Growing up, I don’t think most people would have described me as bold.
I have always been an extrovert by nature, but also a “go-with-the flow” kinda gal. I often did what was expected of me, or much to my chagrin, what everyone else was doing.
I would follow the crowd as long as it wasn’t hurting others. I wouldn’t disagree with others in a conversation because I didn’t like confrontation or didn’t want them to not like me. I did have my own opinions and beliefs that I would occasionally speak to. But if they made others uncomfortable, I would usually just stay quiet.
Call it laziness, call it insecurity—to a degree they’re both probably true—but passivity was something that I’ve always struggled with.
As I got older, I became a bit more sure of myself—as one naturally does with age—but only to a point. I still had the propensity to “jump on the bandwagon” of doing things just because others did them.
Once I got married, I started to think more about how I’d want to raise my future children, and what I’d want to avoid. And when I was honest with myself, I realized that passing down a passive mentality was on the top of my list as something I wanted my children NOT to inherit.
As soon as the digital pregnancy test read “pregnant”, my vision for how I’d raise them started to become a reality—although I didn’t realize it at first.
I’ll admit that I had a relatively easy pregnancy. Most of the time—dare I say it—I actually enjoyed being pregnant. I know that isn’t the norm for a lot of women, which is why it caught me off guard. I’m sure that some of it had to do with fluctuating hormones, but I’m convinced a lot of it had to do with the new and overwhelming sense of purpose I found in pregnancy.
It was as though this is what I was made to do. And this new sense of purpose truly changed how I thought, acted and responded to life.
All of a sudden, I was forever going to be someone who would be teaching, loving, guiding, guarding and learning. And I wanted to do my best to be the best mother I could be.
I knew that if I really wanted to be the best mom for my kids, I would have to change my mentality and the way I approached life. I’d have to become less passive. I knew in my gut I wanted my children to have a mom who was an example by my actions, a mom they trusted and a mom they knew with every fiber of her being would protect and advocate for them. Essentially, I wanted them to know I loved them boldly.
The further I went through my pregnancy, the more I became what people call a “mama bear” — protective, strong, and sure. Three words that I would never have described myself as years before.
For instance, if someone would have walked up to me and touched my growing belly to ask me if I was having twins years—or even months—before, I would have awkwardly laughed it off. But now, I’d kindly let the stranger know that I would prefer to not be touched. Usually, they were understanding, albeit a bit taken aback.
I also found that not only did I have a need to advocate for my baby, but I also began to advocate more for myself and my desires for my pregnancy. I found myself advocating for my needs at work, and to friends and to family regarding our parenting decisions. I’d explain my boundaries for my family’s mental health.
Having this unbridled purpose in motherhood allowed me to stretch myself and step out of my comfort zone. I realized I wasn’t living for whatever felt good in the moment anymore, but I was protecting my needs, my baby’s needs and those of my family.
And this “new me” didn’t end with pregnancy. In an instant, when my baby was born—my whole world changed as I fell in love with my new little one. I became even more aware of my priorities. I became more confident and secure in my role as a mother. But I also saw myself from a more honest and raw perspective. I saw my selfish tendencies and insecurities as though they were staring me in the face.
I’ve come a long way, and I know I still have a lot of growing to do. But I credit motherhood for pushing me to become the woman I am today. Because somewhere between reading that pregnancy test and pushing that 7 lb. 6 oz. little boy out of me, I started to become the person I always had hoped I’d be.