My motherhood journey. It's time to share. I've wanted to share this for a LONG time, but it's a tough thing to explain for me. Motherhood has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. The ups and downs started day one and, well, are still an every day occurrence around here. But if I'm being honest, motherhood is what fueled me to create The Wild. It's the whole reason I'm here doing this, creating something that allows me to be with my boys, something I hope one day they can be a part of...so the two really go hand and hand. And my motherhood is what makes me, me. For better or for worse. So, here we go. Let's dig in.
Pregnant, and terrified.
Ok we're going way back here. When I first found out I was pregnant with Ben, I didn't have the typical emotions that I saw other women having. I was filled with fear. Unspeakable fear. Like I didn't want to buy baby books, I didn't want to look at the app that tells me what fruit my baby is the size of. I just was scared, and I felt shame about my fear. Everyone around me wanted to talk all things baby and I just wanted to kind of pretend it wasn't happening. Not because I didn't WANT a baby....oh I did. Badly. But it became so REAL, and then I realized that I had so much ahead of me that I wasn't sure I would be any good at. And the shame continued. What was wrong with me? Shouldn't I be this glowing ball of love and light right now? I wasn't. And truly, I felt that way until the second I saw Ben. I had a c-section with him, because he was breech (turns out, Sawyer was too), so it was a crazy day and extra scary in some ways, but every ounce of fear I had melted when Billy brought that tiny babe over to me and held him as close as he could while the docs fixed me up. Bliss. Finally. I was a glowing ball of love and light after all.
Oh wait, so this is actually really hard.
Fast forward to 3 weeks in, and I was a sobbing disaster of a human being. Nursing Ben was soooo hard at first, and I was so ill-prepared (due to my avoidance of those damn baby books). Figuring out the breastfeeding thing involved weeks of working with a lactation consultant, a tiny feeding tube and pumping between feedings....it was just NOT working. I was so crazy determined that eventually it worked, but it sort of felt like we were starting off on the wrong foot. And then, the tiredness. The tiredness was more than I had expected, and everything came to a head. Not sleeping for more than 2 hours a night for months on end had turned me into a monster. I was in the thick of it, and it wasn't pretty. But, Billy and I took each day as it came. We just kept trying. I kept crying, but I also had so much love for this kid that the crying became less, and the happiness took over. Teething came and ruined our lives for a bit, but again...day by day. In hindsight, I realize now that I experienced about 6 months of post-partum depression for sure, although I had no idea at the time. I had some dark days, and I felt like a shadow of myself. But being on the other side of that tunnel, I realize now that it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, and not expecting everything to be perfect, or easy. Just to take things as they came.
Time to start a business? Oh...jk.
When Ben was about 8 months old, the need to start a business really became overwhelming. After years of having great jobs that I loved, I needed to be doing something that wasn't changing diapers. I knew I wanted to do something with the creative side of my brain, and so I started drawing and painting. I started creating my characters almost right away (the first was Pablo the Penguin, incidentally), but they were in the form of original paintings, not baby onesies, and I was so excited to do something with them. My initial thought was decor for baby rooms, because I had such trouble finding something cool for Ben' room in the planning stages. For a few months I sold my characters on paintings through etsy, but when we found out we were expecting Sawyer, and I got really quite sick with that pregnancy, it all took a backseat. Not great for someone with zero patience like me, but I knew it would just give me more time to plan and make sure everything was ready, and right.
Two babies = 10 babies
Ok, so not exactly. But, juggling a newborn and a toddler was super tough on me. I'm lucky because Billy is so chill about, well, everything, so he was good at keeping me calm. But during those days when he was working long shifts, getting two kids to nap and sleep was, well, crazy. For someone like me with terrible anxiety, I was pretty overwhelmed. Some days were awesome, and some were less awesome. But I once again just kept moving forward. And I hoped that one day I would find my rhythm.
Hey, thanks, social media
Being at home with Ben and Sawyer was wonderful, in so many ways. But it was also very lonely for me. I didn't have mom friends around to talk to, and I felt very isolated. I would come alive as soon as Billy got home from work, talking his ear off, or complaining about how hard motherhood was, lol, and poor sweet guy that he is, would always listen and nod and help me relax. But, when he wasn't here, I found myself turning to social media looking for moms. Looking to see what everyone else was doing. Not in like a creepy way, but in a 'please help me do this mom-thing' way. And that literally changed things for me. I wasn't alone anymore. There were other moms nursing their babies at 3am who were posting about how they were tired AF and hadn't bathed in a week and had ordered pizza for dinner AGAIN. These were my people. People on this motherhood journey, being honest and authentic about how it's messy, and heartbreaking, and wonderful, and scary, and all the things. Women who were inspiring me on a daily basis to own my feelings. To not feel shame when I have a hard day, or make mistakes, or don't always feel like I'm doing this mom thing right.
Motherhood In The Wild
Years later, my boys are 6 (almost 7) and 4, and things are....easier? No. Not easier, but I'm more comfortable in this role of Mother. I still have hard days, lots of them, and I'm learning that this will always be the case. But, I'm owning it. I'm STILL taking it day by day, one foot in front of the other.
And now that I'm well into my journey with The Wild, being surrounded by this wonderful community on social media, I have decided to create a blog series dedicated to the celebration of Mothers. To highlight and share the women who have inspired me, to show that they are in this with us. That we are all together, here for eachother, as we navigate the highs and lows of raising these babes. I plan to share the story of a Mother every couple of weeks, and I truly hope you read along and know that you too are not alone in this thing we call 'Motherhood'.