i am afraid of becoming a mother.

i am afraid of becoming a mother. 

last year i shared a glimpse of our story on not yet having children. it was one of those gut-punching entries to write that left me feeling naked & vulnerable. once my words & thoughts were out into the world, my people gathered around me & loved me something fierce. thank you.

& if you're wondering, we're still in the waiting.
& i am terrified.

i'm not afraid of the sleepless nights.
or the dirty diapers & endless messes.
i'm not afraid of how our marriage will shift 
or the potential of losing touch with friends.
i'm not even afraid of the growth that will happen within us as individuals.
or the many endless decisions we will have to make.

i am afraid of becoming a mother because i am afraid of losing myself.

my people, just sit with me for a moment in this place.

& as a disclaimer, let's just put it all out there. i am coming from a place of zero experience. i am sharing with only second-hand insight & observations as my guide.

but it aches me to the core when i witness women sink deep into motherhood & lose sight of who they are or the glorious potential of who they could become. 

friends, i am pro mom. 
i know amazing women who are moms & i absolutely adore my own.
i want to be a mom.

but i also want to be a wife, a friend, a maker, a writer, an inspirer, an adventurist & an individual.

as i shared these thoughts & struggles with my tribe over coffee, my sweet friend shared that even in the depths of motherhood, she finds it helpful to remember the person she was before children. 


i want to love as a mother & i want to love myself.
 i want to give as a mother but keep a piece just for myself.
i want to spend my time with my family & tuck away plenty for me, too.
i want to grow as a mother & i want to grow as an individual.
& i think that's ok.

what makes you tick? 
what makes your heart beat a little faster?
what excites you & keeps you going even in the midst of the hardest of days?

in our own stages of growth & our unique seasons of life, let's seek out more of those heart racing moments & experiences that make us tick. let's linger in our passions for a little longer & grow more fully into who we are, even as mothers.

grab your cup of coffee & share with me your thoughts. let's open this space up for dialogue. 
how do you struggle to balance your roles as mother, partner & individual? 
how do you succeed in nurturing your soul & being?
does this struggle & fear ring true in your life? 
what are tangible tools & practices that you use to remain true to who you are?

let's talk. i have so much to learn from you.


Anonymous said...

Oh, you are so good to be thinking of this now. It is hard to keep sight of self when you have littles, but you just need to do what you need to do when you are in the trenches. For me, I didn't really realize I needed to get a hold of my real self again til my kids were a bit older, which I think is a great example for my children. I think anyone who is conscious of this before having children is going to have an easier time of it.

Rachel Weaver said...

I became a mom unexpectedly and way before my friends. And I swear, sometimes I think because I never made a conscious decision, it actually helped. I didn't have to feel weird guilt about going out with friends occasionally or more often than not, bringing a baby along to places where others might not have brought a baby. I knew I still had a lot of growing to do, and my daughter did it right beside me.
But it also helped so much to have a tribe. There were lots of people to help fill in the gaps: a man who turned out to be a great father and husband, my parents, my sisters, lots of true friends. If you try to do it all by yourself, you will sacrifice yourself. But doing it alongside others gives you the space to still be all the things you want to be.
Furthermore, I think way too many mothers feel like they have to be everything for their child. Maybe we should teach our children how to be their own people too, so they can be them without always needing us.
What a great conversation to start.

dcochran said...

So smart to dwell on this BEFORE you dive into Motherhood. I have to say it is one of the best and hardest things I have ever done, and honestly you do "lose" yourself-to all things Motherhood encompasses. It all goes in cycles but "you" comes back. I wouldn't have missed being a Mom for anything.

beth lehman said...

natalie... it's fascinating how we come to motherhood... everyone's story as unique as they are. i think one of our greatest desires as humans is to be seen and heard, and so for some worrying that they will loose their voice or themselves when they become a mother is quite real.

what i've come to understand most recently, is that i would not have found my newer voice without my children. as they grow, i'm confronted by challenges, but often these are opportunities for self-reflection and growth on my part. without my children i wonder if i would have the opportunities to learn these lessons. food for thought.

Heather said...

Natalie, thanks for sharing from your heart. That takes tremendous strength.

Sometimes those things that really give me joy--decorating, sewing, simply creating in some way--will be put on hold in different seasons (when I've had each of our four kids, when we've remodeled/moved, etc.) But seasons swing back and those things that give you tremendous fulfillment can not only do so again, but even be heightened as you share them with your children.

This exact thing was going through my mind yesterday, when I was in a fabric shop with our oldest daughter, as I picked out fabric for a project and she excitedly pored over fabric for a pennant garland she wants to make for her room. It is such a thrill to see your passions reflected in your children, and it's bound to happen when they see you doing what you love and bringing them along with you.

I just know you will be that kind of Mom, Natalie. I can just see your 4-year-old little girl designing skirts out of vintage fabric for her dolly!

Thanks for being brave enough to face your fear. I'll be praying for you as God works out His marvelous plan for your life. Thanks for being so real with us!

stellaonline said...

Beth's comments above are exactly how I felt.
I came into motherhood very abruptly (I married a man with small children), and there are so many things about myself that I didn't know before I was their (step)mom. While I'm still me, there's a new layer to me that I didn't know I had, and never imagined I ever would. I thought I knew myself so well, and I suddenly learned all of these feelings and ideas about myself, simply by finding these two (now three) people to love. :o)
I promise, girl - motherhood is NOT all loss...there are beautiful new things you never knew about yourself coming with motherhood. :o)

Misti said...

Ah, this is the one thing NO ONE talked about to me before I had my son in September. No one mentioned the losing of yourself, if only for awhile. It is what struck me most and still strikes me, thought I am slowly returning to myself but am not there yet. I even wrote a post about it...when I saw your words about worrying about losing yourself, I thought you were right on target.

I think a lot of it has to do with waiting until I was in my mid 30s to have a kid, having a life and personality already built up.

If you are interested, here's my summary from a few months ago: http://oceanicwilderness.com/2014/10/27/postpartum-thoughts/

AngieK said...

I think it's great you are thinking about this. I'm a mother of a 5 year old girl and yes, I have a lot less freedom to create, to thrift, to spend quality time with my husband...I could go on :) But, I've gained so much more. I don't feel like I've lost myself when I became a mother, I FOUND myself. I didn't lose my "glorious potential", I reach it every day with my daughter. So yes, once in a while I miss some of that freedom, but I think it's all worth it :) You're young, you have plenty of time. Enjoy your life now :)

Also, Beth Lehman: perfectly said :)

Marie Mueller said...

Hi Natalie,
I know exactly how you feel! My husband and I got married right after college & found out a month later we got pregnant on our honeymoon! It was wild timing- but we were thrilled & at times overwhelmed! Our son Aiden is 17 months old & loves music (his dad plays guitar & music is constantly playing at our house) and he loves crafts (coloring & finger painting which he got from me) It's so much fun being able to share with our son our love for nature, music and art! We haven't had to change those things in our life- we just had to figure out how to incorporate Aiden into them & plan a little extra!

Nap time is such a great time for me to sit, read, cook, craft- on my own. I even have a friend who loves sewing- she'd wear her son when he was itty bitty and make little moccasins while he slept! As soon as I read your post it reminded me of the proverbs 31 woman. She's a wife, mother, business owner... she has many roles that all add up into who she is. Balance is key, and that's something you have to be intentional about! So is grace, I loved what another lady said "there are seasons!" So so true! Praying for you friend- if anything... Motherhood has made me more of who I was meant to be!

