By Amie Mignatti
Each of us, as individual women, make a choice about when we have children and with whom. This can be a well planned out decision, or something that happens, but it’s a choice that was made at some point. Once this choice had been made, our entire life changes.
Major life changes take time to settle in, and having a child is one of the biggest there is. Change doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t come overnight; it’s a process and one that we have to personally work through.
Our pregnancies are generally filled with hope, laughter, love from friends, and dreams and wishes for our lives with our child. We then give birth, ride the love hormone wave for a few weeks, and then reality comes crashing down on us hard. We find ourselves lost, sad, overwhelmed with emotions, struggling with boundary issues with our partners, friends and in-laws, unhappy with our bodies, sleep deprived and perhaps even under-nourished ourselves. Some women need even longer to recover due to surgery and difficult births (I’m included in this one).
There is an immediate hormonal change that happens, known as postpartum depression, but I think that this phenomena can last longer, but doesn’t have a name. For each woman, the time after birth is different, as we are all unique and individual.
My own process was hard as I had my child very late in life, at age 39, and had lived a very rich, full and carefree life before my child. I fall into the unplanned child category (I actually never really had a strong wish for children), and so changing my entire life around having a child and having to stay in one place was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.
Once I had my daughter, my heart expanded with a love I had never known, and I was (and still am) beyond grateful for having her in my life. I accepted the change and was ready for it, but going through the process of changing was so hard. There were many times that I wanted to cut and run, but the responsibility of caring for another human being forced me to stay.
And so stay I did. I stayed when things got hard. I had to completely rearrange my self-employed lifestyle and what I did for a living to fit the needs of a small child. This came with a lot of tears, sacrifice and, finally, letting go. I had been selfish for so long because I could be. I never had to answer to anyone but myself, but now there was a family involved and a child, and being selfish had no place. I had to say “No” to opportunities and “No” to traveling for work. I had to learn how to slow down, focus on what is important, shift my priorities and define what being a mother meant to me- and then to live that.
This actually took me a few years to come to terms with. I look at myself now and see that I am fully immersed in my Mama role, that the shift of priorities over the last few years have finally settled into who I am now. I see the positive benefits this grounding has had on me, my relationships, my relationship with my partner and my life in general. I am more clear, more centered, more open and more responsible.
For a very long time before I had my daughter, I wished for love- for the greatest love to enter my life and to live with that forever. What I got was a child. The love was immediate, for sure, but the depth of what love is came to me much later- and I’m still learning. I’ve learned that change comes with a price, and once you accept it and go through with it, what comes out on the other side can be something that brings you much more than you could have ever asked for.
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.