As a first-time mom, I would be lying if I said this “mothering” thing has been a breeze. From the time that I got pregnant, the battle began. I fought to keep food and water down, I fought migraines, back aches, dizziness, sciatica, leg numbness, and the list goes on. I remember constantly being in so much pain and calling my mom all the time. One particular time, while driving home, I had to pull over because she asked me if I was okay and I started crying hysterically. By this point in my pregnancy (10-12 weeks), I had lost 15 pounds and had been to the Urgent Care so much that the nurses told me if I came back they would admit me into the hospital (which I did not want). My mom asked if it was something she said, in fear that she may have triggered a hormonal pregnant woman to be upset. It wasn’t what she said and it wasn’t that she said it. I had been drowning for so long and those three words, “are you okay?,” let me know instantly that I wasn’t. I was in tears because I was scared that all the pain I was in was going to make me resent my baby. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to love him the way I should. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be a good mother.
That whole “pregnancy is such a beautiful thing” mantra that people tend to say all the time, was NOT my reality. While I was learning to love my new body, intrigued by what the woman’s body can do, and loving the little King inside of me, pregnancy was not pleasant for me. Labor & delivery is a whole ‘nother story for another time. The main question is always how long was I in labor? It was 18 hours of labor with an additional hour spent being re-registered and wheeled back up the third floor to the maternity ward, prior to immediately being discharged for not “looking” like I was in that much pain. The love and joy that lifted the room as soon as they placed him on my chest was nothing short of remarkable. He immediately needed me and I him; this will always remain true.
Now I can’t even imagine my life without him.
During one of my organization's’ staff meetings, a faculty member engaged all of us in a community builder. She shared a clip of an interview with Oprah and Michelle Obama. In this particular clip, Michelle shares why she named her book Becoming (see it here). We all were tasked to talk with two other people and share what we feel we are Becoming. While conversing with my group, we all similarly talked about first-time parenting in some type of way. I specifically said I am becoming accepting of being an imperfect mother. Though we find it hard to believe, we all know there is no perfect parent. I began to make the critical decision that while I will always do anything and everything for my son (who, by the way is perfect), I am not perfect.
This was not and is not easy to do.
We all want our children to be better than we are. But this idea of perfect parenting does not exist if we don’t know what better is until better arrives. Having had depression and anxiety, pre- and postpartum, it’s not a surprise to me that this anticipatory fear is a consistent cycle that circulates in my head. Even without it, society’s judgement forces you to think you must mother or father perfectly. I started to think about how many other moms need the reminder and the space to feel free and imperfect.
Imperfect mom is a platform for moms just like you who want and need a place to be celebrated for fighting back against the stigma of perfect parenting. Imperfect mom accepts you for who you are, no matter your background or circumstance. This is a place for you to feel comfortable, acknowledged, and supported.
Say it with me, my ImPerfections are why I'm Perfect!
Now, pour your wine, water, coffee, or tea and Cheers!
To ImPerfect Mothering!