Thursday, June 16, 2016

Motherhood: Woman in Transition


Walking the land at Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate with Baby N

Life has changed. My brain is slowly catching up with reality and it only feels right that I pause here. 

Just after my daughter was born I was in new mom survival mode, learning to breast feed, accepting (still accepting) that my time was no longer my own and all the other things that come along with those first few months of motherhood.  Luckily I had time off from work to concentrate fully on mom duties. I felt so competent at about 1.5 months in that I travelled to Hamburg Germany from Grenada on my own with Baby N for three weeks to visit family. There I learned to take a train, bus and plane on my own with her. I learned how to pair down the usual diaper bag mountain of things to a few essentials: diapers, wipes and change of clothes, so that it would fit in my handbag. I managed to travel with her and too many bags than I could carry at once, relying on the kindness of strangers to assist me when getting on and off of trains and planes on international travels. 

That was the first transition, learning that my life is not my own exclusively anymore, and, that with every decision I make an innocent being who is my responsibility will be affected. That is not a light load to carry and it only makes sense that it will take some time, experience and and a serious mental overhaul for that to become second nature (at least for me).

Now I have started to work again and am at another transition phase. Presantly it feels like a test. Working is not foreign to me. However, working and balancing that with the very real responsibility of motherhood and partnership is a whole different ball game. I was accustomed to being able to stay late in the office if that was my most productive time without thinking of anyone else. Now I am very conscious of the limitations of time, and that feels strange, this is where the looking back has happened the most, while trying to come back to something that was before, but which I now view so differently. Often my train of thought is "before..."  or "when I was not a mom.....". I have only recently articulated that I am mourning the loss of my old life.

This mourning of the old me ushers in feelings of guilt. It makes me feel as though I am ungrateful for the very rewarding and amazing present.  Having a cuddly smiling Baby N to wake up to each day has been my greatest blessing. To watch as she learns to do the basic everyday things I can't remember life without  like: rolling over, sitting up and eating food is fascinating. I am such a proud mom.


I am not alone in this state of transition and mourning and it has been beautiful to connect with other women about this strange and awkward yet beautiful time. Finding our "selves" in this changed reality, becoming mothers, wives, partners and single ladies. It must be a natural reaction. 

It is amazing how much  compassion and awareness I have for the other women in transition and with that same consciousness I can be so hard on myself. A friend recently reminded me that I must treat myself like I would a friend that I loved, with as much positivity, compassion and warmth as I can muster.  Things that I held as truths about myself have changed, they no longer fit, they don't feel relevant and I am in the process making sense of that.  Maybe life's changes, trials and transitions are a way of stripping away the superficial layers that do not serve the best version of ourselves. Perhaps we are not changing, we are our same selves, evolved.


Nature helps. It always does...

This weekend we visited a place where I have found a lot of peace (with the exception of the unreasonable amount of  sand fly bites I get):  Crayfish Bay Organic Cocoa Estate in the north western parish of St. Mark. I was introduced to it by going around the island with the Grenada Chocolate Fest team to meet with the festival's participants. There I met the estate owners: the very opinionated Kim and the soothing force that is Lylette.  
Carly and Lylette 
Lyelette
I love standing under the shade of the cocoa trees and feeling the gentle breeze as the tiny cocoa blossoms floating through the air like fluffy snow flakes tickle my skin . I love the conversations, the honesty and nakedness that this unpretentious environment draws out of me. I love having that moment of bearing my soul in the topsy turvy state that it is in, wondering whether anything I said makes sense, and being met with the understanding, nonjudgmental and genuine eyes of another woman in transition.