Heather said...

Well, as a mama of an almost 8 year old and a turning-one-tomorrow, I can tell you simply that: becoming a mother WILL change you. Just as becoming an adult changes you, or a wife changes you; it does not make you "less than you", however.
Granted it is hard, and there are many times of frustration. But it is also an amazing way to grow as a person, to consider yourself (your faith, your beliefs, your lifestyle, what you want out of life) in ways you're not necessarily forced to when you're not a mother.
I'm sure your friends and your own mother have shared with you that while these changes can be daunting (especially the first time around) they are worth it. And as I can attest--- it doesnt mean giving up what you are passionate about. I didnt start my painting business until Audrey was 8 months old. I am often motivated to follow my dreams as an example for her to follow her own.
There is no way to do motherhood perfectly--- as there is no way to do anything perfectly. You just try your best. Know that things like waking up many times during the night, or not being able to take a bath for 2 or 3 days pass quickly. I can attest to that! It seems like I was just pregnant (remember me at TLC in 2013?!) and now he's on the verge of toddlerhood. And I like to think that I'm still ME, just grown and stretched and with added depth.

Maria Hale said...

I also agree with Beth. Motherhood has caused me to dig deeper, unbury selfishness, and sacrifice in ways I never imagined. I am freer because I am a mother. Is this process easy? Well, no, but so worth it. I am learning over and over that there are seasons in life, all of them needed for a rich and beautiful life. Anything you give up early in motherhood will return in new ways. It is such a joy now to see my girls loving books,creating something from nothing, enjoying God's creation and stirring up yumminess in the kitchen. These are all things that I enjoy and now I pass on that love to my children. Sometimes our greatest self is unsurfaced when we give. Blessings to you, Natalie. You'll be a great mom!

sonrie said...

I wonder all those things too. I do have infertility so I don't know if I will be a mom. We have a lot of hobbies-we are creative people who like to make. It is hard to think of the adjustment period of going from no kids to 1 or some and how that would look with our time, our finances, working, homecare, etc. We want them but have had so much time to wait, we think about it a lot, and there's also a little danger in over-thinking things too. I talk about this a lot to other women to hear how they manage the balance. I think the consensus is that when you have a child, you just adapt, and there is a learning curve, and you keep some hobbies, and lose some (at least for a little while), your work might change a little, your marriage would change a little, and you allow all those things to be more full with your new family.

But then, like you, I have no children and maybe it would be ALL different for me :). Good luck in the process of exploration on all of this.

sara said...

I am really enjoying reading the comments on this post and can echo a lot of what others have said already. As a mother to three and as a woman who has studied the mind, body, spirit connection of childbirth through many workshops and certifications, I would most definitely say you will lose yourself in motherhood. But at the same time, as you cross over the threshold into parenthood, you experience a Rebirth, of yourself as a mother. You will never go back to yourself as you once were, but you will move forward as a new woman who is now a mom. Some of your old passions and pursuits will be there, but as others have said, new, beautiful layers to you that you didn't know existed will manifest. There are definitely seasons in the journey of raising children where you will find yourself with space for just you and other times where that will be harder to come by. And as others have said, you just have to put your creativity into finding ways of involving your children in what you desire to do. God is so good though, that He gives you 9 months of gestation and the birth experience to make the transition. And He provides you with a pretty sweet hormone cocktail so that when you lay eyes on your baby for the first time, it is true love. You will find that it will never be the perfect time to have a baby and it never looks like you have enough money, but somehow it works out. Voicing your fears is a wonderful way to work through them, so good for you. Hopefully some of these answers will work as a calming balm for your soul.

Kristi said...

Becoming a mother does change you and you do loose yourself. I know I did and I am ever so grateful that now I'm a different version of my "old" self - but better! Things that would excite me before don't now and new things have taken place. Balance is the key. Taking one for the team and being ok with it is key. Knowing that you only have a precious few years to make, create, and guide your children makes it easier to know that not getting what you want at the moment is ok too.
Passions I had before children are still there, they are just different. Some are more involved, like homesteading, because I know how important it is on so many levels to my family. Scrapbooking is out. Knitting is the key to life. It is a good worry to have but really, you'll have so many new worries as a mother!

Bethany said...

I set specific parameters and goals for myself. If anything, becoming a mom has made me more intentional about self-care, individual goals and personal hobbies. You would think it would be the opposite, but for me, becoming a Mom helped to raise the bar, push me forward and redefine who I am as a person. I'm not sure it would have happened so intentionally if I hadn't become a mom.
Yes, it takes some juggling. Yes, I have to make goals that don't negate the season I'm in as a mom (time constraints, etc), but it has been an overall joy.
I'm sure the example you see of moms who have lost themselves are a minority in light of the women you see who have succeeded. Most of my mom-friends are stay at home moms of several littles, but they also own their own businesses and have their own hobbies. It's amazing how they juggle it all so well. You will do it well, too. In time, be sure to give yourself lots of grace when you transition into motherhood. It takes times to figure it all out well.

natalie said...

Bethany, awesome thoughts & tangible tips. Thank you!

Rebecca Coolidge said...

Not really sure where to start, and I don't usually comment because I am kind of shy. I would like to say when you become a mom there is something that happens when you hold your child for the first time that can only truly be understood at that time. It's weird because I thought I knew what it meant during pregnancy, but it was so different when I held my daughter for the first time. There is this almost automatic want you have deep inside you to give everything you have to give to your child. The main thing to know is that no matter how much you give of yourself and your time you will always feel guilt when you take time for you, whether it is when you take time for yourself or when you work in or outside the home. It is important to know that you have to take time for yourself and also make time for date nights with your husband. Making these things a priority will keep you from losing you. Also its weird but they want/need/use more of your time the older they get. And the last thing that no one told me, is that if you want more than one child, have them close together no matter how hard it seems it will be when they are young, you won't regret it 2-3 years down the road when they can play together. I can't wait to read what other's have to say.

Brittany said...

My husband and I planned on waiting at least a year before trying to have a baby, but to our surprise, we ended up pregnant just a few weeks into our new marriage. We hadn't lived together before we got married so we were still trying to adjust to a new lifestyle with just each other and then we tacked on a baby. I wasn't very excited about it, and I was really sick for most of it.

I grew up around small children - tons of cousins and family friends, etc. I always enjoyed children, but after an hour or two with them I'd feel annoyed and send them back to Mom and Dad. I worried about how I would be as a mother to my own children, if "it's different when they're yours" would really be true.

More specifically, reading your thoughts about losing yourself made me think - did I lose part of myself when I became a mother, or did that baby open up a whole new part of me I didn't even know was there? Turns out, it was the latter. The days can be terribly long and lack of sleep can make you nuts, but I've learned that I have a deeper capacity to love than I ever thought possible. I've learned I can be more patient, more kind, more intentional with my time, more affectionate, and much less selfish than I ever thought.

When I do get my "me time," rare as it may be, I value it so much more. I use that time more efficiently because I know it is precious and limited. I can honestly say that being a mother has made me a better version of the person I was before. I think you'll be a great Mom, Natalie!

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY feel you! In fact, while pregnant for the first time, I wrote a lengthy letter to myself and my children basically describing me and what I was like before them. I had such a fear that they would never see me as anything but "mom," and that I would forget who I was. Strange, because now I am not worried about losing "me"...such a valid fear, but I am now all that I was before becoming a mom and so much more! My boys have made ME more full, and yes at times, I lose sight of myself, but there has been no greater lesson for me of sacrificial, unconditional love, and as Ruth of @gracelaced says, motherhood is sanctifying. Nothing in my life has brought me to my knees as much as being a mom, and for that I'm so blessed. Tired, but blessed. ;-)

Jess Townes said...

