On letting go (or giving up living fully for myself to make room for living fully while being a mom)
I have been a mother to Phoenix for 8 months and 8 days.
It’s only now I’m beginning to wake up from the haze of being a new mother and come to terms with how to integrate this new role into living an authentic life.
And it. Is. Hard.
Before I had Phoenix, I had just hit my stride in living my authentic life. After a few years of trying different paths and searching for my voice, I had found my calling and took risks to pursue it. I met new people and reconnected with old friends who happened to be on parallel places in their own journeys and were asking the same questions as me.
I was living life to the fullest.
Soon enough, I was answering those questions, inspiring others with my own framework on how to live a 100% authentic life. I was running my own business selling art at a few local stores, blogging and running a biweekly newsletter, guest blogging and doing interviews, keeping my Etsy shop up-to-date and producing.
Life was an exciting whirlwind. It felt great and I could truly say I was living my best life. But pregnancy started to wear me down. Maybe it was nesting, or hormones. As my due date approached, my priorities began to shift.
All of a sudden, as abruptly as my calling came, it started to fade. What I thought was me and everything I had worked towards, I wanted to devote to my baby. The many things I was pursuing had started to feel like a burden, and paled in comparison to devoting my time to my little one. Because I heard the stories: it goes by so fast; enjoy every minute. I didn’t want to screw it up.
I also didn’t want to half-heartedly do anything. So one by one, I let go. I pulled my art from local stores so I wouldn’t have to deal with inventory and invoicing. I put my newsletter on hiatus and let my Etsy listings expire. I decided to blog only when I felt like it.
As I slowly stripped away everything that consumed my time, I felt lighter and lighter. It was confusing, because it felt like I was giving up everything I was supposed to be moving towards.
I let go of each thing I had painstakingly built. I let go until my schedule was free and my to-do list was empty.
Once we brought Phoenix home, the days became a blur. The first few weeks we were running on two hours of sleep in the daytime, and up every 30 minutes at night while the baby unlearned his nocturnal sleep pattern. At the same time, I had to rest and wait for my body to heal and get back to normal. It was a brutal time, more often than not lying down in pain with a crying baby. The emotions definitely ran high.
It was also a beautiful period of my life. I was living in kairos time. A state where time simply unfolded, and I was fully present. In those first few months with the baby, I was more amazed at life than I ever thought was possible. I could stare at Phoenix for hours: to catch the intermittent moments his eyes fluttered open, to memorize how my finger felt clenched in his chubby little fist, to recognize the parts of me and of my husband and of generations before us in his eyes, his face.
If there’s anything I learned in taking risks to follow your heart, you should always move toward what feels right.
Turns out, I didn’t regret any of it.