Through the Eyes of Love:
The Final Goals
I created a separate chapter for the last two goals: relearn the world and relearn yourself. In a heartbeat (no pun intended),you became a different person, and you will experience the world and yourself in a different way. In relearning the world, you develop a new posture, a new orientation, as mother, protector, caregiver, teacher, role model, negotiator, mediator, provider, and disciplinarian, among other things. In relearning yourself, I highlight the importance of your self-esteem, self-image, and self-talk, and the ways of improving, reframing, and altering the negative. I end the chapter with how family and friends can help you during this most exciting, albeit challenging, transition in your life.
Listen to intro
When I became a mother, many of my former ways of living life were disrupted. Prior to children, I had come to know the world in a certain way, a way I experienced first as a child, then as an adolescent, next as a single adult, and finally as a married adult. In all that time, I developed ways of thinking and behaving that reflected what I had collectively learned from living in the world. But on July 28, 1996, the world I had come to know changed, and I knew instantly that it would never be the same. It seemed only appropriate that I would have to relearn the world, a world with different routines, habits, companions, timetables, priorities, goals, expectations, and behaviors. Relearning the world is serious business that requires women to learn how to be themselves in a world changed by motherhood. This business extends far beyond a mere cognitive understanding that the world has changed with the presence of children.
When women become mothers they sense that the world is different, and that’s because the world is different. When women become mothers they are also perceived differently by others, whether they continue to work outside the home or not. Conversely, mothers perceive others differently based on how others relate to their lives as parents. A great shift takes place that causes mothers to see the world out of a new lens. This new lens tends to focus on life events and all the different things (and people) that may jeopardize their children’s interests, comfort, safety, and health. In one interview, a mother expressed how she became more conscious of environmental issues such as pollution and global warming since they were likely to impact her children as they grew up. In another interview a mother described how she became more grounded in her faith, and another how she became involved in community activities that had never before held interest for her. Women become different when a baby is placed at the forefront of their lives, and the differences vary greatly. What’s common among mothers is that they all relearn the world; relearning the world is a multifaceted process and a whole-person experience. That is, women relearn the world from an emotional, psychological, physical, social, and spiritual perspective wherein they appropriate new understanding of the world changed by the children who enter their lives. They develop a new posture, a new orientation in the world as mother, caregiver, teacher, role model, negotiator, provider, mediator, and disciplinarian.
Psychologically, I relearned the world in a way I never anticipated. The world seemed more threatening to me. Prior to children, I felt invincible and carefree. I had little to worry about and spent my days living frivolously. After children, I felt vulnerable in a way I had never felt before. I suppose I can equate this feeling to the adage “The more you have, the more you have to lose.” After Leigh Ann was born, I experienced a love so deeply penetrating that I feared its loss instantly and quite profoundly. Worry became secondhand as I sat beside her in the NICU and worry followed me home a week later. I worried about her health, and mine. I worried about our bills, and our future. When life settled down and Leigh Ann moved well beyond threat, I started to worry about things that could happen to me that would jeopardize her happiness and that of my other children. I became acutely aware of all the things that could happen, all the things that could go terribly wrong. Worry in a world that can take away our joy in the blink of an eye. Emotionally, I expressed this worry in tears and in a greater awareness of time and the precious gift of having it. I became appreciative of the smallest things as my introspection grew. I embraced daily the blessings in my life and expressed my love generously, both physically and verbally, as I expanded my view of the world.
As mothers reorient themselves in the world, they also assess (often unwittingly) their physical and social environments. In their physical environment, they determine which objects, places, and conditions need to be avoided, discarded, or preserved. As one new single mother shared, “Bars are no longer an option.” Several more mothers I interviewed....
Need more support?
If you've come this far and still have questions or need support in creating the version of yourself that feels most right, please register for a Your Way Back workshop and join other moms on this common desire to be fully present as a mom and a woman on her own life journey.