“I will never be a mom” rang through my head as tears ran down my face. This reality sunk in. Was this even something I wanted? Is this even something I was capable of doing? Sometimes, it is difficult to take care of myself. How would I even take care of a child? I’m a failure. Or am I? This process was long and difficult, but I am here to tell you that despite your anxiety, your age, your relationship status, and much more, you can be a mom if that’s something you choose.
I can vividly remember playing with barbies when I was younger and thinking how perfect Barbie, Ken, and Skipper were as a family. They had it all, and it just happened for them. I couldn’t grasp that this was a fantasy, and that relationships and family just don’t happen overnight. It takes time and energy like anything else in life. But for me, it was easier to live in this fantasy, especially when it was a better option than my own family dynamics, and most if not, all families. If I believed it would just happen when the time was right, then I wouldn’t have to worry about this aspect of my life and I could spend more time on other areas. But boy was I wrong. I look back and realized my trauma and my anxiety contributed to putting many things on the back burner. I felt overwhelmed. I just wanted love and support and I coped with that by ignoring and dulling my pain and being co-dependent in my relationships among other things. But in the back of my mind, my person would come along and rescue me. He would make things all better. So, here began the vicious cycle of anxiety, negative coping mechanisms, co-dependency that I hoped was the real deal, and the guilt and shame that followed.
During all of this time, people were getting married and having families. I just felt stuck and wanted to make nothing into something. I craved love and wanting a family for the wrong reasons. I thought it would fix me and I would never be alone. But I felt more out of control and lonely than ever. I was getting older, and I knew I had to choose me.
How could I choose me when I spent so much of my life choosing others? I was angry, sad, and didn’t want to waste more time. But I decided, at the end of the day, that I needed to spend the time on myself. I started to get to know me and accept me. It felt good even though it was difficult. But it was worth it, even throughout the ups and many setbacks.
During the process, I wanted to give back and help others dealing with anxiety. I wanted to be able to guide and support our youth because I never had that, and it is so important. I signed up to be a mentor to a teen in foster care. I mentored her, but she also taught me so much about myself, my family, and my triggers. Mentoring wasn’t easy by any stretch, and there were a lot of times I wanted to quit, I was triggered, and I got too close. I didn’t realize this experience would take me on my own journey with my past and into the topic I had been avoiding; being a mother/mother figure. This unique situation gave me so much insight and valuable lessons and experiences. This led me to go onto foster respite and now foster licensure with the possibility of adoption at some point.
I never saw this for my life now. It wasn’t even a possibility or an option a few years ago. I thought I would always be a dog mom. I love being a dog mom, but I felt something inside of me calling for more. And I didn’t want to continue to not follow my heart because of my own insecurities and self-doubt. But as I continued to work on myself, the opportunity to give and receive love began to happen. Not in the way I thought or wanted, but in a way that I absolutely needed.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
- It is so important to focus on you first even when it feels uncomfortable.
- Life truly happens when we are too busy living it.
- There is no rush. As women, we think that we have to rush things. Although age matters for certain experiences, it’s not the end all. Go at your own speed and be gentle with yourself.
- Live your life on your terms. Disappoint others, but don’t ever disappoint yourself.
- Your family doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It is up to you who is a part of it or not.
- Your past struggles don’t define you or make you any less capable or worthy of being a mother and/or going after anything else that is important to you in life.
- There are many ways to be a mother, and none is better than the rest.
- If you choose to not want to be a mother/mother figure, it is perfectly okay.
- You probably already contribute to a significant and nurturing role, and that’s amazing.
- You are a strong woman that can be the leader of your own life. You need you the most. Mother that, and let your life unfold as you go! 😊