Seeing this conversation unfold is so encouraging, and I applaud your courage in starting it. Natalie, I don't know you, so perhaps I don't have the authority to say these words to you, but I believe that the fact that you are asking this question now is an indication that you will not lose yourself in motherhood. It's been my (relatively short, my oldest is ten) experience that people who face life with intention do the same in parenting, and that the questions you have now are the ones you'll work the hardest to answer.

I can only speak for myself here, but I found that not only did I not lose myself in motherhood, I am finding me cultivating some of the best parts of who I am. Both within the role of mothering (where I've learned more about grace and joy and grief and empathy and love than anywhere else) and outside it (since becoming a mother I've delved deeper into my interests and passions than ever before, both for myself and as an example to my kids). My marriage has grown even stronger (again, this requires intention, but sharing in the raising of children is sacred and intense work that can strengthen a partnership or tear it apart). I chose the path of mothering relatively young (I was 25, I also started dating my husband at 18 and married at 23) so I can't say if all these changes would have occurred had I not had children, but it seems unlikely that they all would have.

There will be seasons of motherhood that leave you feeling a little lost. Times where it does feel like your existence is only about feeding your baby and trying to rest and get any small thing done in between. But every single stage passes and if you find a way to let each stage change you and strengthen you rather than reduce you, you will emerge on the other side still very much you, but forever altered in a way you'd never trade. And you'll find you can apply all those lessons in other areas of your life, in ways surprising and obvious.

In the meantime, when this fear takes over, keep reaching out to the mamas who have gone before you that you know and admire. This world is full of women who are mothers AND. It's up to you to finish the sentence to find role models who have finished the sentence in a similar way. And then, one day, to be that mentor to someone else.

Best of luck and lots of love to you.

Whitney @ Southern Hope said...

I'm new to your blog, but couldn't read this and not comment. I'm huge on commenting. Anyway, I'm a new mom to a 10 month old. We struggled for 3 years to have a baby and suffered one miscarriage. I have to tell you that during those times I was molded into a mother before every physically becoming one. It's been the greatest calling/job/hobby of my life. I wouldn't change it for the world. Now, with all that said, you CAN lose sight of yourself. That's why "me time" is so important for moms. Cutting out time each week for yourself will be and MUST be a priority. For me it's going to the gym, little man gets daycare time and I get to feel like a woman! I also read and participate in book clubs. I'm active in our church and put my all in my service there. I currently work full time and I think that helps me stay true to myself, but soon I'll be a SAHM and I worry then again about that change and losing sight of who I am. I think as long as you are actively trying that makes all the difference. One last thing! I had to talk myself down when I found myself LOVING this inappropriate song, because hey moms don't do that right?! Wrong. Moms are more than moms and yea we still like to shake it to crazy music haha! Feel free to write me anytime about motherhood :)

Shabby Sweet Tea said...

Not going to lie, this post really got to me. I am such a happy and blessed momma. One is 15 and the others is 1. I'm lost between helping with chemistry, changing diapers and huge renovations at our recently purchased farmhouse. I've lost myself in this wonderful life I have. I use to love my little blog. I painted furniture all the time, hit flea markets, took pictures... Funny you posted this today because yesterday I broke down and hopped onto my blog and vowed to make a comeback to my little space of the web. I'm determined to find ME again in 2015. I know this is a different season in my life but taking care of me is just as important as taking care of my girls. I need to carve out a little time here and there to be creative again.
You will make a wonderful mom Natalie. I think you are one step ahead by recognizing this trend. Thanks for the good cry, lol. Us moms, so emotional.

Valley Girl said...

Dear Natalie- I am a mom of three girls 10, 7, and 3. I have two bits of knowledge for you....one is you can't BE or DO everything at one time. Something MUST give or be layed down. You can have it all just not all at the same time. Second, you will have to give pieces of yourself up HOWEVER what you get in return is so much better than what you had to begin with that it doesn't matter. Until you experience it, it's really just words, not feeling or meaning that you hear when someone tells you that. With the addition of each little human, our lives drastically changed. We gave more of yourselves each time, we laugh at the young parents we once were and look up to the parents that are going before us now with teenagers. Just do your best, when in doubt, love wins, every time.

Michelle said...

I totally understand your fear. It's the main reason it took me so long to think about being ready to have a baby. We had a bit of a surprise pregnancy, and I'm honestly so glad because I don't know if I ever could have fully made the decision to have a baby no matter how much I've wanted one. I was just too scared of how life would change and how I wouldn't have my freedom anymore. I'm 7 months pregnant now, and even though I'm not technically a mother yet, I can already see those fears evaporating. I've had such a huge shift in priorities that some of the things I was clinging to so tightly don't even matter to me anymore. I just feel so ready (and let's be honest, TERRIFIED), to become a mother and immerse myself in that. I still have tons of goals of becoming a writer and keeping up with my hobbies that are important to me, and I know I will find that balance in time. I know my husband will support me and help me figure that out. But I already love this baby so much and want her to have the best part of me. I'm a huge introvert and I've always been extremely selfish with my me-time, so this will be a huge adjustment and something I need to figure it out, but it doesn't scare me anymore. And whenever you find yourself preparing for a baby, I presume you'll feel the same way. And believe me, I never thought I would be saying these things!

Beth said...

The unknown. Often, we are afraid of it. You are already so brave. Everyone has a story and thank you for opening up and sharing your space so others can too.

I have wanted to be a mother since I was a child. It was one of the few things I was sure of throughout my life. It changed me completely and unexpectedly. The first bit - the only bit that time passes so slowly - is a time of revelling and revelation. From what I can remember, my world was turned upside down. But this is not a bad thing. Each time my child was born, I was reborn. I discovered things in me that I had no idea were there - patience, utter joy, peace, the strongest power, on and on. Perhaps I was wandering lost for the briefest moment but more than anything else I came into my truest self. I was found.

Cheers to all of our journeys. All different. All beautiful. Never the same after. xxoo

laura k said...

Oh, Natalie. I love your heart. Your authenticity. There is no doubt, motherhood will change you. The old saying of "nothing can prepare you for being a mother" is true to a degree, but you are wise to consider these things now and seek counsel and experience.

I thinks it's important to remember that God made you, Natalie, exactly how he wanted you for His purposes. All your gifts, uniqueness and beauty -- each one given to you for a reason. Whether as a wife, a friend, a business owner, or a mother. When you become a mother, those beautiful parts of you do not need to be put on hold for the next 18 - 30 years of your life. They are a part of you, and will no doubt add beauty, richness and uniqueness to the way you mother.

There are times in life, regardless of motherhood, but in motherhood especially when we have to die to our selfish desires. Oh and opportunities for that do abound. :) But I think there is a distinct difference between that and burying our talents in the earth. I've had to work through a lot of selfishness in the last ten years -- I think that was one of the hardest things about being a young mother. And I am re-learning that being unselfish doesn't look like burying every part of me that has dreams or wants to come alive.

That said, motherhood has a way of altering your priorities, perspectives, and dreams. I have learned that it is up to me to listen to God in whatever stage or season of life I am in to see how the gifts and passions He has given me can be used and fit into what season we are in. Pour your heart out to God about it and listen for His leading.

