Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Part One : Before We Are Mothers

Modern Mothering : A Blog Series

Here’s the ground I’ll cover in this Seven-Part Series and I would love to hear back from you…

Part One : Before we Are Mothers
Part Two : The Mothers of a New Mother
Part Three : The Breastfeeding Stigma
Part Four : Stay At Home Moms
Part Five : Being a Biblical Wife and The Examples we set for our Children
Part Six : Making the Hard Decisions, Resting On Faith
Part Seven : Depression and Working Through It

Part One : Before We Are Mothers

At the beginning of each part in this series you will see this little note. I want to remind you that I am not trying to come from a negative space, or a judgmental - holier than thou - kind of place. I’m coming from the place of a mother who knows she has a lot to learn, that she knows she has a long way to go… and that she loves being a mother. I hope that you don’t take anything I say as anything more than my own experience and a heartfelt message. I pass no judgment, and appreciate all mothers and the styles they embrace. I hope to learn something on this journey and hear your stories as well.

Being a Mother starts long before we have children. I didn’t realize it at the time, but all my experiences would eventually be stories to share - or not share… it would be my advice, it would be my link to their adolescence.

All my decisions would shape the mother I would become and the way I relate to others.

When I met my husband, I didn’t expect that that not even 2 years later we would be married with our first child. I was 18 when we met, very insecure and had no intention of becoming a mother in that foreseeable future, although, I knew I wanted children.
I remember the day we took the test and it came up positive. I couldn’t breathe. A child… my child. And so began my tangible journey into motherhood.

I read so many books, trying to ready myself for the changes. Ready myself for what would inevitably be. I tried to document the sensations and emotions I felt.  Becoming a mother means realizing that the world is so much bigger than you. Realizing you are not the center of the universe.

I was sick for months, horrible morning sickness, back pain and swelling. I realize, after three babies, that it wasn’t so bad, it was normal… but the first time you are pregnant it’s overwhelming, or it was for me. I stayed away from all caffeine and fish, prided myself on my healthy lifestyle. I wanted to be the best mother ever.

In the last few months of my pregnancy, I was “offered” lots of advice. Some good, some bad, and some just ridiculous. It was a hard time in my life. Realizing that everyone had opinions and there was no way that I could please them all.  I was hearing things like :
Breastfeed … Don’t breastfeed … Co sleep … Don’t co sleep … Use a pacifier … Don’t use a pacifier … Boil everything … Don’t boil everything … Recalls … car seats … bumper pads … SIDs … animals

Some days it was more than I could bare.
I had all these expectations weighing on me… and all I wanted to do was hold my daughter. It seemed cruel.

I’ve noticed in the years since then, that it is cruel out there. Mothers are critical of each other and their choices. They point fingers and argue over who is the best. I have been scolded for choices I have made… and I have felt judgment. We all have. I think, what I would like to accomplish, is to become the type of mother that feels strong about her convictions, but that is understanding of each family’s choices. And that what matters is Love… not so much the details.

Check Back for “The Mothers of  a New Mother”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and hear your advice and insight… Us mothers need to come together and embrace our similarities and our differences so that we can be united and more supportive. I’ll encourage you to share here, in the comments or blog about it and share the link. Thanks for taking the time to read. It means so much


Amber Rosie on March 24, 2010 at 6:07 AM said...

Well, I am not a mother, but I am looking forward o reading this series of blogs. I remember you right before you were a mother and right after you found out you were going to be a mom. I remember our late night talks at a kitchen counter with hushed whispers. I didn't know what to expect for you either, obviously.

I like hearing your insight, because it seems so true, everyone wants to be 'the mom'. And when working through my labor and delivery unit I realized all the 'advice' out there and all of the different choices and lifestyles moms take. Usually it worked out just fine no matter what style of parenting they did- it fit the type of kids they had.

I hope to gain some things from your blog too, for whenever I decide the time is right to start trying for some of my own. Thanks for your honesty and pureness in the blog!

Meredith on March 24, 2010 at 6:45 AM said...

Wonderful! I think you captured it. It is funny after having my third about 7 months ago, the different perspective I had being pregnant with her than when I was pregnant with my first. You are so right, I remember thinking how cruel pregnancy was the first time around. I being one that is not so patient, having to endure 9, wait, they didn't tell me, more like 10 months of waiting, would be the longest, yet fastest time of my life. All I wanted to do was hold that tiny person and shut out all of the worldly instructions and perfect parenting advice. I remember trying to give advice to friends without kids after having my first. By my third, I no longer try to give advice, I say, you'll make it your own. You'll do what you have to do and that will be what is perfect. I actually shame myself for having been judgmental in the past, but have learned. I try to remind people to take it day by day , do what's in their heart and love as much as they can and then they will be the perfect parent. I'm excited to see what else you have in store!!! Thanks for this!

Beth Simmons on March 24, 2010 at 7:04 AM said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and am looking forward to the rest of this series. I love that you are giving us a peek into your thoughts and desires of being a mom. I know I felt overwhelmed as a young mom with the knowlege that I was responsible for training these lives in the right way. One thing I have learned is that God blesses our efforts in spite of our mistakes. I am so thankful for that because there is no way to not make some mistakes along the way.

Misty Wallace on March 24, 2010 at 7:17 AM said...

Thanks for sharing so openly. I had my first when I was 17. I had no clue, but I knew I wanted to hold my baby and be the best Mother I could. I had lots of people tell me to give him up for adoption, so he would have a better life. But God gave him to me and I knew he had purpose and now 15 years later I have, with help of my family, raised an amazing Man of God. And have had five more since then and I am still learning to become the best mother I can for each of my children because they are all so different. I agree there is too much judgement going on between mothers. we should all unite. We are all just doing the same loving our babies and doing the best we can raising them. I am excited to read more!!! You are a very talented writer and Photographer. I think you are truly going to bless many Woman with your blog! Thank you so much!!

full of bliss on March 24, 2010 at 9:47 AM said...

I am really going to enjoy this series. I remember so well the time just before I had my first. It was scary, exhilarating, daunting, and wonderful all bundled together. I can remember feeling so overwhelmed at the gluttony of information that was laid out before me. I tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac, pregnancy opened up a whole new level of worries and fears. One day my husband, who was sick of listening to my list of things that "could" be wrong with the baby or me, said "enough with all the baby books, websites and TV shows. You are on media lock down!"(~.~) You are so right about moms needing to be more supportive of one another and not so judgmental about child rearing decisions and ideas. Not every child is the same and not every family's situation or dynamic is the same. What works or has worked for some may not work for others. All I know is that getting through it all, pregnancy to where I am right now, would not be possible without much prayer and huge support from those close to me. I thank God for those times before my son was born, it taught me a lot about myself and taught me how to stand firm in what I believe is right for me and my family. Excellent post Johnna, thank you!

Maegan Beishline on March 24, 2010 at 6:37 PM said...

So well said, Johnna! I found myself nodding in agreement the whole way through!

Beverly on March 24, 2010 at 7:04 PM said...

such a sweet post and series. I love being a mother. I became a Mom at 35 it took us forever to get pg and so we are blessed to have him. We wanted a bunch of kids and it took a few years to come to peace with not being able to have more. I have mostly done all my mothering from my heart and not cared what anyone else said how it should be done. I did love all that went with being pg and i was so sick the first 12 or more weeks.

Laura King on March 24, 2010 at 7:17 PM said...

"Being a Mother starts long before we have children." That was my favorite line! Ditto to everything else, I think you already are that mother you seek to be!

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