It’s totally cool with me if you don’t want to cross the bridge. The bridge to anything, really, but in this case into motherhood. I want you to know your truth and from one side of the bridge, motherhood can look like it doesn’t fit. Or it shouldn’t fit. And if it doesn’t, that’s perfectly fine. You are no less an outstanding woman. But if you sometimes hear the whisper of ‘maybe’, it’s worth looking at what keeps you from crossing, what is in the way and whether crossing is right for you. Truth is often buried under fear. Like, pretty much all the time.
Note: There are tons of fears and concerns about motherhood and here’s my take: They are all legitimate and valid. None are shallow, stupid, ridiculous or whatever. If it’s something that gets in the way of seeing your truth, it needs to be examined. I treat any and all of them with love. There is no judgement here.
In working with and interviewing loads of wonderful women in Maybe Baby, it seems the bulk of hesitation around embracing the idea of motherhood is identity (who I will become) and change (what will be different with the rest of my life). (I’m talking about aspects of both of these in this series.) These overlap and offer plenty of topics that cause concern, confusion, some shame and anxiety. You know, the stuff that keeps us stuck.
Many women are afraid of who they might become if they become moms. It ranges from a minor concern to paralyzing fear that what you care about now (or what you don’t like now), you might feel differently about post- kiddo. Why? Because if you’re in the ‘maybe baby’ camp, ambivalent or unsure, the idea of motherhood rocks the foundation of who you know yourself to be. The uncertainty and confusion is compounded by well-meaning, ubiquitous platitudes about it being “life changing” and “never having loved so much”. Neither are comforting nor insightful to a woman on her ‘maybe baby’ journey. These are vague and foggy, much like what it looks like from the ‘non-motherhood’ side of the bridge. (In my pre-mama and no-way baby days, I found such comments offensive.)
I invite (and help) women to set that aside.
We have a deep fear of betraying who we used to be and it’s at the cost of who we want to become.
It’s totally cool if you don’t cross the bridge. You’re just as important and valued as those who do. Just make sure not crossing is indeed your truth.
There are some cool ways to examine this and get to the heart of the matter. We tease it out, find its wisdom, make peace and then decide if it feels worth keeping or preventing you from crossing the bridge. It’s an insightful process but I’m going to fast forward to the bottom line:
Any leap requires faith. Faith is trusting that your desires, after having crossed that bridge, will be what you want and need when you are there. The thing is, you can’t fully know this until you’re there. Hence: faith.
Let me give you an example:
One woman I worked with has a thriving Virtual Assistance practice due in great amounts to her tenacity, ambition and drive. She was afraid of losing that drive and that edge in motherhood. What she came to trust is that if she were to feel differently at some point post- baby, that it would be the right thing for her and what she want and needed at that time.
We fear something will change- that we’ll change, but we’re doing so before we know what our desires will be. Trust and faith in yourself is huge here. If your desires do change, I invite you to trust yourself and that this will be because they will be in service of you. And in mamahood, even if the deck gets reshuffled for a bit, you’re still you.
Another example is from a woman I worked with who is a mover and shaker in high fashion. She was deeply concerned about having to hang out with people she wouldn’t normally hang out with because their potential kids might be friends and that she’d end up in a minivan. She was ashamed to admit this. After looking at it and through coaching she realized she might be grateful that other people would be helpful in carpools, cheer for her kids in soccer games, invite them to do things… that her kids would have friends. She was afraid of becoming someone she didn’t want to be but came to trust her core wasn’t likely going to change. And that if she did end up hanging out with some of these people, it would likely be for reasons she appreciated.
This isn’t about reframing your fears so you can numb out your concerns, go with the flow, obey convention, or give into expectations. It’s about finding what is true for you. If upon examination your ‘maybe’ to motherhood is leaning towards ‘yes’, then these fears point directly to what we need to work on, learn from and make peace with. It might be that you learn your fears are protecting you from taking a path your soul doesn’t desire. In which case, sweet relief! Or it might be that your path to motherhood is not as clear or obvious as it seems like it is for everyone else.
Knowing 100% usually isn’t part of the equation for women who have ever been ambivalent or unsure. And that’s ok. Have faith, your truth is there.Registration for both the Maybe Baby Group Course and the brand new Maybe Baby Self-Study, open August 25th.