That is what immediately comes to mind from my experience. Wish we could chat over coffee :)

You are beautiful in every way, Natalie. I know you can bring such light and love to the world in whatever stage you find yourself in. xoxo

Jess M. said...

Someone else said your consciousness is going to make you have an easier time of it..true, true, true. I had the same fears. My marriage is strong, I have good friends, I have family close by and a very good support network. When I had my first baby (she is almost 13!) my mother told me, "If you want help, you have to accept less than perfect." She was so right. It was proven when the babies were born, when we moved to a new house, when I slowly increased my amount of time back at work. It even applied to my dear husband, the father of our children. I had to accept his method of fathering equally important to shaping our kids as my own mothering. They have become a product of US. Losing yourself IS a risk - however the awareness of it has been huge for me. I have never let go of my girls' night out. My best friend and I still get together every other week for a night OFF of everything. My entire household benefits from me taking care of me. I don't always get to be first, but I make the choice to keep me a priority. I see it as a choice that some women make, and some women don't. Be encouraged, Natalie. Your love will multiply in ways that only your heart will understand. Bless you.

Jenna Lou said...

Natalie you are so brilliant to be contemplating this before you are a mom. It's something that I thought wouldn't be an issue for me. I thought adding a baby would certainly make some changes, but that first year you just don't realize how all encompassing they can be. Another commenter said "in the trenches" and that is so what it is like. You do anything just to get by day to day (unless you are get that unicorn baby *doesn't really exist* who sleeps through the night from 2 or 3 weeks on). My baby girl is turning one in a matter of weeks and I think I'm just finally finding myself again. Don't be afraid of change and losing yourself for a bit of time. It is actually a wonderful gift to be thrown into the depths of motherhood and then have the sight to find bits of yourself again. Being a mom doesn't mean the world stops, but it is forever different.

Lindsay - Pen and Paint said...

So many things and thoughts.
I never had a strong desire to become a mother. After 5 years of marriage and no children I admitted I was okay if we never were able to have children of our own b/c I knew God would bring children into our life we could sow love into.
Then surprise, we were expecting, and 18 months later expecting again. So here I am 12 years into marriage with a third child on the way, and it is something I would not trade for anything.

It is not glorious or magical. Most days are chaotic, sticky, and loud. It is exhausting.
The first years of motherhood were extremely hard for me.
Have I lost myself? I mean, I don't look like I did when I was a newlywed, and I don't act like I did.
I feel a little bit wiser, a little more tired, a little less attractive, but I feel like I'm constantly finding who I am. I'm thankful for the journey of motherhood to shape me into the woman God designed me to be.
I find I have many more opportunities to become Christ-like with my family than I ever did before them.

The seasons of being a wife and mother change SO much. It's a beautiful journey. And after all, we must lose our lives to gain them, right? Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Do yourself a big favor. Read what is written about being a mother, on this blog, "Memories On Clover Lane". It would have helped me so, years ago, when my son was young. This is the best blog I have found which I hope will be helpful to you as you explore what being a mom is all about and I believe, as you read it, some of your questions will be answered.8211

J Lara said...

Is that you or your inner critic talking? The inner critic voice has a big job: to maintain the status quo. Anything that might disrupt the status quo it attempts to fend off. With that said..... I'm thinking a cup of coffee and some journaling time on these curious questions... 1) What is your inner critic saying to you? 2) How is that inner critic voice limiting you? 3) At one point in your life, your inner critic protected or served you. What gifts did it bring or how did it protect you? 4) Now that you are older, what place does that voice have in your life? 5) What would you like to say to that voice now? 6) What do you need in order to move forward? Natalie, you are so strong and brave in so many ways. Cheering for you in whatever life decisions you make. Jen

Casa Colibri said...

Our story is a little different because we started out with an almost 7 year old (we're foster parents). This isn't something we planned, is just how things ended up, but I totally recommend it as an idea and think it would work with young ones too. My husband knew that I got to spend more daily time with our son, and also that I had a lot of life giving personal pursuits. He would take our son of for breakfast or a free Saturday adventure and give me quiet time to do my creative, filling stuff. It was a win for both of us. We value family time and one on one time with our son. The one on one time the other spouse takes is definitely free time for you. And instead of doing chores, take some time to fill your cup.

Danielle said...

Hi Natalie! What great responses from everyone! I am a SAHM of a 9 and 6 year old. I have had many questions about this over the years. I had a difficult time getting pregnant so when I did, I felt so overcome with doing everything I could to hold onto my baby, I quit my job, at 3 months pregnant, and just took that time to enjoy myself, nest and be my creative self.
There have been days I have watched my girlfriends with children balance so much - exercise, trips without their children, careers, and so many other things. I felt as though I was inadequate, that I was not doing as much or couldn't balance as much.
At the end of the day, I realized I was doing something for myself. I was making each day count as a SAHM. I was embracing it, as if it were a career I was stepping out of the house into. My kids were not rushed, they were not sick, I was not stressed. Along the way, I have been on dates with my hubby (not as many as we would have both liked), still created many things ( sewing, etc), exercised (many times with babies in tow), read, taken long baths, gone out with my girlfriends, learned to cook and eat better. The list goes on, as my children are now watching me go back to college ( shift gears from my finance world of before them to education). My husband has done so much over the years too with working full time and helping care for our children - as well as around the house work. It has not been easy all of the time, but it has been so worth it.
You are so wise to think of these things before diving in. You will figure out what you need to do for your own sanity. Somedays it may be nursing a baby - and reading a book all day, some days it may mean - getting out junking while your hubby does it, or making your little flags while they nap. You will figure it out. Things will change, and I firmly believe when we fully accept and embrace change in our lives we are able to grow. Personal growth and care can come in many forms.

Anonymous said...

This post really struck a chord with me, even thought I'm not in the midst of parenting. We've been trying for a while, and recently lost a baby to miscarriage. I think it's also easy to loose yourself in the wanting, the needing, the desperation to be a mother. I think today, I'll start working towards being me again. Thanks, Natalie.

Sonnie Sue said...

I don't think I ever lost myself. I think I changed, and became something better for myself and for my child. Growth doesn't come while your are holding on to something in the past. You grow, you become more than you ever thought you could. Not because you wanted to, but because God changes our focus, our attention on what needs to focus on. I think motherhood has defined me as a person, I feel more purpose now that I didn't understand or have before. I love being a mom, and that didn't change who I was before, because I'm not that person anymore. It's hard, it's really hard, but as long as your eyes are not on your struggles but upon the Lord who provides strength, you can thrive. Take them along on your adventures, and you will enjoy things on a whole new level. And never forget to show them a little grace, just as our Father shows us. The best book I have read as a parent, has been "the power for a praying parent". Surrounding yourself with Godly women who you can seek motherhood advice from, will be your saving grace. And it's ok to struggle. We all do. Sometimes you just have to give all your fears over to the Lord, and praise him that you don't have to figure it all out on your own.

ali grace | cookies and grace said...

Oh my goodness, this is so great. We've been married for about 2.5 years and don't have kinds yet either. I want to, but I'm also a little scared about how much life will change.
I love "me" time. Whether it's reading a book, spending time with Jesus, doing some sort of project, or just watching TV and painting my nails - I love it. That's what scares me most about having kids. Never having a second to myself.
After reading some of the comments, I realized that maybe it might not be like I think. I know I function well with structure, and when time is limited I'm more motivated to make the most of it. Maybe having kids will be more like that. I will have less time to myself, but hopefully when I do I'll be less likely to waste it and more likely to make it really count.
As with everything, I know we can't fully understand motherhood until we experience it, but I'm thankful to learn and hear from so many great moms right here. Thanks for this, Natalie!

