From childhood to adulthood, I have always been somewhat introverted, shy and in constant need of approval. It was something that unfortunately held me back from so many paths in life and brought with it major stress and anxiety. In comfortable, familiar situations, I was able to venture out of my shell and live life the way I really wanted to. And years of working in customer relations provided a social outlet. But all in all, I still struggled with daily events such as shopping, meetings and parties.
And then came baby. Not only did pregnancy and arrival of my new baby provoke numerous conversations, it also forced me to let go of my social fears and anxieties. Suddenly, all the attention was on her (baby) which made interactions less uncomfortable for me. I was boasting a new mom glow and nothing else really mattered. I worried less about what others thought about me and more about what I thought of myself. Was I taking good care of my body? Was I going to be a good mother? All of my new worries and cares were healthy and less stressful. Things were definitely changing.
After settling into motherhood, my social life made it’s presence. Approaching other moms at the park and attending mommy meetups didn’t rattle my nerves as they may have in my previous state. There was something about the fact that we were all moms and we all understood each other on some level. However, it didn’t take long for the fear of judgment to set in. Moments where I felt my mothering skills were being scrutinized and laughed at, moments when others would deem me a crappy mom. The great part is, I have a little girl who is my rock. She always has a way of reminding me that those judgements don’t matter.
My daughter just happens to be a chatty kid, which bodes well for my social anxieties. I let her lead the way with her adorable one-liners, and suddenly I’m conversing with passers by. It is amazing how freeing it is to have that weight lifted – that weight of fear and silence carried throughout my life. And all because of baby.
We can all list at least one positive, personal change that motherhood has brought us, and this is one of mine. We’d love to hear some of yours.