As long as I can remember I had always heard the stories you will never be the same after becoming a mother. I would always nod in approval and give a sweet smile and walk away. I did this for years. Little did I know.
I will share my story.
Not because it is mine, but because I believe many mothers have shared it as well. Our stories might be different, but we all have a common thread of vulnerability when it comes to being a mother for the first time.
I believe many mothers have experienced the same emotions, yet their stories remain untold. Untold for many reasons. I hope my story gives some of you a voice, or maybe even some comfort in the middle of those long nights. I am truly writing this from my heart. You are not alone.
I will start from the beginning.
From the time I was a little girl I was taught what many of us are, to push hard, to never quit, and always follow your dreams. It was embedded in me, and it is what I did. It was the only thing I knew. I knew how to achieve, not because I was naturally talented, it was because I didn’t know how to stop.
The evolving glass ceiling continued to rise in my twenties while I worked in corporate America, and when I tired of that career, I decided to follow my family’s tradition and become an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. I pushed hard and made big goals and before I knew it I had reached my dream. I had a waiting list practice and I was on top of the world. Or so I thought.
I will never forget that day.
My delivery lasted several days. I was exhausted and when the final call was made, I had to have a C-section I remember asking my Doctor one question, “How will this affect me going back to work?” That was what I was worried about.
After being in labor for 72 hours that was my one question. He never answered. All I remember is somewhat of a bewildered look on his face. That one question will forever be embedded in my mind. That was the last time I spoke of my career in that way.
I had no idea what was about to happen.
No goal, no career, no achievement could have ever prepared me for the flood of emotions I was about to feel. From the second they put her in my arms I changed. Looking back, I know in my heart two souls where born that day. One was my beautiful daughter and the other was mine. Prior to holding her I honestly do not think I felt or have ever truly lived.
What happened next was a blur.
Yes, the late-night feedings and the sleepless nights, but there was something else that was different. Something had awakened inside of me, yet I had become lost. My entire foundation of who I thought I was had been shattered.
I had never loved anything like I loved my baby girl, yet I remember always crying. I had become lost in a sea of emotions, pulling inward trying to gather myself. I remember telling myself over and over you can do this, however I realized everything I had been taught could not be applied.th
Just going through the motions.
On the outside I was able to hold it together, but on the inside, I was falling apart, not because I felt my life was ending but because I felt it was just beginning. My two worlds had literally collided. I remember sitting in darkness many nights as I fed her. I stared into the blackness literally trying to get a glimpse of light.
Something that could give me a direction. I so desperately wanted something to hold onto. I was looking for answers on the outside, yet I knew in my heart I would only find them inside my soul, yet I feared I was not strong enough to go that deep.
The next two years I literally existed.
I did go back to work, but I was never the same. I was lost. Yet, on the outside everyone saw this Doctor who had it all together. I had an amazing family, a healthy newborn baby and my dream practice. If only they knew. I cried most mornings as I left home. As I would pull out of the driveway I would feel this horrible knot in my stomach.
It was like I was leaving a part of my soul behind. I cried. I would cry those silent hot tears. The ones that just stream down your face. Many mornings I was late to work because I was sitting in my car trying to gather myself. Those first two years I felt like I was almost having an out of body experience. It could have been from the pure exhaustion, but I believe in my soul it was deeper than that. My world was different. My perspective had changed.
I decided to get help.
I went to counseling. I went to marriage counseling. I contacted my colleagues. I searched. I asked. I begged and pleaded. Yet, their answers were all the same. “It will get better with time. Everyone goes through this.” It was even suggested I shorten my hours. So, I did. I condensed my hours, but not my work load. (I would not suggest this to anyone.) I pushed because it is what I was taught to do. It is what I knew. I did not know how to stop. I wanted so desperately to be present in both worlds, yet I was unable to sustain the momentum.
I tried with all my might until my health began to deteriorate. I had to have three surgeries in a little over a year, yet I still pushed. I remember one day when I looked at myself in the mirror I did not recognize who was looking back at me. I had become a stranger in my own skin. I felt like I had lost control. My life had become a revolving door that never stopped, and never slowed down.
My prayers were finally answered.
It took almost a year for everything to fall into place, but it did. Along the way I was blessed with a gift. As I was desperately seeking for help, I came across a coaching program that allowed me to step back and breath. During that time it gave me personal insight and the strength and courage to make a change. I ended up selling my practice and I walked away.
I walked away from the expectations, the demands, the pressures, the stress. I was both physically and mentally exhausted. I was in official burnout. It was hard because many of those around me did not understand and therefore did not support my decision, yet I knew what I had to do. I raised my white flag, not in defeat but because I wanted to live and find my health again and be present with the biggest blessing I have ever received. My baby girl. My family.
I am grateful.
I am writing this only six months after I finally walked away. I have had some time to reflect and I am looking forward to more. This is my story. This is my journey. Becoming a mother changed me. It changed every part of my being. I am thankful for my sweet daughter and because of her I chose to slow down. I chose to live. I chose to see, and I chose to feel. You made me human and I will forever be thankful.
I am thankful for my decision.
It was hard and it might not be the answer for everyone, but if you are reading this and you find yourself being in a similar situation I want you to know you are not alone. I encourage you to dig deep, ask for help, and be true to yourself.
This Post Has 3 Comments
I can SO relate to your heartfelt story. I also struggled with dividing myself from work and home. I had gone through a divorce and was a single mom for many years, so had no choice. When I remarried a man who was able and willing to support my desire to be home I took a leap of faith. For me it was my faith in God that truly gave me the courage. I have NEVER regretted it. There is something so sacred and precious about motherhood and home. We find so much of ourselves in these environments. I am sorry that this culture does not present true choices such as these for women. When you are forced to confront these conflicts in the deepest parts of yourself…I pray we can find the support we need to make very important decisions…for our families and our communities. Women are AMAZING life giving instruments that bare children as an extension of their own souls.
I am so glad you listened to your intuition and followed your heart. Yes, it is an interesting and hard journey when one finally comes to terms with what they are being called to do the resistance they tend to have from the external world. Many times not only from their profession, but also from those that are closest to them. I believe everyone’s journey is different and some are able to balance both and some of us are called elsewhere… Regardless, my hope is for those of us to speak up and share our stories in hope that others will find their voice and in return we will have a better support system for mothers within our society… Sending love and light…
Thank you Tasha for sharing your story. You have blessed my heart!