Ask a mom what it is to become a mother and you’ll see it before she says a word. Emotions ranging from love to worry, joy to hopefulness, exasperation to exhaustion will flash across her face in mere seconds. If her eyes well up, don’t be surprised, it’s a simple question with a complicated answer because it reveals the contents of her heart.
Becoming a Mother is surrendering your own identity to claim a role bigger than yourself. It’s a timeless experience that connects us to our ancestors and our children’s children. It transcends nearly every other thing we can do, lifting us to higher consciousness, and weaving us into the very fabric of life.
Not every mother’s journey is the same, but all are deeply personal. Some journeys are planned, some are unplanned, and some are nearly giving up before it finally happens. Some mothers rise to the occasion, some don’t, some find their way, some lose their way, but for most, becoming a mother is a hero’s journey, a return to self, an awakening to purpose, a deepening of commitment to live magnificently, and an invitation to live a life of love.
Becoming a mother may be an act of transcendence, but it’s grounded in everyday responsibility. It’s not a decision to make lightly and it’s not a role to fear. It’s natural and instinctive, but it helps if you know what you are getting yourself into to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead…
1. Your Body
Your relationship with your body will never be the same. You will know what it feels like to be a warrior, a champion, to create life, to nurture and nourish a baby from conception to childbirth and beyond, and then to give your whole heart away for the rest of your life. There is no comparison or reference. It must be experienced to be believed.
2. Your Marriage
Your relationship with your husband or partner will also never be the same. He will feel tenderness for you that he may have anticipated, but its depth will shift his perspective, and his vulnerability will motivate him to become a better man. In your parenting journey together, you and your husband will renew your commitment to each other, your children, and your future. If your relationship is solid and true, it will enhance everything good about it. If your relationship is not, it will magnify the cracks and expose the weaknesses.
3. Your Emotions
Being a woman is hard enough, but amplifying your emotions is almost too much. It’s a rollercoaster of worry, possibility, patience, tedium, and miraculousness. Becoming a mom is feeling the relentlessness of so much love your heart may burst, every single minute, of every single day. It’s the gratifying intensity of knowing you won the lottery for the rest of your life. It’s so much defense that you’ll wonder if you’ll ever feel at ease or sleep soundly again.
4. Your Career
Whether your plan is to work full-time or part-time, have a side hustle, or be an entrepreneur, a career that supports your journey is essential. It may mean achieving a certain title or role before having children, putting a maternity plan into place with your boss and team, or choosing a company that allows you to focus on your family without jeopardizing future opportunities.
5. Your Finances
Becoming a mother is expensive. If you don’t have resources or funding, it can cause guilt for what you can’t provide, put enormous stress on your marriage, and even ruin your retirement. You’ll need a sustainable budget, a growing income, a plan, and health insurance to provide safety, security, and nourishment to cultivate the very best foundation possible for your family.
6. Your Self
Becoming a mother means letting go of who you were…to become someone better. It’s a shift in identity that can expand or contract your life. The key is self-awareness. Understand your habits, motivations, values, and goals. How do you manage anger or exhaustion? What’s your outlet when you can’t cope? Do you have any unresolved issues or lingering doubts that may interfere with your ability to give your whole self to a child or participate wholeheartedly in their lives with courage, compassion, and pure intentions?
7. Your Trust
Becoming a mother means relying on yourself to rise to a very high-stakes occasion and you want to be in a place where you can trust your instincts throughout your journey. Can you consistently show up with humility, patience, gratitude, and focus to give baby what he/she needs, particularly when he/she can’t communicate in ways that you are familiar with? Will your husband contribute as much as you, support you in your journey, share his own journey, and are your visions for parenting aligned? Is your community and world a safe and abundant place that will offer your baby a hopeful future?
8. Your Network
Becoming a mother is not just about your body, your marriage, and your career, it’s also about other women, particularly mothers. It’s a means of discovering wisdom, appreciation, and relating to other mothers that come into your life at the very moment you need them. They have survived and thrived on their journeys and can provide lessons and companionship as you navigate changes, learning curves, and a new, and sometimes overwhelming, world.
9. Your Values
Becoming a mom for many women crystalizes their priorities, brings clarity to their ambitions, puts a spotlights on their family values, and re-engages their worldview. It’s hard to let things slide, in your life, your community, the world when you realize the interconnectedness of all life and your responsibility to the future. Your journey as a mother doesn’t just shape you, it can emphasize the preciousness and potential of life.
10. Your Home
Preparing your home for a baby is a mixture of some obvious must-dos and some modifications that are required over time. Yes, you’ll need to create a safe, welcoming, clean area for your baby to thrive, but you’ll also need to implement consistent routines that create an effective schedule, provide appropriate stimulation and rest for baby, give him/her opportunity to bond with Mom and Dad, and trust his/her new environment. It needs to be convenient, inspiring, manageable, and comforting for the rest of the family too.