MK said...

Hi there,
I'm a young mom to two baby boys. One is 16 months and the other is 6 weeks. I knew I always wanted to be a mom. My mother told me to wait, explore life first but I didn't listen and we had our first just 6 months after being married. After having my first son, I remember being angry because it was so much harder than I thought. I had lost touch with friends, I didn't run anymore...there was no time for myself...why didn't I listen to my mother??
After feeling sorry for myself for way too long, I prayed hard and God helped me to have a different mind set.
Yes, you are no longer just you, you are the you that is on 24/7 for another human being and this is my job now. This is "me" now. I will do this job and be the best new "me" that god intended me to be.
I love when moms say there are seasons because it is so true. Right now I am in a season where being true to myself is getting a few minutes before I crash for the night to pray and reflect. I know more time for myself will come later, in a new season. I'm very much looking forward to getting back to running and even finding new hobbies with new friends because every new season brings change and new beauty in life :)

Caitlin Covey said...

Natalie - Thank you. This is a very natural fear. I already have a child and the thought of having a second one terrifies me (for many of the reasons you have mentioned in this blog)! Looking back and meditating on the present, here are some things that have worked for me to maintain my own identity.
1. I have always had a "my" night where I set aside time for my passions. When Atlas was first born it was a Tuesday evening. I would go to my acting class and immediately follow it with a bible study with a group of women in NWA. I was gone for about 4 hours and, as his father told me, Atlas would cry and cry. Sorry, not sorry. Mom needs to keep her sanity.
2. Keeping the mentality, "It takes a village." That includes grandparents watching over weekends, friends helping out with date nights, kid flip-flopping to allow both sets of parents free babysitters, calling and saying HELP! It's easy to get in the mind set that you know what is best for your child (in many ways you do)...but other great humans are there to teach kids beautiful life lessons too. If you give people room to step up, they will.
3. Remember, your God given kids were given to you by God because YOU, just as you ARE, are made to be his/her mother. I've come to accept that this means forgetting about "perfect" parenting (what that is) and allowing my son to see my flaws. This also means it is your duty to you, God and your child to 100% nurture your inner desires, talents, gifts. So - no guilt, no apologizing, no changing yourself - Who you are and the mother you are meant to be = same person.

Sarahi Luna said...

Sadly, I do not have wisdom to share on the topic. My reason for commenting is to thank you for sharing this fear. You have showed me that I am not the only one, and that is of great encouragement. Just last night my husband and I had a conversation about it and as much as he tried to be understanding, he just couldn't. He decided to encourage me instead, and I love him and thank him for it, but it is hard to feel encouraged by someone who doesn't fully understand. Thank you for being vulnerable = )

Marcie said...

Years before we had kids I heard a mom say, "Kids aren't supposed to hinder you, they go with you and experience the world with you." I held onto that as we had twins for our first children (so hard!) and when we had an unplanned pregnancy with our third kid I had a few weeks where I would cry because I was afraid of becoming a shell of a woman again. But that changed as I prayed and remembered that children have enriched my life, my creativity, brought my husband and I closer together than ever, and have brought rich friendships to my life with other moms. I miss having freedom, I miss being able to shut myself in a room whenever I want and create, sure there are a lot of things I cannot do anymore. But having kids has taken me to a whole new level of creativity and being a woman that I would have never found. I am so grateful. When they're newborns you're tired and you can't do much, but that doesn't last for very long at all. It's a short time, and it becomes sweeter with every child. Also, if you're not ready to have kids, don't have kids yet! We had so many people ask us about kids before we had them. I never wanted them until one day I just thought, "how nice to be able to tell our parents at Christmas that we were having a baby." And that day we decided to try for kids. It was like I woke up and a flip was switched while I was sleeping. Open up your heart to try to let go of fear. :) Being a mother is sanctifying and a blessing.

Kelly said...

Such a great conversation to bring up. And what great comments from everyone.

I would say this very topic is something I'm passionate about and something that inspires me.

I had my first little one at 24, and like you, saw the many drowning mothers around me, and I desperately wanted to find a mother who was different. I wanted to find a woman who stood amid the struggle and sacrifice of motherhood and yet held her head beautifully high in grace and dignity with wit and wisdom.

And three years later with another child added in, I think the question of losing yourself is somewhere in the thought of your first post on waiting for children. It shouldn't and doesn't have to be mothers vs. women "doing something with their lives". It should just be women. Women in their journey through life each with a unique timeline and story. I think if we all saw it that way, it would be that way just a little bit more.

I'm young and a mother of two hoping for a third, but I'm still growing as a person just as much as I would have had I not been a mom. I write, started an Etsy shop, and am now working on photography. There have been glimpses of darkness and feeling like I've lost my bearing, but I remember the years are short, and those moments are short. I didn't have a newborn forever, and my little ones won't be little forever. I have years and years ahead of me to revel in whatever I want. So for now I soak up the spilled milk and tired eyes, because I know it won't last for long, and I don't want to miss this season of life because I was wishing for something else.

Nadine said...

As a mom of three older children and a new nana of a granddaughter, I can tell you that things do change, but that's okay. We all go through different seasons in our lives. You change with each new season. Whether it be marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, and finally being a grandparent. That does not mean you loose yourself along the way, instead you grow with each change. I have learned to appreciate each new season in my life. Above all, take your fears to the Lord, He loves you and is there for you always.

Janine van Emden said...

I am not a mother..
and the more I see the women around me become moms.. the less i want to become one.
Now I have to note that having kids was never a thing I wanted. Kids just don't do anything for me.
But I am at that age where I need to think about it. And the age where there is a lot of "getting babies" going around.
And with the exception of some lovely inspiring Instagram ladies; I see all of them turn into moms. And in the process loose themselves.
There are no more coffee-meetings, movie-nights or walking the dog together.
It is all about THE BABY. Nursing, sleeping, eating, more sleeping...
And when I talk to them it's all about.. the baby; teehting, diapers, sleeping rythems..
it is like they got sucked into this world where only THE BABY exists ad there is room for nothing more.

The people around me are almost constantly asking me ( an my boyfriend) if it isn't itme for us to start a family..
But we like our freedom. The freedom to just go and do something without it turning into a military operation. The freedom to be spontaneaus. To go where we want when ever we want.

So now, at 30 I can say with a certain amount of ceratinty; I do not want kids. Not now and maybe never.
I sometimes feel that people think that is weird.. but so be it.

Emily said...

Hey, Nat. I understand all of these feelings. I've been a mother now for 6 1/2 years, and I am no pro. I do have a thought on the fear of losing yourself though. Here it is. I have found, for me, it is dangerous to compartmentalize myself. Has soon as I start saying, "this part is for you and this part for me," "this is my time and this is the time I have for you," I get selfish and discontent. I'm a lover of Jesus, a wife, a mother, a friend, I'm crafty, I love to read, I want to be active, I want to be involved, I want time to do nothing and stare at the wall, etc. I choose to be all of these things. I choose to make time for things as they change in priority. I choose to forget about trying to be perfect at everything in my life. It's impossible. I do the best that I can with each circumstance. Life is always in a state of change, and so I must be flexible. Because I love and care for my husband and children, there are times that I limit myself in some areas to meet their needs. But there are also times that Ryan limits himself to meet mine. They say the most important thing in marriage is communication. It is even more so in parenthood. A strong relationship with your spouse is a warm, cozy place to rest in when life gets overwhelming. But the best cozy place to rest in is at the feet of Jesus. He carries all of our burdens. He empowers us to be successful in our endeavors. And He is the only one who can make us into our truest self. We can only truly be found in Him. Single, or married; parent, or not; it is the same truth. I love you, sweet friend. I know that you are able to be just the right mother that your child will need. And Luke is able to be just the father that your child will need. Just remember where the real source of LIFE is found.
Thanks for letting us see into your heart. You are beautiful. :)

Anonymous said...

