This Mother’s Day, Don’t Hide the Dark Side of Motherhood
Mother’s Day has a long history, and it isn’t all roses. Before I became a mother, I didn’t think much about it, besides trying to pick a gift that wasn’t too cheesy, and that my mom actually wanted. Once I became a mother myself, I began to better understand the bittersweet nature of Mother’s Day.
There’s a reason we’ve dedicated a whole day to mothers, and it’s because the job isn’t always pretty. Anna Jarvis organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in 1908, after the death of her own mother, and then went bankrupt fighting the commercialization of the holiday. She wanted a day to honor women and their sacrifices for their children, at a time when women’s accomplishments were rarely celebrated.
For me, motherhood has encompassed just about every feeling from frustration to joy. With the immense number of Mother’s Day ads that come out at this time of year, the dark days of new motherhood can get lost. As you shop for gifts for mom, I’d love to tell a bit of my story and why Mother’s Day, to me, is so much more than a commercial holiday.
What I Did Not Expect While Expecting
I had a difficult pregnancy. I wasn’t emotionally, physically, or mentally prepared for what pregnancy would entail.
I had fatigue and heartburn the entire pregnancy, which resulted in perinatal depression and anxiety. I remember just feeling so alone in my struggles and begging for help at work and being told that “I was doing a great job.” I had a high-stress managerial position and I definitely did not feel like I was doing a great job. I would sneak out to my car every afternoon to take a nap because I was just beyond exhausted. Then, I had an incident with my heart and had to go to the ER. Altogether, it was just a lot.
Becoming a Mom
My daughter was born July 26, 2019 and so many of my pregnancy symptoms completely disappeared. Except anxiety. I was so freaked out about putting her down, what was normal, what I was supposed to be doing. I would be up for hours in the middle of the night, because, as it turns out, 45 minutes for a feed isn’t exactly normal.
My baby had a tongue tie that wasn’t caught till October when my daughter was turning 3 months - right around the time I was supposed to be returning to work. I remember calling HR, in tears, saying that there was no way I could return to work. I was able to work just a few hours a week in an auxiliary position, but my stomach would just be in knots the entire time I was away from my baby, especially with it being hit or miss if she would take a bottle. Then the 2020 Covid pandemic hit in March and I was furloughed. Indefinitely.
I sewed masks and started, slowly, to heal as I stayed at home and embraced my new role as a mom. My postpartum anxiety didn’t disappear, but faded with the extra time with my baby. Once the need for homemade masks went away, I began to put my energy into Waystone - having a creative outlet where I felt valued helped me find myself again. For me, lockdown was really a blessing and the beginning of a new stage.
Treasures from Lockdown
We would go on long afternoon walks during lockdown to maintain our sanity and as my daughter grew, she loved collecting items. The handfuls of stones, sticks, seedpods, and other treasures from our walks grew outside our front door.
You may know that here at Waystone, we make jewelry from peoples’ collections of stones. And while the idea of Waystone started at my wedding, I didn’t truly understand how much an ordinary stone could become a special treasure until I spent those long days playing with my daughter. The stones my daughter collected were beautiful to her, and as a keepsake of the times we spent together, they became just as beautiful to me.
Celebrating Mother's Day
Being a Mother is tough work. It comes with no vacation time, no lunch breaks, no personal space. On the one day of the year dedicated to moms, I would love to see every mother (and mother figure) feel appreciated. Breakfast in bed, a few hours to herself, and some handmade cards from the kids are all a great start. When my family wants to do something more, I tell them that a thoughtful, sentimental gift is what I want the most. Something that will help me remember the joy kids can bring – especially when I’m in a dark place.
More than anything, I want to do SOMETHING with all of those stones my daughter collected for me. This year on Mother’s Day, I hope to get a Lodestar Necklace engraved with our childrens’ names (yes, I had another baby, a son born last July).
You can make one too! Send us your special stone to our Denver workshop, and we’ll polish it and set it as a sterling silver Lodestar Necklace with free engraving on the back. It’s a keepsake that can be treasured forever, long after the last piggy back ride or Friday call for rent money. Plus, you’ll be happy to know that I’ll probably be wearing my 9 month old while I work on your order.
- Tags: Way of Life