Both images by Deun Ivory
I had a multitude of emotions when I first found out I was pregnant. I was nervous and excited about being a mum. Although we planned for it and I knew that I definitely wanted children, I was not sure that the timing was right. I had so many goals that I wanted to achieve, and wasn’t sure how I could accomplish them whilst being a mother. I was scared about being responsible for someone else’s life and worried that I would lose my identity.
At the same time, however, I could not wait to meet my baby and dreamed about all the joyous moments we would share. I smiled at the thought of having a mini-me wrap their finger in mine; gurgle, crawl, walk, come for cuddles and talk. I looked forward to being part of the network of mothers who put their heart and soul into loving and raising champions.
When they handed my daughter to me in the hospital, I lay there shocked at the intensity of it all. It felt like the most natural thing in the world but it also felt traumatising. I felt like I was part of a miracle. I was in physical pain, mentally exhausted and didn’t even have the energy to comprehend that they were handing me a baby and how my life was about to change, but I was so grateful to God that she was there, alive and well. I vowed to be the best mum possible to her.
Now that I’m actually living the daily grind of motherhood. I can say that it is 🙂 😦 😥 😀 ❤ 😀 . It is constant prayer and compassion. It is over-worrying that I’m doing everything wrong and amazement at my ability to do things I have never done before. It is playing breastfeeding by the ear and hoping that my child is not starving. It is trusting in my motherly intuition that my child is not sick, whilst googling every symptom just to check. It is feeling guilty when my child is crying and I simply just want a moment to myself in silence – to do nothing but stare at the wall, peruse Pinterest for DIY ideas I don’t have the time to do, or read a book.
Motherhood is believing in yourself. It is being patient as you and your child both learn and grow. It is trusting that you have that mum magic. It is willing your child to sleep so that you can sleep and then staying up all night staring at them to make sure they are still breathing. It is crazy. It is repeat insomnia. It is being tired and overtired. It is being somebody’s safe space and giving all you have. It is learning to love your self correctly. It is being in love and having your heart live its own life outside of you. It is delivering on your goals and dreams. It is people questioning what you do all day. It is you questioning what you do all day and then wondering how you did all you did some days. It is unmet deadlines and messy rooms. Motherhood is spit up on your new outfits and baby smiles. Motherhood is delightful and it is hard. It is continuously connecting and incessantly learning.
Motherhood is truly a gift and whilst it is crazy, I’m evolving and I’m grateful for it.
‘‘I play for me,’’ Serena told me, ‘‘but I also play and represent something much greater than me. I embrace that. I love that. I want that. So ultimately, when I am out there on the court, I am playing for me.’’
Source: The Meaning of Serena Williams – The New York Times
They say behind every successful man is a great woman. I don’t know about every woman, but I can definitely say that for me the reverse is also true. Behind a lot of my growth and key achievements has stood my husband. He has prayed for me, encouraged me, pulled me up when I’m not at my best and even when he annoys me he somehow always makes me smile. My husband is my rock. I love that after so many years we are still so close and have developed a rhythm. I love that we are a team. I pray that we forever share a love of God, travel, literature, food, movies and old homes with lots of character and modern comforts.
Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for being my king, my best friend– a true captain of inestimable value. Here is to building a beautiful present and future. Here are the 10 things I love about you (amongst many and in no particular order :-)).
- I love the way you laugh. It is infectious.
- That I can still talk to you for hours about any and everything.
- How you love and respect me and constantly invest in our marriage.
- That you always kiss my forehead before you sleep.
- That you buy me apple crumble and custard whenever you go near my favourite crumble shop and that if you are home before me you always ask what I would like to eat.
- Wake me up super early to pray and encourage me to spend more time in the word.
- Set regular family goal review sessions to make sure we are both working towards fulfilling our vision.
- Send me random articles that stimulate my thinking.
- I love that you give me my space but also your time.
- That you are so fun and down to earth yet super disciplined.
I write because I enjoy writing. It helps me explore my thoughts and express my understanding of the world around me.
I write because it helps me remember that I have learnt some things and am still capable of learning. In fact, writing reminds me that I am capable of anything. It helps me document my growth in areas that I would otherwise forget.
I write because I often struggle with writing and believe that is only through working on my craft that I can become better.
I write because I care about words – how they fit together, what they mean, imply and because I love how they carry all of our stories.
I write because my mother worked too hard for me not to try.
I write because I want my future children to be proud of me.
I write so I can be proud of myself.
I write to inspire others to be better.
I write because I can.
Learning to Define YOU.
“I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me.”- NW by Zadie Smith
At twenty-six, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own. From puberty to around 24 I felt that I was in an extended “awkward” period. I felt shaky and confused as to what I was doing and the biggest struggle was letting other people tell me who I was. In the midst of this awkward period I became a mother at 17 so discovering who I was as an adult and woman really felt very confusing and scary. I often felt more connected to the title of mother than woman and it has taken me a long time to really feel like I know myself intimately. These are a few things that have helped me consistently through this journey:
Spend time with yourself-
This has been really crucial for me, even if I can’t get a babysitter for my own coffee date…I take time for myself once I put my son to bed. I write, read, edit photos, take care of my plants and garden, meditate…these are just a few ideas. What these really allow is a sense of calm, I talk to myself and even work through some issues that have been giving me anxiety or are triggering.
Write a Personal Mission Statement
Writing a personal mission statement is empowering. It allows you to have control of who you want to be and who you currently are. Picking words that create your core values is apart of this too.I have five – ten words that I know are who I am. This is a great habit to form, you can update it as you grow and change, I try to do at least one a year. Words are incredibly powerful and what words you speak/write over you have an incredible effect on your cells.
Remove the timeline
We live in a world that glorifies finishing goals quickly, which is so hard. Having goals is good, but how quickly you reach them should not define you. This has been a difficult one for me to learn and this is one I still work through. But remembering this has helped my mental health and made me a better parent and human.
Pretend that you’re holding up a mirror when people start projecting
This has been so helpful. So often people will snap and start attacking your character and sometimes it really makes you ????. Obviously this isn’t the case with every confrontation, but there are specific people in your lives that are truly saying to you what they feel about themselves. This is clearly the case for the abusers and manipulators. These are a few things that have helped me consistently overcome and actually define myself. Learning to define, express and stand up for ourselves is such a challenge, but you can do it! No matter how long it takes to know yourself, you are always the author of what defines you.