Did anybody say motherhood is a walk in the park? No they didn’t. Did they tell us it would be so hard. Not exactly. There’s a lot about motherhood that is not talked about and that can make other moms feel alone.
In the end, we are all struggling with something. Sharing our fears, anxieties and hesitations as a mom can be frightening, but it will connect us with others feeling the same.
In this chapter I talked to Stephanie. She’s an therapist and wonderfully kind. She was open to sharing her experiences with others and I am so thankful for her time and openness. Stephanie’s also a mom.
Tell me a bit about yourself, what would you like others to know about you?
I have been in Oregon for 21 years and wanted to come here since I was young. It’s the first place I feel like I fit in or even blend in. I work as a therapist part time and like it very much, though always wish I knew I was doing it well for each person I see. I am a step-mother to two grown boys and birth mother to a 5-year-old girl. I like to exercise, hike, make soaps, and play games with friends for fun.
How do you define motherhood?
I’ve always felt confused by this sort of question. I didn’t feel like a mother until I had my own child, though I was in a mothering role. I experienced years of primary and secondary infertility, so for me motherhood is an incredible blessing and I’m still surprised sometimes I get to be “mom.”
Do you feel motherhood has changed you? In what ways?
I’m a little better at tuning out external stimulation, I’m more aware of my impatience, and I have more empathy for other parents and my own parents.
What is your biggest fear as a mother?
That my child might grow to feel that her basic emotional needs weren’t met. I want her to feel she was well seen and understood by me and that I did what I could to provide her with the best start I could give.
What support do you think mothers lack the most in society?
The basic structural support of good, free childcare so they can take care of themselves, work, or even just sleep.
How can mothers show up for each other?
We can talk about the shadow side of being the “loving mother” and help reduce the hidden shame of not always feeling good or wanting to preform all of the motherly tasks so there’s less mom guilt. We can lend each other a hand with each other’s children.
How do you want to remember this period in your life?
Very sweet and privileged, even if my child’s big fits have been challenging. I’ve loved having so much time to be with my daughter as she grows.