I experienced a lot of these same feelings before I became a mom. I was never one of those girls who felt that it was their calling to be a mother. I always knew eventually I would probably have children but eventually came a lot sooner than I was prepared for. I remember being twenty-two, newly married, and curled up on the couch with a pregnancy test, sobbing in my husbands lap because I was terrified of being a mom. Thankfully God's timing is perfect and I loved what Beth Lehman said in her comment earlier. I didn't lose my identity when I had my children if anything that became richer. Motherhood is not always easy, it does require sacrifice, but I most definitely would not be who I am today without my kids. They lead me to discover, create, and imagine more than I could have possibly ever done alone.

Colleen Mole-Garcia said...

We waited a crazy long time to have kids, to be "ready" or to even decide we wanted them. Considering my "advanced maternal age" of 35!, we had an easy time of getting pregnant only to find out I needed surgery during the pregnancy. All went well, and our daughter is now 4 years old. I'd LOVE to have another baby, but sadly can no longer afford the health insurance we'd need to have another child (at my now SUPER advanced age of nearly 40).

So, its ok to wait. Get yourself into a more comfortable situation (I know about the weight of debt, trust me!) but you guys are young and have an exciting new life on your farm. Find your rhythm. Then add a happy new member to that sweet life. Balance will come, don't worry :)

Robyn Metzger said...

So many beautiful comments that articulate what I've experienced, too! I especially like what Jess Townes said. I will add a few thoughts, though, about specific strategies that have helped me. (I had my kiddo when I was 38 & work outside the home full-time, just for some context.)
1) I had to let some things go & accept that I couldn't do everything. You can do a lot, but some things will just have to wait. My house is chronically untidy because I'd rather be re-doing a thrifted bookshelf or reading instead of cleaning! Prioritize what is most important/fulfilling for you to do during "you" time.

2) Talk with hubby from the get-go and work out ways that you both can have creative/personal time. For example, we switch off giving baths/putting her down for nap/bed, so that one person isn't doing the bulk of caregiving.
Keeping a calendar and communicating about activities you want to do is key. I take her for a 2-3 hours on weekend mornings so that he can throw pottery; he has "daddy-daughter" time in the afternoons so that I can do my thing. The awesome thing is that when I take her so that he can do his creative work, she and I have great adventures together! When she was tiny, I wore her in an Ergo carrier. Now at almost 3, she's big enough to think it's fun to go to thrift stores and look at stuff (this does require patience to teach her to "ask before you touch," but it's worth it).

3) And that leads me to...when it's practical, include her in the activities you like to do. We listen to music and try to play instruments together. We have family dance parties. I love to cook and bake, and I let her "help." It takes a little longer, but I get to do my thing AND spend time with her. Win-win.

4)Rely on your tribe! People WANT to keep your adorable baby/toddler for a few hours...let them! And then don't feel guilty about doing whatever you want to do--sometimes you can have dates with hubby, and sometimes you can do your own thing!. It's been a great experience for our kiddo to know that she has other adults who love her and want to spend time with her, other than mom & dad.

5) Carve out quiet time for you each day. This may be right before bed after your little one is asleep, or first thing in the morning before he/she is awake. For me, quiet time in the morning AND before bed works best. Sometimes I just watch the sunrise and drink my coffee; at night sometimes I read the compline service in my Lutheran hymnal or write in my journal. Sometimes I just sit with my thoughts.

Honestly, motherhood kicked my butt in the beginning. The very first few weeks of caring for a brand-new human were overwhelming, but that passed. There are always going to be some days that feel overwhelming. Mostly, it's an unbelievably amazing gift. With patience and perseverance you can be Mom AND artist/writer/farmer/whatever-you-want-to-be.

Ashley said...

Your honesty makes me feel a little less alone with my mental tug of war on the decision to have children. Even though my husband and I are 30, we've only had 3 years together (I wish I could have met him at 16!) I use that as an often excuse when asked the annoying question of when we will start trying. But if I'm being honest, the mental struggle is much more than about needing/wanting more time. We are both teachers who pour our hearts out to 75+ children a day and the rest of our love and efforts go to one another. We have a wonderfully blessed marriage with equally wonderful alone time to follow our passions. When you live a full life -like a glass brimmed full of delicious sweet tea--it's hard not to imagine making that glass of goodness spill out by adding more. You know what I mean? Thanks for the conversation!

Heather @ my little red suitcase said...

and remember if you do 'lose' yourself a bit, eventually there will be a real joy in the remembering. Finding yourself again, in a new way, is always a good thing. All the best Natalie! X

Sarah C. said...

I am 32 years old and I have two sons-ages 5 and 1. After having kids, I truly do not know what I did with all my "spare" time before =) I know I was busy and had lots to do but now, sometimes when I have time to myself, I can get so much done so quickly. And sometimes I can really enjoy reading a book on the couch.

One things I wish my husband and I would have discussed more before having children, is how we would give the other time by themselves. I miss how my husband and I used to have more time together but more than that, I miss the time I had, by myself, in my house. It is something that I really enjoy and need. My husband freely admits he has a double standard between how moms and dads take care of kids. He is a great dad and is wonderful, much better than myself, at playing with our kids. But if I have a night out with friends, it can be overwhelming when I come home and it looks like the house has been destroyed by every natural disaster possible and it can make me feel like I don't want to leave so I don't have so much to deal with when I get home. He is working on adjusting this but I think if we would have talked about it more before kids, it would have been an easier transition.

In most ways though, becoming a mom made me more of myself. I truly care less about how others perceive me. I have always struggled with my weight and sensitive about it. When my oldest was 2-3 years old, we were at the beach, walking down the sidewalk, and he wanted us to jump over the cracks on the dock. Well, jumping in a bathing suit is the totally last thing I want to do. But I don't want him to ever feel that you limit the fun in your life based upon how you look. So, we jumped over the cracks and he had a blast. Being a mom has taught me to be more accepting of myself.

I read a while ago a blog post on digthischick. She said it much better than this but it was a post on how when you have lots of stuff going on in your life, it is like books on a bookcase. Sometimes the books will remain on the shelf until you have a chance to take them down. You rotate the books out. I think there will be times as a mom where you are you do have to sacrifice a bit more of yourself just as there are times when you can focus on the things that bring you joy. Plus those times where you get to do things for you are so much more meaningful and awesome since they may be a little more rare.

The Five McKays said...

