The Space Between
There is sometimes a confusing period of time as a new Mom that no one really talks about. I was reminded of this recently when speaking to a mom of a 3-month-old and trying to reassure her that what she was thinking and feeling was completely natural and normal. I wish someone had this same conversation with me when my twins were 3-months-old.
Having children is the most beautiful, blessed experience and there is no more incredible feeling than meeting your child for the first time. It’s a life changing experience in so many ways, but not everyone talks about all of the ways in which it changes your life.
In talking about this with my new mom friend, it brought me back to when I was in her shoes. I loved being a mom to my new bundles of joy, but it felt odd to leave behind a previous life that I knew well and where I felt safe and comfortable.
Before I had my babies, I had been a teacher. I knew that job. I had been doing it for so long, that every September I easily slipped right back into the routines and enjoyed the camaraderie I had with my fellow educators. As a new Mom, there was no comfort zone—this was uncharted territory in my world. I had experience with school-aged children, but not babies! At school, I had a principal and other educators to guide me, validate me, and support me, but at home by myself with two babies, there was a lot of second guessing myself. At times, I felt like I was stranded on my own little island.
Then, when I had down time, I would look on social media and see my former colleagues doing things together, and although I personally still felt like part of the community, in my heart, I knew that that particular chapter had closed for me. Maybe not closed forever, but I knew when I was ready to go back to work, it would not be in the same school with the same group of people.
I think of this period as “the space between” because it is the period of time where new moms are navigating their new purpose in life while trying to hold onto who they were before kids.
The mom that inspired this article is also someone with whom I do community theater. She was very active in our community theater company prior to having her baby and is now questioning when she will ever be able return to the stage. I assured her that with each stage of your baby’s life, it gradually gets a little bit easier to re-connect with yourself. I started doing theater again when my babies entered their toddler stage, but took smaller roles knowing my time commitment would be limited. Just last year, I started accepting more challenging larger roles as my children are now ages 6 and 4.
I also encouraged this mama to find a mom’s group where she can be around other moms who are going through the same parenting stages at the same time. That was one of my biggest mistakes—not joining a moms’ group sooner. When my boy twins were a little over 2 and my girl twins were about 10-months-old, I found a support group for moms of multiples. I remember attending my first meeting and as each mom went around the circle sharing stories, successes, and challenges, I was thinking to myself, “These are my people! I have found my people!” I can honestly say that starting on that night, I discovered not only a sisterhood of moms, but a second family.
So, my message to new moms who may find themselves “in the space between” is to not go it alone. Find support, don’t be afraid to talk about what you’re going through and know that you will eventually navigate through this space and still be you!