The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
I was 22 when I became a Mother, I remember her laid on my chest by our midwife as they worked to make her breath. My words sang “I cannot live without you, I will not live without you.” She gave out a whimper the moment our warmth met and I knew then I was changed. The blood within my heart now beat not for me but for this little girl upon my chest.
“I cannot, will not, live without you”. Did I really say that? I asked a friend who had attended my birth, if these words sang through me as we waited in a whirl of watching for our daughters breath to meet her body. “Yes, yes you did” she replied to me with tears engulfing her eyes.
Those words built me but also crumbled me… to love someone. To be unable to live without them…
But what I didn't know, is how I wouldn't want to live with myself in the postpartum months to follow, the battle of self judgement id inflict on myself. The words “you're not good enough” repeating as a skipped record. With this thought the memory of myself back on an end of summer day comes to mind. Pacing in anticipation of my husband coming home from work, my heart weary with a fussy baby on my hip. Counting the minutes until I'd hear the truck pulling up, nothing could soothe her. Not my breast and she wouldn't nap. My mind spinning, I snapped. Holding her out from me raising my voice I said “I cant do this”. I couldn't do another minute, I couldn't do another moment waiting for the door to open and my husband to be there.
This emotion. This defeat, felt as someone stabbed me in the heart. I felt worthless to my first child in these moments of overwhelming unrelenting exhaustion, and as much as I relished in her being, over joyed to be her mother, I felt as if I was a joke. I yearned to be a mother I had pictured.
In this picture I had the perfect birth, I pictured the days of newness with a baby to be spent with such self value that id never come down from the oxytocin high. What met me was the low. The newness wasn't enough, and the yelling of my voice of saying “I can't do this” to my newborn child shattered me. I handed her off to my husband who came in seconds later and as I walked away I thought this is not how its suppose to be. This feeling of being a bad mother ate at my core. This feeling making me feel unworthy and as if I didn't want to move from the shadowy place of self doubt which led me to the opposite of hide. I knew I had to fight. I had to fight to be worthy. In her eyes and in mine.
As my daughters first months past, I grew, I learned, I gave grace, I found joy, I found self worth. At this time I felt complete,
From a hard birth, and a push to evolve in motherhood, I felt settled in being here with no more than just us. Just the three of us. Her first year came and past too quickly and I suddenly found myself holding a positive test. Leading me to know our journey was about to change and so was my motherhood.
I spun in anxiety, I didn't know how it would unfold. I loved where we were, and I froze. I waited with an anxious anticipation of another birth and another shift of motherhood. He came on a spring day, his birth made me feel as a warrior. I didn't know the defeat that would follow, the spiral I would fall into with nothing to grasp to get up. I felt as if I'd been battered and bruised barely standing on parched ground. The months grew dark and my fight to continue was weak. Adjusting to two felt near impossible. The day finally came, I was rocking my son to sleep his body depending on me. I was numb, my heart wasn't beating for me, and it was weary to continue beating for my children. Tears ran down my cheeks as I cradled him and in that instant I felt so sure that I didn't want to continue my life, it felt peaceful. This jolted me, and as I looked at my son the words of my first came to my mind “I cannot live without you”… “they cannot live without me”. I laid my son down, I stood and walked straight to my husband, “I need help” I said. And this began my journey of healing.
Self doubt about not being enough of a mother began to be less. I fought, I grew, I loved harder, and I found deep connection. Not only connection with my children but within myself. The ground surrounding me became less parched and filled with wildflowers. Our life began to feel settled, but with anticipation of what is next? A year had past since my son was earth side and here enters another positive test in my hands. This time I had confidence, my heart grew as my womb did. I felt different, the mother developing within me was one I liked. I saw how my children interlaced with my belly and it made me stronger. My mama wings spread and I leapt. Our second baby girl arrived, she came with such ease. I waited for the clouds to come but instead the ease turned to joy. I greeted this new mother with such pride, “hello there, I've been waiting for you. You've done it, you've found you're good enough”. I had found the value that my children had seen and see.
So to the new momma (or even the second or third time around mother) know you are good enough! Fight to make yourself feel good enough. Transform into self worth, for you, for your children.