birth receives a lot of attention, but there is still a big focus on ‘one’ way to do it. Midwives are making a huge difference here and I want to support that. That’s why I’m doing my podcast – to make people aware of the options that are out there, the things that can happen, and how different birth is for everyone. To encourage exploration and conversations with providers. You don’t need a birth plan, but there’s nothing wrong with having goals or a wish list and seeing which ones are within your grasp (but also being realistic about the fact that things can change).
And finally, postpartum. So many people mentioned to me that there was a lack of education and understanding around how difficult or challenging postpartum can be. How much support is needed. The emotions. The lack of sleep. How challenging breastfeeding can be, or how much judgment is passed on those who formula feed – both situations creating unnecessary ‘mom guilt’. That it’s okay to feel like it’s hard, but that there are supports out there to help you too (but we need more).
I want to help. This blog and my podcast – they’re one way I hope to help. I feel like I am helping some people. I’m getting information out there, people are looking at it or listening to it or watching it. I know we need more, and my goal now is to be able to provide more support as a nurse.
I’ve decided to start working on my clinical hours for the IBCLC exam. I’m going to start my lactation specific education too. This was an easy but simultaneously difficult decision for me to make. I always wanted to do an MSN but right now – it isn’t what I want or need. I want time with my baby, but I still want to be passionate about my job and my path.
Being a mom and trying to help other moms through this blog has helped me find what is good for me right now, what I am passionate about, and has given me a direction to head in that I feel happy with. I initially felt like a failure – about not returning to my program. Maybe it will be in the cards for me again in the future, when my baby (babies) are older and more independent. When I have more time to dedicate to it and give my 100% attention to the work.
But sometimes life calls you in a new direction and if it feels right, I think I’ve learned over my 28 years of life so far, that you have to go for it.
I’m not a failure – I’m just on a new path. I’m a new me in many ways – whether I wanted it to be that way or not. Motherhood and parenting do change you, not entirely, but they may change your goals, your priorities and where you need to focus your attention.
I want to help moms and families with breastfeeding – but I also want to offer more. Stay tuned because I’m working on some stuff. I see the gap in prenatal and postpartum support and I want to expand my knowledge so I can help provide moms (and families) with the support and education they need at some of the most exciting, important, and life-changing moments.
Moral of the story is – don’t be surprised if becoming a parent makes you see or ‘develop’ a new part of yourself. It may and it may not – for me it certainly did. Embrace it if you can. Make it work in your favour. If you feel the call of something new, don’t be afraid to go to it if it’s within your means. You’re not a failure for leaving or letting go of something that no longer serves you. It also doesn’t mean it can’t eventually be a part of your world again – when and if it works.
Change can be good – even if it’s big. It’s scary, but it can be good.
Thanks for reading, as always!