September 28, 2022
“The day I started listening to my instincts is the day I found lasting joy in being a mom.” When I read that advice from our next Light and Love mama, it made me smile! I adored getting to spend time with Alexandra and her sweet son. She spoke so passionately and shared so deeply and it is an honor to feature her in this series.
What does being a mom mean to you?
Before having my son, I thought of motherhood as a job, a consistent task that you set your mind to and accomplish one day at a time. But now, I see that being a mom is a constantly evolving position, dependent on the stage of your child’s age and needs. In the beginning, you have to be pretty controlling as you keep a newborn alive, but from that point on your grip needs to be gradually loosening as you help them literally and figuratively walk away from you. You go from holding their body, to holding their hand, to walking alongside them as a mature adult. It’s important to help your child transition through these stages while still signaling that you are a safe, loving friend who wants them to progress and succeed. Being a mom is a deeply humbling role, but it is deeply satisfying in a way I don’t think many other human accomplishments are.
Tell us about your motherhood journey
My motherhood journey was deeply impacted by my prenatal experience; during my pregnancy I suffered from severe, hormonal anxiety. By the final months, it was so debilitating that I barely left the house for fear of my many paranoias. The very moment my son was born, and I heard his first, beautiful cry, was the moment that my anxiety washed away like a cleansing rain had driven back all the fear and shadows. From that day on, I have blessedly not experienced hormonal anxiety as a mom, but the experience changed my life.
After my days with a newborn began to take shape and I had more free time, I began to start researching prenatal anxiety. I found that it affects up to 1 in 5 pregnant women, to varying degrees of severity. I also found many holistic methods of preventing and treating prenatal anxiety that my doctor never even mentioned once. I felt hurt and angry that something as easy to explore as nutritional deficiencies (which now I am almost certain I had based off of other symptoms I was experiencing) were never even considered, and some of the medication that was recommended to me was actually quite dangerous for my baby. From that moment on, my entire worldview shifted and I began to question what I was bringing into my home, putting into my body, feeding my family, and accepting as normal part of society.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before becoming a mom?
I wish I would have known how much capitalism has affected and preyed upon our identities as parents in America. Everyone wants to sell you their baby product, baby guide, baby book, baby gear, and I spun around in circles for the first year of pregnancy + motherhood trying to figure out what I really needed to raise a child well. Turns out, you actually need very few material goods, and most of those you can find easily secondhand. I was insecure, sleep-deprived, and an easy target for advertising, ESPECIALLY from the folks selling parenting “tips and guides to help your child thrive.” Now that I see more clearly, I really believe that this constant barrage of information and advertising has caused many American parents to completely lose touch with our instincts. So much generational wisdom has been lost, or commodified past the point of recognition, and it is causing parenting in America to become much more stressful, expensive, and anxiety-inducing than it needs to be. I wish I could go back in time and spend less money but more time meditating, holding, and praying over my child before deciding what he needed.
Advice to new moms?
Absolutely trust your instincts. You will fear that you won’t have them, or they won’t be correct, but when you are confused on which way to go, take a deep breath of that sweet baby scent on your little one’s head, and trust yourself. It sounds difficult to believe, but your intuition is your best guide, it is informed by biology, and it will lead you on the right path 95% of the time. Put down Google and internet parenting forums, close out the “parenting courses” that everyone is selling these days, and take the time to introspect on what your gut is telling you to do with your child. The day I started listening to my instincts is the day I found lasting joy in being a mom.
What is something you do just for yourself? How do you take care for YOU?
I find an intense amount of joy in rummaging through jumbly little antique shops and scurrying home from estate sales with car-fulls of treasure. My house looks a bit like a magpie’s nest, with lots of random curios from various centuries (the older the better) hanging all over the walls. My form of self-care is staying up late with a glass of wine and putting dozens of nail-holes in the drywall while I rearrange my ever-growing art collection to the sound of Greta Van Fleet guitar solos. It is a fantastic dopamine rush.
Tell us about a moment when you were in awe of yourself as a mom?
Breastfeeding wasn’t an immediate success for me, but once it finally clicked around 4 months and my son’s growth and weight took off, I was intensely proud of myself. I have always been small-chested, which used to be a teenage insecurity of mine, so it was incredibly healing for my self-image to watch my breasts nourish my baby.
A moment you were in awe of your child?
Just in the past few weeks, reading has finally clicked for him and he is so excited to bring me his favorite books and asks me to read them to him over and over again. I just love seeing the light in his eyes as he enjoys a story again and again as if it is the first time he has ever heard it read. It inspires me to have more wonder and unashamed enthusiasm in the things I enjoy.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Alex and I am the mother of one chubby-cheeked little boy. I was raised in a Christian homeschooling family, and I want to pass this tradition down to my son and raise him with a strong faith but equally curious mind. I believe that Christianity, at its roots, affirms compassion, curiosity, and kindness towards others. I hope I can pass this down to my son as I raise him in my religious tradition.