“Every day I am a mother, a piece of me dies … ” — So goes the opening line to a recent post on Mom Babble that’s capturing the hearts of moms everywhere. And while those words may sound a bit depressing at first, when you read further, I promise they’ll capture your heart, too. Because as Mom Babble creator Mary Katherine Backstrom so eloquently writes, it’s only when pieces of us die that other parts of us spring to life — the good parts.
Backstrom tells Babble that this was the first thing she wrote as a writer, back in her early days of motherhood; but she’s since shared it, as the message still resonates.
“I was a new mom, in the trenches,” Backstrom shares. “I think it’s a chrysalis of sorts, becoming a mom. Certain things have to die off to make room for beautiful changes.”
So what dies off exactly? In her post, Backstrom says that her baby son is in his high chair and while she cleans the floor, he hurls more food down onto it.
“Rising up inside of me is a piece of my heart that is angry and impatient,” she writes. “And then I catch my son’s eyes — bright and bubbling with laughter — and that angry little piece of me dies.”
And when she hears her son’s cries on Saturday mornings, well before the sun rises, she says, “A piece of me longs for the days when Saturday meant sleeping in until 10. Then I remember: mornings are Nugget’s best time. When he tries new words and flirts with his mommy. And that piece of lazy longing dies.”
Other things that “die” with motherhood include longing to be skinny and fashionable again, as well as have quiet independence. Instead, she sees her body as the strong and beautiful vessel that made her a mother — which is something that formerly skinny and fashionable woman wanted so desperately. And instead of peace and time alone, her days are filled with giggles and pitter-patter of tiny feet across the kitchen floor.
“Motherhood has such a strange dichotomy,” Backstrom writes. “It is life-giving and exhausting. It constantly exercises my faith, tests my patience, and stretches my heart. But, as a result, my faith and patience are stronger. My heart is bigger. And although sometimes I still reach the end of my rope, my rope is getting longer.”
I, too, dream of the old me. The old me who slept in on weekends and enjoyed happy hour on Fridays and shopped when she wanted and had hot coffee at her leisure. But that girl, that woman, longed so much to be a mom. And now she is. And she doesn’t sleep in or drink hot coffee much, and she hasn’t had a minute of quiet in about nine years, but she wouldn’t trade it for all the lattes and happy hours in the world. Yes, a few pieces of me have died, too. But there is no void where they once were.
This post is a especially poignant for new moms, as Backstrom was exactly there when she wrote it. And now, a mom to two kids (Benjamin, 4, and Holland, 18 months), she says that when she looks back, becoming a mom is a lot like learning to swim.
“Swimming is fun. Pools are amazing,” she tells Babble. “But when you are thrashing around in a panic, trying to figure out up from down, you can’t really pause to appreciate the beauty in those moments. We all need to remember that when we see new mamas struggling. They just got thrown into the pool. Don’t tell them to ‘enjoy it.’ Jump in and help!”
Yes! I could not agree more.
And now that she’s a bit more seasoned in this motherhood thing, Backstrom wants to let other brand-new moms out there know that the light is coming.
“I used to joke that the light at the end of the tunnel would probably be a freight train,” she shares with Babble. “But mothering really does get easier. It’s important though, that we not try to do it alone.”
Backstrom ends her beautiful post with this message: “And then the piece of me that doubts I’m doing this “mom thing” right … it dies, too. And I’m left with gratitude. And a floor covered in waffle bits.”
That’s the most important part to let die — the self-doubt. Once you can let that go, motherhood is a whole lot more beautiful. Let those pieces die, let the light shine in, and know that you’ve got this, mommies.