Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Motherhood is NOT "Identity Loss", It's Identity CHANGE AND GAIN!

To Misty on Mamapedia:
"........For weeks I’ve been milk maker, soother, diaper changer and occasionally ‘lady who showers and smells nice’… I stress “occasionally” here.

I was already a mother when this one came along. So prior to a few weeks ago, part of my consumer friendly label read: lunch maker, wound kisser, soother, protector, clothes washer, and occasionally ‘lady who brings cupcakes to my class’. But as my new role emerges, all other things become cloudy and less integrated and I begin to wonder which of them still constitute ‘shades of Me’.

The thing about this that sucks so much is that it is a very lonely place. This happens to you and only you, while the people around you go about their usual lives without question as to how and if anything has changed for them. While I’m concreted to the couch or the rocking chair for 45 minutes at a time to feed a new baby, everyone else in my world cruises by. Off to play or live or reconnect with old friends or simply enjoy the Independence that comes with not being affected by a life altering event.

So I try to remember who and what the ingredients are for a well made ‘Me’. I scan the pages of things I’ve done, stuff I’ve written and people I’ve loved. Somewhere, is the combination of things that light the center of me. Somewhere is a complete list of nutritional value, warnings and tips for best consumption."  Quoted from: Does Motherhood Equal Identity Loss?
OK here I'm going to really make someone mad! Here are the 3 words that every woman needs to hear often: GET OVER IT or some say GET OVER YOURSELF!  In this I only hear the whining and complain that most women do 90% of the time. (I do it too)

Have I ever been there where I feel like I'm just a milk nurse, maid, and other not-so-glamorous things? YES I HAVE. We all have those moments BUT it is in those moments that our true identity, intergrity, esteem, and honor show forth.  It is our reactions that define us.

In June/July 2009, I was in the middle of my own personal pity-party. I had two children at home 23 months part (ages 3 and 17 months) and I was pregnant AGAIN (about 7-8 months along). I had been bitter about this pregnancy but knowing Abortion is a SIN (just because the gov't and women's lib says it's a "right" doesn't make it right), I wouldn't abort. I had pure hell with all three pregnancies...hospitalizations for dehydration, extreme hyper-emesis that shocked doctors, more IV's than you can imagine, to prevent my vains from blowing they put a "Pic-Line" in my harm and had me on IV fluid at home with a home health nurse coming to assist once a week. While in the hospital, I would blow vains and have to have new IV's inserted in my arms or hands every few hours.  This happened with all 3 children, except the pic-line was only with the last child.

I took my bitterness out on my family, then "put on face" in front of everyone else. It was in June or July, that while I was trying to get MY well deserved sleep, that my oldest kept coming to me wanting me to hold him at 0200 and saying his belly hurt. I kept putting him back into bed. Finally, I gave up and made a pallete in the floor near me, just so he could be near me and I could get MY sleep. As I watched him doze off, I closed my eyes and I heard him start to cry in his sleep. "Dear God WHAT NOW?" I prayed allowed. Then I looked at my son, his legs were curling up to his belly and he was grabbing his stomach. "Oh God! Help!" I cried quietly as I tried to assess him. Being the daughter of an RN, I knew enough medical info to be 'Dr. Mom'. As I checked him over, he showed all signs of appendicitis.

My need for sleep suddenly vanished! I quickly told my husband that I needed to take our son to the ER. He decided to stay home with our daughter who was sleeping and I would take our son. During the course of hours at the ER and ultrasounds, visit it was decided it was appendicitis. The military hospital we were at did not have a pediatric surgeon so we had to go by ambulance to the nearest hospital that could do the surgery. I tried to call my husband, his phone was on silent I tried for almost an hour to reach him. Finally I had to call a friend to go over and knock on the door to wake him and drive him down, since I had our only vehicle. When my husband arrived I was in tears and we started praying for a miracle.  I went in the ambulance with our son to the hospital while my husband and daughter followed in my van.

