That evening, I stared at myself in the mirror and decided to make amends.
I made amends with my new appearance because it was temporary.
I made peace with my sleep deprived state because I knew it would pass.
I let my emotions flow and stopped feeling badly for doing so.
I accepted all of the uncertainty in my life related to my career, body image, social life, and my parenting style.
For once, I understood that I needed to cut myself some slack. I needed to dig deep to find that humble part of me that did not need answers or validation from everyone. I was a new mother. My role was to learn through trial and error how to have a relationship with this tiny little person who was learning to do the same with me. I learned to empathize with my baby and not blame myself for every cry I could not console. After all, this was a brand new world to him and it would take some getting used to.
Miraculously, around this time I also found a Moms Group. My baby was two months old and I had made it out of the trenches. The daily challenges were still present but there was a newness about it.
Was it time? Was it experience? Was it the Moms Group?
Perhaps all of the above. Or perhaps it was the radical paradigm shift I experienced the day I surrendered to my baby’s emotions and my own. After all, it was on that day that I felt more connected to him than the day he was born. Our bond had solidified. I understood him. I learned that babies are emotional beings that feel and express themselves in the only way they can. It was the most amazing piece of wisdom that I had acquired in years: how to have empathy for even the tiniest beings.
It was only a few months later that, I embarked on a mission to help other women like myself to navigate the early joys and challenges of motherhood. I look back at those times that I struggled incessantly and feel an enormous sense of gratitude.
English philosopher Francis Bacon said, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because there is not an end. The tunnel is made of all the light and dark experiences we encounter. And our perspectives, beliefs, and expectations are what determine how dark or light the journey will feel.