Is Motherhood about giving up everything?

I asked my best friend, Chandra, for feedback about my newsletter posts.  She wisely pointed out, “You talk a lot about how motherhood is the most important thing you will do with your life, and I think that is totally true.  However, in society today I feel like that can come across as "you have to give up everything about yourself and your career to be a good mom."  Which I know is NOT what you mean.” 

This is totally true, I do not mean to make it seem like your only dharma is to drop everything to raise your children.  However, that is what I did.  I took to pregnancy and motherhood and invested my everything. I quit my job.  All my interests related to birth and baby-raising.  I obsessed about cloth diapers, baby carrying, and breastfeeding.  I analyzed parenting styles –attachment parenting, gentle parenting, RIE parenting.  I read loads about homeschooling, unschooling, Montessori, Waldorf.  Basically, I dug right into my new Momma identity.  Nothing mattered more than me being the best mom I could be.  –And that’s still how it is- but I had to give up many things along the way.  After learning my son has Autism, I had to let go of the idea that I could be the perfect mother if I just tried hard enough, read the right books, or he had the right education.  Nico was about 14 months when I heard the call -–my dharma calling- to teach prenatal yoga and become a birth doula.   It was just what I needed to channel my motherhood love to guide other moms along the way.  I was able to step out of my mother identity, and take on a new identity as yoga teacher and doula.  This was critical for me.  Having this other identity, I was able to stabilize and make more sense of who I am as a whole person –not just a mom.  My deep passion for birth, pregnancy, and yoga, is a part of my personal journey as a whole person –including integrating my mother identity, and all the other hats I wear.  This is my Yoga of Motherhood journey, and I am so thankful for it.  Being the best mom I can be, and parenting the best way I can, has not been as clear as picking the right books and adopting the right parenting style.  It’s certainly not been about giving up everything about my career and myself.  Parenting has been a more difficult road then I ever thought, but without my dharma of birth work and yoga, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

 In the past few weeks, I’ve heard from you all expressing concerns about balancing work and baby.  Many of you are thinking about who you will be as a mom, and what will this transformation look like.  Each one of you is on your own journey, but I hope that what I share gives you some perspective.  Motherhood is a great dharma, but not the only one.  You may have multiple dharmas in your lifetime.  Each one with many challenges, tests, and joys.  Dig in deep, and you will grow in ways you never dreamed.