Where in the world are you?
I live in a small town in Saskatchewan Canada!
Tell me more about you and your family.
I have been with my husband Mike for almost 6 years. We have been married for 4 years. We have two children. The oldest is our little boy Nicholas who is 3 and the youngest is our baby girl Aria who is 1. My husband works full time and I have been a work from home since we had our son. I work as a Labor and Postpartum Doula in my area as well as serving people in the city near me (Regina). We have been very fortunate in that we both have very supportive families who love spending time with our children.
What was your transition into motherhood like?
My transition to motherhood was really hard on a few different levels. When we had our son we felt very abandoned by a lot of our friends. It took months for most of them to even stop in to meet our son even though we were begging for company. I was more isolated then my husband [as moms often are]. I also didn’t have my drivers license yet, so I spent a lot of time hanging out at home. I was exhausted and overwhelmed healing from an unplanned cesarean section and dealing with a baby who wasn’t a good sleeper even by newborn standards. A couple months after he was born, we realized he likely had food allergies and so through a lot of trials, errors, and stress we narrowed his allergies down to dairy and eggs. I was nursing so this meant I couldn’t eat either.
However, through all of these challenges, my son was still able to light up my world!
He was such a happy baby and so easy going about most things. He loved to be loved by anyone and everyone so my husband and I were still able to enjoy regular date nights.
What sort of mother do you want to be?
I want to be a perfect mother to be honest! I want to meet all of my children’s needs emotionally, mentally, and physically. I want to be that mom who is fun and loves to play. I want to be the mom who is organized and dependable. I want to be the mom who feeds her children the healthiest meals possible and always has time for a bedtime story.
What do you think everyone else think of you as a mother?
I’m not sure. If I had to guess they probably think I am constantly trying to escape my children. They likely think I complain too much and that I’m too negative. They might think I’m really uptight.
What’s the one most important lesson do you want to teach your children?
I want to teach my children that their happiness matters! I think this is one of the first things we lose as we make our way through life. We get piled up with more and more expectations and responsibilities and we forget to take care of ourselves and nurture ourselves.
When does the feeling of “missing out on life” turns up?
I feel like I’m missing out the most when my husband and I have company and I have to go to bed early because my daughter can’t sleep without me. I also have that feeling when I see other women with successful careers who get those 8 or more hours in a day to focus on their work with little interruption. It’s hard fitting my work day in in-between reading stories, feeding children, and keeping house. That’s not to say I don’t see the positives in both those situations. I’m very thankful to be home with my children. I know that isn’t an option available to everyone. I also enjoy my extra cuddles and I know this stage only lasts so long. It’s totally possible to appreciate what you have but still “want it all” and feel like you are missing out.
What obstacle have you overcome [or still learning] since being a mother?
The biggest obstacle I’m working on is just continuing to grow. I’m always trying to do better, learn more, speak calmer, and be more successful.
In a single day, I find it’s hard to fit all of those different goals in. Trying to be a good mom, a successful business woman, good wife, and diligent housekeeper is trying at the best of times. However, it’s also what lights that fire under me! I find the challenge is both what inspires me and what overwhelms me.
How do you feel about your body now?
I respect it more than I used to. Before, I thought about having children – my concerns about my body were mostly in regards to appearance. I’m not going to pretend I don’t still care about how I look, but now I care more about my health. When I exercise and eat well, I do it firstly to be a good example for my children, secondly because I want to live a long healthy life, and thirdly because I want to look good. It’s something I’m continually working on. I gained 71 pounds with my son’s pregnancy. I lost 86 after having him. With my daughter, I gained 56 and I’m steadily chipping away at that weight now.
What do you think about postnatal depression?
Postnatal depression is the biggest reason I have chosen to be a labor and postpartum doula. The births of both my children were very traumatic.
I want to help other women avoid the postnatal depression that I battled with. I want to be there to support them and support them in the very emotional aspects of the journey to motherhood.
Should things not go as the mother hopes and she is battling with those feelings I want to support her by listening to her and providing resources.
I think often those feelings get dismissed because “Mom and Baby are healthy and that’s all that matters.” That emotional health gets put on the backburner.
Do you still feel that it is unsafe to speak your thoughts about motherhood? Why?
I think that when it comes to speaking my thoughts on motherhood, it’s all about who I’m speaking to. Mom groups are a perfect example, you can have a very supportive group or you can end up with a group of women who are really hard on each other. I’m lucky enough to run in a circle of people who are very open about both the challenges and joys of motherhood.
I love the women who can both say their children are the light in their lives as well as their reason for their evening glass of wine. That kind of honesty really helps us all feel like maybe we are not failing.
It’s a reminder that motherhood is hard and it’s ok to feel overwhelmed sometimes, but also that we can do it!
Your advice to first-time mothers.
My best piece of advice for a first-time mom is not to worry so much about “things.” Your baby needs YOU and not a whole lot more than that. Also, if you feel overwhelmed don’t be ashamed.
It’s normal and it’s OK to ask for help!
If you love this post and you can totally relate to Johanna, then comment below or to connect with Johanna about her work as a doula, check out www.littlebundlz.ca or you visit her on www.facebook.com/LittleBundlzDoula