I feel like I've grown so much more into ME since becoming a mother. I am a richer, deeper, more conscious me from my parenting experiences. I also kind of disagree with the concept of needing to hold onto my old self through out parenting. I think each new experience in life, and each decade we live, changes us profoundly and hopefully we continue to grow and change and adapt. And there may be a decade of giving and parenting and growing in that one area of our lives, but when we come through the other end, there is so much time once again to focus on ourselves once more. I've heard from MANY people in their 50's/60's who desperately miss those early parenting days, and told me to savour them, and as a result I just dove right in and tried to truly enjoy that stage - trusting that MY time would return again. We have all found passions that feed us, and we make time for them all as a family, and of course there's times when I feel lost, but I also trust that although it's true that we can have it all, we can't have it all at the same time. It will all work out in the end. In my humble opinion, it's best to not over-think these things. And to do just what feels good/works well for your little family. We brought our kids to concerts and to folk festivals, camped and canoed from the time they were a few months old, traveled the world - these things were super important to us, so we just did it. Don't listen too much to all the 'shoulds' and 'have-to s' around you, and just continue living the lives you are. You'll be amazed at how much a new baby will fit in......and how much your priorities will change over time. Good luck:-)

Jenny said...

Speaking as a woman who has been a mother for 22 years, I think I've passed the time where I 'lose/lost' myself. Looking back even, I don't really understand that perspective, that we can lose ourselves by choosing a certain path but not by another? We are what our choices make us & choosing motherhood does not make us less of ourselves but just a different self. There is nothing wrong with that. There are even times we have no control of the choices we must make - we have to choose what we don't really want, like caring for ageing parents while raising children at the same time. Who wants that?! But it must be done & I chose it gladly because I loved both my parents & my child - it also meant I chose to do less for myself & that really is ok. I'm so glad looking back that I did it though in the middle of it I wish I could have understood that better.

As far as what we can choose to do before motherhood verses after.....yes, I chose to give up things that I loved after I became a mother(or at the time I thought I was doing that). It was painful & a struggle but there will be times that you must choose one good thing over another. I'm in the empty nest now & I see that I didn't really choose to give those things up...I just chose to focus more on motherhood then. Now, I have the freedom to go back to some of the things I loved so much & I'm choosing more things that I'd never even considered then. Also, it's a big change going from a woman to a mother. But as children grow & become independent you slowly fill in the time with your own loves again...it's blended into something beautiful.

Don't worry about what you can't do. Most decisions we make means choosing one good thing over another good thing. Embrace your choice, evaluate often & be flexible with yourself. Some days(months, years) you'll have to choose less of what you really want but that is ok. You'll find that by making the hard choices you become a better you & a more creative you.

heathashli said...

It is true, you will lose part of yourself in motherhood. There are many things that I wish I could pursue, but I wanted to be a mother & a good mother at that. So, I devote most of my time & energy to raising outstanding, well-educated, & well-adjusted human beings. All too soon I will have an empty nest & all the time in the world to attempt all those things that are on the back burner now. I don't believe you can truly have it all, or be a Supermom. There is no such thing as "quality time". When it comes to nurturing, "quality time" can never replace quantity of time. You have to put in the time if you want good results.

Sarah said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. Although for me it's not so much I am afraid, I am sure that will come later when we actually consider children, but that I flat out am not considering motherhood because I need time to develop me. Being a Utahn Mormon there is TONS of pressure and expectations to start families right away. ASAP. As in we have been married a year and it's odd that we aren't thinking about having children. Never mind the fact that I am only 23, just graduated, and dying to actually pursue a job I am passionate about. I think it is so important to cultivate yourself and your marriage before adding children. I feel very selfish admitting that because I feel like I should want to have children right now, but I don't. I want to work in my dream job that I am starting next week. I want to explore my ever developing talents and interests. I want to travel. I want to be silly and spontaneous with my husband and dogs. I want to get a firm grasp on who I am and what I believe before I become a mother. I want to have children someday, but first I need to mother myself and help myself grow and develop the way I need to.

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalie, I have two daughters 8 and 5, and I definitely struggled when my first was born for a year and a half trying to figure out who I was as "mom" and who I was as "me". And then after that time, I no longer felt there were two "sides" of me out there, they merged together in a new way and I felt more whole. There is so much great advice in these comments and all true. One other aspect I'll share that I don't think has been touched on yet is how much better you will get to know yourself AND your own parents, especially your own mother. With a child (children) you will suddenly find yourself in situations that you've never been in and without realizing it you will hear yourself sounding and acting just like your own parents. It will sort of blow your mind. Suddenly, you kind of get to know them better as well as yourself when you decide that yes, in this situation I want to follow the example set by my own parents or no, in this situation, I want to make a conscious decision to change that response. You will see yourself in your children and you will see in you - your parents - and in reflecting on that, you will grow in ways you just never could otherwise. If you have girls (because you are a girl), and there is so much pressure on girls/women to look a certain way in our society, you will likely find a new appreciation for your own womanness and body. Not just the fact that your body can produce a baby but also, I found, in appreciating the look of my body. I see my hips on my daughters. The hips where I gain the weight first and that I am always trying to change with this or that workout or diet. But, there they are - perfect in every way - on my little girls and to think of them struggling to change something so perfect makes me able to forgive my own hips and think they are are not nearly as bad as I've been making them out to be all these years. It also makes me question where I ever got the idea in the first place that they were so terrible. It's eye opening and quite freeing in so many ways. So that's my two cents!

Amy said...

When I think of how motherhood has changed me, I really only think of good things... I am more patient, I am more giving, I am bolder, I am able to stop and notice small details better. That said I make it a priority to carve out time for the things that are important to me as a woman...time to write, time to craft... Like a lot of things in life, it really comes down to choices...and yes, there are phases where I do more and where I do less. Just remember, all kids start out being one minute old, then one hour, then one day...


P.S. We waited five years to start a family; when we used to get the 'when' question I always just threw out a random date..."Oh, September 2019"... It usually shut them up pretty fast. ;)

esther jane said...

So many good comments already, but I'm gonna add my $.02 anyway.
1. First, I wish I could take you out for coffee and talk this out, as it is a topic I am passionate about. Having had 5 kids (ages 9 to 1.5) and homeschooling those kids, I have an appreciation for the free time I luxuriated in BC (before children) that I could not possibly have otherwise. Your free time will shrink, it is true. If you don't want that, don't have kids. Or a dog. Or a husband. Or a job.
2. Life changes, and that is a good thing. You change with the life changes, and that is the best thing.
3. You will not lose yourself in motherhood anymore than you lost yourself in becoming a wife. You left your single self behind when you said "yes" to your husband. Even if you and your husband part ways (God forbid!) you will never be that person again. You have lost that girl you were before in committing yourself to your spouse for the rest of your life. You have changed. You have grown. You are growing. You will grow. And part of that is in the commitment you made to live FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Marriage works best when we put the other person first, focus on meeting their needs, and be real with our spouse about our needs. Sometimes what we think we "need" is really something we need to release.
4. Communicate. If you need more free time, talk to people who can help you with that. My husband and I moved a bit when we had the first of our 5 kiddos, so we were on our own. No babysitter. No family nearby. No help. It was hard, but not impossible. It sounds to me like you have an awesome community around you who will happily come and sit with your little one while you take a shower, stitch a few stitches, drink a good cup in peace, go thrifting. You have to be able to ask for help, and you have to be okay when sometimes you don't get a break. Because...
5. It is temporary. Let me say it again: IT IS TEMPORARY! Sure, you will always be a mom, but that is liquid state, constantly changing with the child's growth and advancement. And if you choose to public school your little one, you have even more free time! I have my whole day eaten up with teaching my kids as well as being a mom and a housewife and whatever else is needed to keep our family running smoothly. But I have chosen that. I have given up the free time for something else. Some days I regret this, but on the good days, I wouldn't change anything.
6. You will be able to watch someone else grow in his or her interests, teach them, learn from them, be inspired by them. You will be pouring yourself into helping another immortal soul grow and pursue. This cannot be quantified, qualified, or even described in a way that does it justice. It is pure joy to be inspired by the person who at one time was wholly dependent on you for everything. I love creating with my kids.
Natalie, you seem like a thoughtful, sensitive person and because of that I think you would make a great mom. I can assure you, your self will not be lost. You will grow in ways you never expect. You will be challenged in ways you never expect. You will realize a glorious potential that is completely outside of personal free time or pursuit of your own interests. Those things will be waiting for you, and when you come back to them it will be as a deeper woman.

