Today, as I write this blog, I am 35 weeks pregnant with my first, and likely only, child. It’s been a long emotional and physical process for my partner and I to get where we are now. There were disagreements in our late 20s about IF we should have a child at all. There were a number of years of therapy to dig through the weeds of my own childhood trauma, my distrust of myself as a potential mother, and the open wounds within my romantic relationship. There was a painful miscarriage along the way. And now, over the past eight months, I am finding myself transforming into a mother at the age of 41. “Journey” is the only word to describe how becoming a mother has felt for me.
I have been both grateful and, at times, anxious about my journey. Anxious because it’s been a risky endeavor. Amongst a couple things, I’m now of “advanced maternal age.” (Thank you, medical community, for the update in terminology. I was never a fan of being called “geriatric.”) Because of this and what comes with it, I’ve been subject to many more ultrasounds and check-ups than other women, some activity restrictions, and my own fear surrounding the relatively high possibility of miscarriage and stillbirth. My body is definitely aware that it's older and my usual aches and pains have only exponentially intensified with the pregnancy. With all the hurdles I’ve had during this pregnancy, it’s been comforting to have books, doctors, apps, blogs, and forums to walk me through the whole physical experience. There is no lack of resources available to me when it comes to confirming the typical development of my little girl and my own physical changes. Week by week, I know exactly what is happening to my body and the baby.
I haven’t been able to find the same level of resources acknowledging my emotional and spiritual transformation. It seems that most of our culture’s energy is focused on ensuring that I’m a healthy vessel to incubate this kiddo for nine months. But that’s just a piece of it. I’m also experiencing what might be the biggest emotional transformation of my life. I’m not just prepping to give birth to a baby but I’m also giving birth to a mother. Wow, no one tells you that in high school sex ed.
Thankfully, perhaps partially because of my age, I’ve done some of “my work.” And I continue to do my work. I’m moving into motherhood with more self-compassion and a better understanding of Self that is more rooted in self-acceptance than I had previously cultivated in my younger years. Doing my own work and looking deeply into myself, has allowed me to own and accept my “rotten self” (nod to Dr. Brad Reedy) which includes my successes, my failures, and my love. I believe that because this process of looking internally and finding self-acceptance lasts a lifetime, it’s never too late to start.
I know with certainty that I won’t be a perfect parent. Just as there is no “correct” way to be pregnant or give birth, I am coming to the understanding that there will be no “correct” way to be a mother. Maybe that is why I find fewer books addressing the emotional transformation of individual into parent. But I have moved into this next part of my journey, having given up perfection, with the hope of being a fully human, sometimes flawed, sometimes joyful, and sometimes tearful mother. I’m going to be a mother in my own way and I’m not sure what that way will be yet. I think my daughter will teach me to be the mother we both need. Just as I have been beginning to understand a new part of my Self in these last several months, I’ll be growing alongside this child for the rest of my life.
And here’s my daily reminder to keep growing. There are so many ways—free and/or with monetary investments--to propel this growth. There are books, podcasts, groups, courses, you name it. Here at Evoke, we offer Evoke Intensives. Over the past few years, I’ve watched hundreds of individuals come to our Finding You Intensive. Not all are parents but many are. By investing in this program, each individual honors that their own growth is essential to the continued growth of their children and loved ones. We come together in the knowledge that this journey we are on will last our entire lifetime. As a mother-to-be, I am humbled to be a part of this process and to learn from our participants’ bravery as they choose to grow alongside those they love. To those of you out there who have crossed my path during an Intensive, thank you for your example. I hold it close to my heart.