When my baby looks into my eyes and smiles a big two-bottom-teeth grin, I am so happy. And, in truth, that about sums up how unrecognizable my life and goals are compared to the life I used to have.
I was never going to have kids. I was a career woman. I was a feminist! Indeed, I was happily defined by my pregnancy-abstaining, career-obsessed ways. Hell, I even had published articles on the satisfaction of living life child free. Certainly, I was never going to be a stay-at-home mom. And I really did not want a destiny of sexless mom-jeans, sticky fingerprints and carpools. I did not want to lose my career. More than anything, I did not want to lose myself completely — my identity. Who am I if I am not a writer? Ambitious? A career woman? Am I even a productive citizen if I don’t leave the house everyday?
So, how did I get here? The (tired) stay-at-home feminist? It was a very uncomfortable, uneasy journey to happiness. Yes, happiness. Joy. And love, love, love.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sell you a ticket to “you can only be happy as a woman if you become a mother.” That, my friends, is total bullshit. If you are not happy, motherhood will not cure your blues. Motherhood is fucking hard work! I found my bliss before I became a mother. And that allowed me to open up to the possibility that becoming a mother was an adventure that would be fulfilling, challenging and, yes, wonderful.
For me, I had to get through a lot of other stuff before I was even open to the idea of motherhood. I had to deal with chronic health issues that had effectively drained me physically and emotionally. It is hard to imagine the idea of possibility when you are losing all hope. And I had to deal with some emotional baggage from childhood; the only way through it is to feel your feelings, as gut-wrenchingly awful as that may be sometimes.
So, in 2007 I walked away from my day job, as a reporter at CityLife, and I embarked on a quest to heal my body and (maybe) find my happiness. It scared the shit out of me but I was pretty sick with a hereditary immune system disorder (it manifests as a lot of hospital-level-serious allergies, asthma and other system problems). Managing being that sick had made me depressed, no doubt about it. But when I thought about it, I realized that there was a part of me that had always been sad. No matter how good life was for me, and it had been — great marriage, successful career, wonderful friends, financial stability — I was still always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was always looking around the corner for doom. If you’re never in the moment of happiness, how can you ever enjoy life? Indeed, I believed I was unworthy of happiness; that’s a terrible way to go through life. But when I quit my job in 2007 babies were nowhere on my radar. Not even on the map. In fact, I didn’t really think I was going to discover that much about myself. What I thought I’d do is start some new medical therapies, try running, do some yoga and drop some pounds. Maybe I’d ruminate on a few things here and there. I didn’t really have a plan, but if I did it was something like: Get healthy; Get happy; Go back to work; Done.
My naiveté was stunning…
[Please check out the rest of this post on The Tired Feminist.]