Lao Tzu said “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”
I fell in love with Lao Tzu in college and have found his teachings speak truth to several different chapters in my life. I even strategically place his quotes in my husband’s lunch when I think he needs a little push of support.
The quote above strikes me as important in the transition from person to parent. For years, you are an independent version of yourself. A series of moments that define and redefine self lyrically colors your life for years until one day you become someone’s better half. You then become self in relation to the other half.
What happens when you become a parent? At birth, my daughter did not care about my less than winning athletic history. She was not even a bit concerned with what college I attended. My social status had no bearing on what she needed from me. And yet, my social status changed completely with her arrival.
At first, there was excitement and then the truth that life had changed forever began to set in. My husband and I spent much of her first year sharing our feelings regarding how our identities changed with her presence. At first it was such a struggle. We fought it tooth and nail and truth be told, we did our best to try to maintain a social lifestyle. I can’t say that it was a chapter in our relationship that either of us are very proud of. There was fighting and paralyzing guilt and miscommunication based on intense levels of sleep deprivation. At times it felt like we were trying to force a circle into a square. One day, we realized that while we didn’t have to let go of our identities as individuals, we did need to make space for a new identity: Mom and Dad.
The transition of person to parent is what led me to find a redefined version of my passions.
I loved children but becoming a mother was the hardest thing I had ever done. Everything in my history suggested I would bounce back to my old self but I was not that type of mom. I was the loaded-dishwasher-equals-success kind of mom. It nearly killed my husband.
My daughter’s pediatrician asked once if I wanted to hurt or kill myself or the baby. I responded with an emphatic no and she said I was fine. Yet, I didn’t feel fine. I could not put what was wrong into words. I loved my child and loved being her mom but I was just stuck. My thoughts were cloudy and I struggled to determine what my new life would look like.
As I walked this journey, I realized that I was not alone. There are a lot people in between the extremes. Women who fall between the bounce back and the rare postpartum psychosis need someone to acknowledge the challenge in the transition to parent. So, I earned my certification as a postpartum doula and founded Village Raised Postpartum Support. My goal was and is to bring about honesty and acceptance for your journey and support the transition from person to parent. I focus on both parents, families and support networks because while we all know that it takes a village to raise a child, we often forget that parents also need village support.
Together we continue to make space to become what we might be.