We got to the hospital and they decided to do a reassesment and CT-SCAN before the surgery. We were all praying and asking for a miracle. I remember one of my prayers in the ambulance "Ok God if you were trying to get my attention and humble me it has worked. Please don't let my baby go into a surgery that could harm him more." (My son has a lot of allergies, I was afraid of what could happen in the surgery room.)

During the time at the other hospital, God healed him. He started talking more, smiling, fever left, and the pain subsided. (Call it what you want but I give God the credit). The CT-SCAN showed no signs of anything wrong. My son was safe to come home.

That day I realized I HAD BEEN THE ONE WHO WAS CHILDISH. I kept focusing on me-me-me. I was pregnant and didn't want to be at time. (I'm so glad I had my baby now). It was all about how I felt and my needs, not my families needs. My husband had been faithly quiet and attentive to me like feminist say he should be...he performed like they wanted him to. Sometimes I wished he would have recorded one of my rants to give me a reality check!

Now I still have my "It's all about me moments" I think that is human nature.  But I realize that when it's all about me, it could take a life or damage someone else worse. What if I had just baby gated my son and ignored him? He appendix could have burst or he could have been worse or he could have died.

As for my feelings of just milk nurse, diaper changer, cook, maid: well IT'S ALL IMPORTANT. Every nose I wipe, every diaper I change, every boo-boo I kiss, every meal I cook, it ALL matters!

Each action is like the images below: 

 Each one seems like nothing, but they are each a cropped segment of the pictures below. Without each piece the following images would be incomplete:

Lilly Pond-Money, Sistine Chapel 3 images, and The Stroll-Monet.  All of these are beautiful images worth fortunes, but if you take part of the painting away it's worthless. Just a damaged piece of nothing.

It is the same with our children...each piece, each brush stroke-so to an investment in them.  The Bible tells us to die to ourself. In other words, don't focus on yourself all the time. Yes you must take care of yourself, but life shouldn't be all about you. If you are showering/bathing at mid-night, so what! Instead of thinking "oh poor me" think "oh yes, time in the still of the night". CHANGE YOUR THINKING. When you change your thinking habits you will be happier.

Sure it gets lonely at times, but when you are lonely. Encourage yourself some how. Call up a friend, husband or you mom and say "I've feeling down. I could use some encouragement. Do I really matter? Does all these diapers, dishes, snotty noses mean anytihng?" Get someone who will tell you the truth, not a friend who tells you what you want to hear. Keep books around your house that ENCOURAGES mothering...NOT FEMINISM. Get the magazines out of your house that tell you "You can have it all" because while you are getting it all, your husband and children are getting leftovers.

You call it Identity Loss... I call motherhood "A HUMBLING OF SELF AND A CHANGE IN IDENTITY"  Until you have a child (by birth or adoption) YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER! You cannot be IDENTIFIED as a mother until you ARE one. Sure it is a difficult change at times, but it's a change you have to make, unless you want to hurt your child's emotional well being or put it up for adoption.

(Yes you can hurt your child emotionally if you are always putting them off to the side like they are baggage. I will even go as far as to say that a child is better off in a poor family with love and attention than with a rich family that shoves them off to a nanny or fills their days with activities and things to substitute for parenting. These are the "real housewives" or the "desperate housewives" that the media falsifies to make the 'lowly housewife' feel worse... I say lowly housewife with ALL sarcasim. I don't have the things they have but I promise you this I'm happier and have more joy than all of them combined.)

If you are finding yourself in the middle of the struggle of motherhood vs self. GET ALL MEDIA OUT of your, magazines, website etc that promote having it all. Then listen to your maternal instincts...not your mind. Ask your husband what he thinks...listen to him without being offended.

(I'm not bashing those who must use daycare or a sitter to work. I understand 100% that circumstances can prevent women from being at home with their children. I am specifically talking about women who CHOOSE to have a career when they could scale down on spending and living, live in a smaller home, etc. I'm talking about those who CHOOSE me first. If a mother is working because withour the income, the family would starve or lose the house/car, then that is NEEDED. These are the women who can also work towards coming home. It can take years to be able to do but it can be done, with a lot of finacially planning and work.)

No comments:

Post a Comment