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Shedding my old skin to become a mom

“Am I already a bad mom?” I asked my husband.

Eddie looked at me like I was crazy. “Persephone isn’t even born yet, and you’re already worrying about being a bad mom?”.

Hearing the words reflected back at me, for just a moment, the thought seemed far-fetched, but the numerous layers of emotions of becoming a new mom in only three months grounded me in guilt and shame. I couldn’t stop thinking, “I haven’t done enough”, “I’m not prepared enough”, “I haven’t read one single baby book.”, “I’m not on track to being a good mom.”

Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve struggled with my identity. I’ve always liked being free to do what I want when I want. Carrying and growing life for 9 months is an incredible honor, but that’s not to say pregnancy doesn’t come with limitations and restrictions.

Small details about myself have had to be sacrificed during this time in order for my daughter to grow healthy (and hopefully happily). Pregnancy has been a long commitment to putting my wants and needs as an individual on pause. Whenever I tried to share my feelings with other women, I would get two reactions: “Growing life is the greatest honor in the world. Not every woman is lucky enough to do so. Stop complaining and be grateful for the gift of fertility.” or “It’s only temporary. Enjoy it now because it only gets harder from here!”.

I’ve felt very alone in my journey, as my fellow sisters, told me I was being too sensitive and overthinking my feelings. What was worse is that women told me to avoid my negative emotions. “Whatever your feeling, the baby is feeling. Lock it up tight and be happy for her sake.”

I sat back, battling through my tears, making a mental list of all the things, that made me happy as an individual, that I’ve had to put aside throughout pregnancy:

-I can’t eat sushi, oysters, or rare steaks (all of my favorites).

-I can’t have a glass of wine while cooking dinner watching ‘Beat Bobby Flay‘.

-I can’t lift heavy weights in the gym or do any core work.

-I can’t scream, cry or get too emotional because it can affect Persephone’s development.

-I can’t wear crop tops or high waisted jeans (let’s be honest, maternity clothes are not flattering on anyone.)

-I can’t sleep on my back or belly.

-I can’t take melatonin tablets to help me sleep soundly.

-I can’t drink herbal teas/herbal vitamins (most herbs that I take are ayurvedic and are linked to miscarriage if taken while pregnant.)

These are all layers of myself that make me, ME. They make me happy and support living a joyful wholehearted lifestyle. While I know after pregnancy I can return to these indulgences, I know my engagement with these activities will never be the same.

No matter which angle I look at, I will never be the same person I was once Persephone is born. Apart of me wants to mourn and grieve the woman I was before becoming pregnant. The woman who was free to do what she wanted when she wanted and how she wanted. As I laid in bed tossing and turning thinking about this, my higher self gifted me with an encouraging compassionate mindset to reflect upon: I will never be that person again and that’s okay.

Shedding your skin is a natural part of transformation and growth and while I have loved that part of myself deeply, I will fall in love with the new skin I am developing too-with time. It feels scary and challenging now because I haven’t met this future me yet. Uncertainty about the future feels crippling for sure, but the blessed thing about the future is that it doesn’t happen all at once.

Worrying about the future takes less time than it takes for things to actually happen. It comes in small manageable chunks each day. I trust the strong relationship I have created with myself throughout my self-love journey, to hold my own hand as we navigate this new pathway together. I have the old skin that I am shedding to thank for this. That version of myself put in hard work, commitment and dedication to create the relationship with myself that I have today. I will be eternally grateful for all that she did.

But she has served her purpose and prepared me to take on this new chapter. While this new skin that I am developing will take time to adjust to, I know I will love her too. I know this new skin has amazing moments in store for me, moments that if I cling to the woman who is free to do whatever whenever she wants, wouldn’t be capable of supporting me through.

That’s why we shed our skins, these versions of ourselves. They serve their purpose, giving us a comfortable home to call our own, but as we grow, we can’t take every part of our skin with us as we embark on new chapters. Past versions of ourselves are naturally blended and intertwined with our new skin, but when compared, our new skin and old skin will never be apples to apples.

Surrendering to this self-loving mindset has empowered me to embrace my third trimester and my new journey into motherhood.

If it hadn’t been for the deep, fierce and committed love I have for myself, I don’t know how I would have navigated through these tough emotions. If there is anything you take away from this vulnerable reflection, I hope it will be that our self-love journeys are ever evolving.

Everyone’s journey is different. The skin that you have on now might last you a year, 5 years or more. Becoming self-aware of when you are shedding skin, developing a new layer of self-growth, and compassionately supporting yourself through that shedding process, will guide you through every chapter of life.

I’m so excited to share my journey with you as I fall in love with this new layer of myself. I know it will be different than anything I’ve experienced before, but now I can confidently say I am okay with letting go of that version of myself and embracing this new one wholeheartedly.

Xoxo,

Elena

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