“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure”– Joseph Campbell
I have to be honest here. I was not happy about those pink lines on my pregnancy test. In fact I started crying. I think I cried through my entire first trimester. Not just little tears. I’m talking full blown, uncontrollable sobbing. I cried in the nurses office for my first appointment when she greeted me with a big smile and “congratulations.” I didn’t want congratulations, I wanted condolences.
Becoming pregnant felt like a death knell to my life. It seemed I was trading freedom, contribution to the world, sleep and quiet for screams, poop and pain. It felt like I was losing myself. I thought becoming a mother would steal my identity as a woman and a person.
But here’s the whole story. (I deeply believe that the stories we tell about ourselves either empower or harm us.)
I gave birth unmedicated in about nine hours laboring at home for most of that time and the hospital with my husband doula for the last three. Giving birth in a way that I chose and hoped for definitely made me proud. The strength and trust I brought to that experience made me realize that I have resources within previously untouched.
Then the sleep deprivation hit. And it continued. Even after my son’s first birthday he was still waking up 4 to 6 times a night. There were a lot of long days and nights that I just wanted my old life back. I started becoming a person I didn’t recognize.
There were days when I wanted to scream. There were days where I did scream. I felt anger and frustration so powerful I didn’t know how to handle them. There were days that I hated myself for how I felt and behaved. I was terrified I was turning into a horrible person.
So I started searching for anything that could help me. I discovered mindfulness through a mindfulness summit created by Melli O’Brian from Mrs Mindfulness (you can access the summit here http://bit.ly/1TzWFR5 the whole month of October 2016). This retreat and the podcasts by Tara Brach really saved me during this time. I reached out to other mothers, I took my baby to my faith community every week. I used cognitive techniques learned from my Masters Degree. I created rituals for myself. And eventually, I climbed out of my abyss wiser, stronger, more compassionate and determined to grow.
Becoming a mother hasn’t made me fall in love with motherhood like others have told me it should. Instead becoming a mother is the earthquake that shook open my core and unearthed desires, passion, dreams in such a vibrant, intense way I never will go back to the woman I used to be.
At first I didn’t recognize myself in these dreams- I was confident, strong, creative, determined. I was a leader. But as my son grew, my ability to mother him grew and my sense of who I could be in the world grew too. As I was forced to grow emotionally and spiritually, I began to recognize myself in these new dreams.
Before my son and before stumbling deeply into the abyss, a I felt numb, confused and purposeless. I didn’t take risks, I lived “carefully” afraid to try things for fear of failing. Now my life has become alive. It is vibrant, intentional, hopeful, creative, determined. My life is transformed. I am transformed. This is the inspiration that led to this blog, website and my six week “Mamas Transforming” program.
That is my story. Now that I have shared mine, I would truly love to hear your story. Do you have a story of descending into the abyss? What treasure did you stumble upon there?
Share your stories with me below in the comments section. Share my story on Facebook- you may never know a mom is struggling and feeling alone. Sharing our stories can help her.
To learn how to create stories that inspire and support you rather than cause suffering, sign up for a complimentary 30 minute mini session with me here: http://www.lesleyyadon.com/calendar/