Reconciling "Me" with "Mama"

Growing up, I knew that I wanted to be a mom. I saw how my own mother nurtured us and was selfless. She was up when we were up and she was awake long after we slept. She was always making sure we had bagged lunches with sweet notes, and each of our friends had commented on how lucky we were to have that. My sisters and I knew we were lucky to have a mom that was always there. 

The things I don’t remember are what my mother loved to do beyond being a mother. I don’t remember her pursuing big goals or dreams, but I never felt like she felt like we were the cause of that. I don’t remember her going out with friends often and I don’t remember her maintaining much of an adventurous life beyond raising her children and keeping a home. 

This is not to disparage the lineage of the women who came before us, but we aren’t the same. We are women who are fierce and protective mothers, who actively seek better ways to protect and love our children, while understanding we must protect and love ourselves just as fiercely. I have dreams of being so many things beyond “mama”. 

After giving birth, my biggest struggle was finding out who I was anymore beyond just being a mother. It can take a while to find ourselves once again. We’ve devoted 9 months to nurturing a life and even with the support of a spouse or partner, the weight of being a mother is different. The connection we carry to our children is different, and we hold ourselves to a much higher standard than we do our partners. 

It’s okay to be a mother while retaining your passions for life. It’s okay to need a break from baby to be you, whether you need a couple hours or a weekend, we have to take care of ourselves first. It’s okay to respect and cherish the memories of the women who gave so much to provide us with better, and to then in turn provide improved examples to our own daughters. 

I can still be “me” while being “mama”, and in doing so I am providing the best version of myself for my children. 

Mehgan Jernigan
Mother of Two Boys

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