Are you someone who always knew you would have children? Or was it something that hit you later in life?
Maybe you decided children were not for you? Or you had to make a tough decision based on circumstances not to become a mother? Both potentially heart-wrenching situations.
I was one of those people who had thought vaguely about children and assumed I'd have one/some in the future, but hadn't really prioritised it until my early 30s.
My own journey to motherhood was a very intense and challenging time. My husband and I had to confront some hard truths and work through a range of emotions.
Needless to say, when I became pregnant - we were both ecstatic!
During the early days of my pregnancy a very close friend gave me a beautiful journal with a picture of a deer on the front cover. In the front page, she wrote:
"motherhood is like going into the woods, as it's a time when so much is unknown and unpredictable. Motherhood can be scary, frustrating and confusing but also full of amazing joy and soul changing moments. Don't ever underestimate the power of a mother's intuition. Follow that and you will find your way"
I thought the words sounded lovely and were heart-felt. I was touched by the sentiment and yet had absolutely no comprehension how true these words would be.
During my pregnancy I read a few books on conscious parenting, took my husband on a weekend retreat for calmbirth classes, went to all of our OB appointments, attended the pre-birth tours and lectures at our hospital, bought all of the things on our baby list, practiced pre-natal yoga and meditation, walked, nested, rested - and generally felt relaxed and ready, albeit impatient to become a mum.
And I was not ready.
Not ready for the sleeplessness, the big emotions, the exhaustion, the steep learning curve, the different advice and strong opinions... I was also not prepared for the joy, the immense love, the connection, the wonder, the newfound appreciation for my husband and my own parents.
I was not prepared for my ability to really enjoy simple day to day things that I would have glossed over in the past. I wasn't ready for how many things in my life changed and was surprised at how much I stayed the same. And I knew my son would be one of the biggest teachers in my life, but I was taken aback by how quickly his lessons would resonate.
My son is only 11 months old and I have already experienced many opportunities to solidify personal growth as a mother. He highlights how far I have come and also challenges me to implement my hard won beliefs - patience, grounding, consciousness, staying present, believing in myself, listening to my inner wisdom when making decisions, embracing my inner child, seeing the bigger picture in challenging situations....
One of the big lessons my son has taught me is how I need to keep taking care of myself while taking care of him. It may sound simple - but this has taken real practice and forced me to ask for help from those I love. I have had to confront my 'mother's guilt' and fears of my son feeling abandoned if I am not with him 24/7.
With this, I have realised how important my mediation practice is, how I need to carve time out for yoga, walking, journaling and coffee with friends. How essential it is for my husband and I to have time to connect, have fun and also make joint decisions about ourselves and our new family.
And you know what I have also realised? Motherhood is both an individual road and a shared experience. It bonds you with other women and it also allows you to see your own childhood in a whole different light.
And into the woods I continue - learning about myself, my son and those around me from a different perspective.
Amanda is a (reformed) lawyer turned holistic life coach, self-care advocate, workshop facilitator, writer, speaker, avid reader, nature lover, chai tea drinker and mother to a curious, active toddler. A spirit seeker who loves connecting with others on journeys of self-discovery, Amanda believes we can all find our own version of success and live an empowered life.