A few months after the birth of my first child Millie there was a significant moment that I remember till this day. I was sitting on the couch during a feed with tears running down my face asking myself “When will this end?”. Our darling girl was born at 35 weeks weighing 2.3kg and I was told in order to get her to a healthy weight I was to feed her every 3 hours around the clock. I diligently followed without hesitation however this routine was now almost 5 months old. I was beyond exhausted and desperate to know when I could rest for more than a few hours at a time. Surely there was more to motherhood than mentally physically and emotionally surrendering everything for my child. I loved her so much that I pushed myself beyond my limits, isn’t that what mums do anyway?
24 months past and we welcomed our second daughter Lucia. The girls brought a love and light to our family which was beautiful, being a mum was all I ever yearned for, I even started my business well before the girls arrived so I could enjoy the flexibility once I became a parent- yet something was missing. Life was busier than ever and I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility I had at work and at home that i simply couldn’t keep up. In 2016 I got sick and was diagnosed with post natal anxiety which came as a complete shock to me as I thought I was coping- I was wrong.
What had been happening over the past 3 years was the gradual loss of my own identity. I wanted to be the best mummy, the best wife, the best business owner, the best boss I could possibly be and completely lost sight of the person I was for 33 years prior to having kids. I lost my spark, my raw enthusiasm for life, my passion for adventure, my relationship with god, my optimism, everything that made me Marie. Now I found myself trapped in a world of routine, everyday felt like groundhog day, my husband and I struggled to find quality time together, and even when we dared to be spontaneous and go on family holidays we soon realised that the craziness would follow us around the world anyway! Motherhood opened my heart to a love that I never even knew existed but I changed. I became more serious and I always worried about the wellbeing of the girls.( I think that part never changes) Lucia was constantly sick and suffers from severe food allergies which added to my anxiety. You see my life was already full, I simply didn’t have the time to reflect on who I once was, it was not important.
My doctor challenged my way of thinking and asked me so what do you do for fun? My honest answer was “work” to which she replied “that’s not my question, what do you do for yourself?” I didn’t have an answer. (cue ugly tears) no one had asked me that question in over 3 years and I caught a glimpse of who I had become. Once I accepted the truth I decided that I would take healthy steps to get myself back on track and begin my journey towards healing.
So in short the truth behind my 12 month Sabbatical is not only to raise $100k for cancer research through “Love your sister” it is also a vehicle for my own personal growth. I have given myself the opportunity to lose myself in the service of others for an entire year while discovering who I am all over again through this experience.
As I begin my journey collecting 2000 ceramic love hearts for charity and creating the artwork of my dreams, my wish is to also inspire others to action, to do something meaningful for themselves and to be curious again. Motherhood is a privilege and a gift and I couldn’t help but think, do we really serve our family to the best of our ability when we constantly put our own needs and sometimes our own happiness last? I often think of the airline safety demonstrations advising passengers to put their own oxygen masks on before we help others in an emergency. We are more useful to our family when we are at our best!
I know this blog post does not apply to a lot of mums out there, in fact I am surrounded by so many that make motherhood look natural and easy which I greatly admire. However the truth is I struggled, I lost myself in the whirlwind of raising a young family and even though I’m not there yet I am finally finding my own way towards being a more happy, balanced and contended mumma .. one ceramic heart and a time.
For more information about my “Love your sister” project and how to get involved please refer to my previous blog post or visit our website www.marieramosphotography.com.au