My heart breaks when I see photos of us like this. The ‘before’. Then I remember how easy it is to only remember the good bits.
Before I had a mental break I was the most stressed I’d ever been in my whole life and my nervous system was almost completely uninhabitable.
I hadn’t slept for nearly a year, I was trying to work and mother nearly full time and I was crumbling.
I gave you every last drop of me. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
At my most exhausted and my most stressed, we came down with two illnesses in a row (including our first Covid) and then you got really poorly from your jabs. I fed you constantly day and night to keep your fevers down and calm your emotions.
Then on your first birthday, I relived postnatal trauma I didn't know I had from the week you were born. Then I relived my own childhood traumas. Then you finally slept for 5 hours at a time for the first time ever but I had forgotten how to go to sleep without feeding. Funny that we talk of babies needing to be fed to sleep yet forget that the hormones are how we as mothers get back to sleep so easily too.
All in all a perfect storm.
I completely lost myself for you.
Everyone always told me childhood traumas came to get you in motherhood but I truly thought I was done with all that.
On the other side of it all with a clear mind, I am finally starting to see that I am now the mother I always wanted to be BECAUSE I was taken away for two weeks.
And that it was always going to be this way. It’s not possible to be pushed to your edges and not meet your shadows.
I couldn’t have healed and returned in wholeness any other way.
My heart has been stretched to its limits through separation and grief. I have never been able to love as much as I do now.
My nervous system has been pulled to its full capacity through extreme psychological and physiological pain. I have never been able to hold so much.
My mind has been pushed to places no mind should have to go. I have never been more mentally strong and resilient.
Yet I am still working on the shame and guilt I’m carrying for this experience. How wild to carry shame and guilt for breaking under the weight of pain and exhaustion.
And whenever I feel the tears come as I compare myself to the ‘before’, I try to feel into my body and remember that I am free now in ways I could never possibly have dreamed of. And that freedom is allowing me to be the mother my daughter needs and deserves.
So I might even go as far as to say that I am grateful for this experience for gifting me freedom. Although a part of me is still catching up with that idea.
The longer I am a mother, the more stories like this I hear. It highlights the magnitude of matrescence and helps me feel less alone. The pain, the fear, the exhaustion, the grief of losing who we were before, the joy of becoming someone more immensely powerful than we could ever have imagined. And the whole time showing up, mothering and giving every last drop of ourselves and more.