Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Identity as a Mother

June 26, 2007

It's been almost impossible for me to find my identity as a mother. It seems like the world always encouraged me to be more than "just a mother" and while I'd love to be a working mom, I just don't have the mental or emotional capacity one needs to work that specific field successfully. So, in a way, I feel like I'm a failure for only amounting to making babies and watching them grow up.

I hate that the world has made me feel this way. My church encourages my lifestyle and tries to buoy me up to feel as confident as possible in my area of work. It just doesn't seem to matter how many children are brought into my family, or taken out of it, I just don't feel like a mother in the general sense of the word. Honestly, the only times I've actually thought "This is what a mother is supposed to feel" are when I'm laying in bed with Gracie as she falls asleep at night and when I held each of my newborn babies close to my heart right after they were born.

The absolute misery of having a baby ripped from my arms has made me quite hesitant. It's made me question my abilities as a mother and my overall character. I know all the right answers to my questions ("Why was Gus taken?" "Because he was perfect and all he needed was a body." "Was I a bad mother to him?" "No.") but it doesn't automatically give me the peace I know it should. However, I think this is the challenge of this life. We learn the things that are true to help us through this life, and we work with our own spirit to overcome the natural man as we aspire to be like Christ. It's makes total sense that my body has not caught up with my brain. But how grateful I am for the opportunity I have to choose the right and become perfect so that I may see my son again someday.

The last Gus anniversary did me a world of good. I feel like I was given a great amount of peace about the whole issue, though it's still an ongoing battle. But the things I've learned from losing Gus can only make me a better and stronger person for Gracie and any other children we might have.

I've finally become brave enough for us to start trying for another baby. It's going to be a process, but it's the right decision for our family right now. I'm going into the whole thing with nothing but good thoughts, realistic expectations, and a whole new plethora of knowledge. I plan to be healthier and work to control my emotions more than I've ever tried before. Who knows if that will make a difference but I feel good and like I'm at least starting off on the right foot.

I'll chronicle my journey as best I can because I think this will be a great thing for me to look at in the future. I expect a battle, but I also expect great rewards out of all the hard work I plan to put in. I think the hard work is the answer to me really feeling the power and responsibility that's been given to me as a mother.


Mike and Katie said...

Mel you amaze me. That is all I can say. This has had to be an incredible decision to reach and I'm sure it has taken a lot to come to this. You have so many people that love you and are pulling for you and your little family. Love you tonz and are anxious to follow this new endeavor.

Lyndsay said...

You are not alone, Mel! Lots of love coming your way! :) I am so happy to hear this news.

grandmasmith said...

I'm proud of you! You are always in my prayers. Much love, G

Amy Legler said...

You are amazing. I love you.

Kelsey said...

Melanie, you are doing the HARDEST job in the world. And it makes me very sad and slightly upset that someone or something has made you feel like less of a person because you don't go sit in some office for 9 hours a day.

Before I had kids, I'm pretty sure I thought that being a stay at home mom was an easy, sweet gig.
However, now that I have kids, I know that there is no truth to that whatsoever!! It is so mentally and physically taxing. With a typical career, you get to walk away every day and leave all that work stuff behind you. It's only 8 hours a day 5 days per week. But as you know, the career of mothering and caring for a home NEVER allows you to take a break! (even if you take an evening off, you've got to listen for the phone in case the babysitter calls) And the fact that you are raising children and been through as much as you have been through and have not completely lost your mind is a true testament to how strong you really are.

Melanie, I truly admire you and the job that you are doing. It is a job that I simply have not been able to do. I HAVE to go to work. Why? Because I need the break. Children are so exhausting. Now, maybe I'm a crappy mother, but I happen to think that anyone who has kids and can't admit that raising children can be extremely difficult and frustrating is full of crap. It's not all roses and ponies, and I believe that moms who portray their home life as being completely full and perfect are feeding themselves and everyone else a load of crap.

I admire and appreciate your honesty. Please KNOW that you are doing the most difficult job in the world, and please don't let anyone else with a "career" AND a family life make you feel less about yourself. Like I said, those of us with careers outside the home are the ones taking the easy way out. You, and all other career mothers are the ones doing the most important and difficult work that this life has to offer.

Keep it up. I really do admire you for what you do. And I don't just say stuff like that. ;)

Rachel said...

You are a great mom and are doing a great thing. I just quit my job and am struggling with the transition, but I know it is for the best. I am excited to hear that you are trying again. Best of luck. Love you and thinking about you!