Lindsay Swoboda said...

I love this post. I am due any day now with our first little girl, and I absolutely was in the same place you are in a year ago. I wrote all about my story here, : http://simply2suitcases.com/2014/09/how-i-knew-i-was-ready.html

I felt so much as you do, that I would just never be ready. I almost felt like there was something wrong with me. I had always taken the leap in the rest of my life, moving around the world, getting married, and each new choice brought me so much joy. I finally found that if I confronted the idea of NEVER having the opportunity to be a mom, that ultimatum made me incredibly sad. I knew we had to try. And so, 9 months later a little girl has been harbored within me and I can't wait to meet her. I am nervous. Terrified. Even more so now because we just found out my husband is DEPLOYING AGAIN (he just got home a month ago) so my expectations of what are family was going to look like over this year changed in an instant. BUT I chose this and I know I will not lose myself in this because I choose her. I choose this path and it will be one that is challenging and beautiful and awesome. Anyway, that was long winded, but I wish you well in your journey, no matter where it leads you!

Dana, Founder of Crafty Cakewagon and The Creative Parent said...

So many people have said so many good things here!! I'm mostly a lurker here but I just love your blog so much; felt I had to throw in my experience here. :)

When I had my daughter 2 years ago, I thought I'd never have time to craft or cook again; but within a week I'd moved my sewing machine and was making real food again. I only had a few friends as examples, so I knew some things that I for sure did NOT want to do. The things that are important to you, you will find time to do. Kids take naps for a long time, and on the days that you don't want a nap too, you can write, craft, cook, do nothing- have free time to yourself.

I say this as someone slightly older (got married at 37, was pregnant within 6 months, now due with #2 at 41!)- you really can do everything you want to do, just not all at once. I had a long career in teaching, but I also knew that if I wanted to have kids, I couldn't teach all day and then come home to more of it. Now I stay at home and am really happier than I ever could have imagined.

It's a leap to get married, and it was a leap for you this year to write/farm full time. It's the same thing with being a parent, and I know when you're ready you will have a great time!! :)

Tina said...

Hello there, I wanted to say that I don't feel like I have lost myself to motherhood- just that I have to keep giving even when I feel like there isnt much left! It's something you can think, ponder and speculate on but you never can plan it in detail. You never know who will be arriving and what they will bring to your journey....it is overwhelming and awesome and as much as you will nurture your child they will also bring soooo much to your life. The early years are undoubtedly intense yet they pass so quickly in the great scheme of things that I would wholeheartedly advise you to immerse yourself in it! It really and truly is a voyage of discovery and I wish you well in whatever you choose xxx

Lindsay Medwick said...

I'm not a mom, but from being around a lot of moms, I have an opinion. I think you will lose yourself for a little bit,especially when you have a newborn...but, in time your kid(s) will saturate the life of who you will become. You'll find time for you and crafts, but your kids will help out the farm and will be the lights of your life. Theyll probably fill all aspects of your life in such a positive way, you probably won't care if you lose yourself for a b

Jennifer Burns said...

Maybe you will continue finding yourself...

Fear of the unknown is always hard and I can identify with you. I am scared of being a mom because I have a lot of freedom in my life, but at 36 I am close to having to make a choice before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

I like to think of it as just "You" changing. I am not the same me as I was when I was 8, or as high school me, or as college me...I'm always Stacie, but always growing. Think of motherhood as adding more layers...and that good, true you will always be there. If you are intentional, you will never lose her. Just like when the marriage was new or maybe starts to be "too used to", or the farm was new or you started a new job-- there was potential to lose sight of True North, but if you're intentional you hold on to yourself and grow yourself into someone even stronger.

Becca said...

Hi I have 2 kids 4 and 19 months. I agree with things other moms said. i think you do have to work a little harder. My husband and I give each other one night a week alone. 6 mom friends of mine gather every week after our kids are in bed and chat late into the night. This is so good. I would also recommend budgeting daycare, maybe for one half day a week. I do a show every year and make things. Getting some time alone makes me a better more present parent I think. I have also started scheduling regular hair apmts and massages every 2-3 months. I get migraines, so this helps prevent them. This seems so indulgent to me, but it keeps me healthy. I so agree that you become more selfless. and of course your heart grows so much. I think it's ok to get some me time. Although it is really hard to make it happen. We were married for 5 years before we had kids and I still have such fond memories of that time before kids. We had so many awesome adventures. And I love our time now with little kids. And I know as they grow and become more independent I will have more time. I also think it's important to keep your identity rooted in Christ, rather than in motherhood, or in being a maker. This is something that is hard for me at times. Then I feel more at peace.

Tasha D said...

I am a new reader but I do follow your beautiful feed on Instagram. I never really realized how much I have lost myself until I read your post. I don't even know what I like anymore... I am so busy chasing my four kiddos, keeping the house clean and so much more while my hubby is deployed. And I can't believe I never realized it. This is a very real fear. Be true to yourself. I plan on finding myself again this year and thank you for that realization.

Dorine said...

All is probably said. But still:
I was afraid like you. At 32 something clicked when my husband said 'Well... are we really sitting on that big of a pot of cold now?' It may seem like a 'negative', but it put in perspective that I was maybe over exaggerating the importance of all the things I was hanging on to in my no-child-life.
We had one boy, and it is the greatest decision I took. But I also promised myself there would be only one. So I won't loose myself. And sometimes I feel guilty about that, but most of the times I feel everything is just right. And now after four years, the infant years behind us, I find myself absolutely myself again... myself but totally enriched by the experience of being a mother. And I even miss those baby years :-)

Anonymous said...

I think if you're worried, it's just not the right time. You are super young yet, and have had lots of life changes in the past few years! No reason not to wait. We didn't want kids at all...until we desperately did. Two kids and nine years later, there have certainly been profound changes in me...but I'm not sure I knew who I was before kids, so I'm still just making it up as I go along. I do think building in all the lovin' with your husband is important--maintaining that connection has been the hardest for us, and of course that affects your family. Good luck in decisions, but take your time! (or not).

Roslyn Imrie said...

Don't rush into motherhood! You have plenty of time

Roslyn Imrie said...

I read this last week and it stuck with me, inspired me to write a post that has been in my head for a long time now. So I wrote a blog post of my own, here are some tips for you... http://owlsknob.blogspot.com/2015/01/9-ways-to-keep-your-passions-as-parent.html

May Mazzi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miad sara said...

Life is a precious fabric is dyed with desire and
We asked the people to be cut and sewn ,
Sometimes it comes with unexpected events such as
Ugly cloth hung in front of our eyes , and
Want to run ...
So make your life a graceful body and sew ...
However, with the right decisions and choices left ...!

ELK said...

Maybe you'd find this article helpful:


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