I laid in bed staring at the ceiling 34 weeks pregnant with my second baby. My 18 month old was laying next to me watching another episode of Little Einsteins and I thought I was going to lose my mind, but at least he was still.
He snuggled up on my belly and I could feel his little sister give him a kick, as she always did when she could hear him next to her. My heart was happy to see the two of them interact before they had even met. I had that thought and then, I remember, stopping myself dead and questioning whether my heart was actually happy.
And then the tears.
I was happy because, truthfully, nothing in the world makes me happier than my kids and the love I have for them. It’s just that as happy as motherhood made me, it wasn’t fulfilling me at that moment.
Being a mom was and is everything to me. I can tell you honestly that I believe, more than anything, it was my calling in life. I love being a mom.
But, damn, it’s exhausting. It’s draining. It will suck you dry if you let it.
And I did. I let it take everything out of me until there was nothing left to give.
And I felt so very alone. I was in a city I had lived in for over 2 years and I still didn’t know more than a handful of people. The people that I did know and even my close friends far away, were at a different phase in their life. They would listen and chat , but I had no one in my life that just seemed to “get it”. And my God, at that moment, did I need someone who could just tell me they got it.
But, I thought, there must be a way to find a way out of this darkness, this loneliness. I had a lot of people in my corner and I needed to care about myself and my own situation half as much as they were trying so hard to care for me.
I needed to care about me. If not for me, than for my children because I knew I couldn’t keep the facade up much more longer…it was falling and I was only weeks away from bringing home another baby.
So, after nap time that afternoon, we walked.
I didn’t know where else to start, but I knew I needed to do something for me.
I plopped the baby in the stroller, I put an earbud in one ear and I put on some of my favorite music that I used to love to listen to.
And we walked for over an hour.
And that night, after my husband got home, I told my him I was going out. I went to Coldstone, got a chocolate milkshake and sat in the car. At first, I enjoyed the silence and then, I called my best friend. She may not be at the same phase of life as me, but she was still my best friend. And we talked for half an hour with no distractions – no toddler cries, no having to change diapers, no running off to make dinner or put a baby to bed. We just talked.
After my daughter was born, I continued to make it a point to go out and do things by myself and for myself. It didn’t matter if it was a drive, going to the movies, or just going to a store to browse. It was my time.
It’s what I needed to recenter. I needed to get back in touch with myself, remember who I was beyond mommy and wife, which were admittedly my two most important roles then and still are today. And in remembering, I found so much.
I found the girl that loves music and can relate to the words of a song so deeply I can feel it for hours.
I found the girl that gets lost in a movie, or a good book, that she really loves.
I found the girl that loves nature and sitting back to watch and appreciate it.
I found the girl that loves to connect and care for strangers.
I found the girl that loves to learn with a desire to always know more and be more.
I found the girl that really loves to slow down despite the fast pace her mind keeps her moving at.
I also found a girl that missed her family terribly when she wasn’t with them and that was okay, too.
And I discovered that when I found me again….I liked myself. I wanted to hang out with her more.
If I was okay with being in a room with myself, maybe others would be too? And that’s when I set out in attempt to find my village.
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