Katie doesn’t have any experience with this topic—that’s why she’s opening up to all of you in hopes of learning more!
I was talking to a friend recently about the concept of true self. Do we have a true self or is it just a made up representation of how we present ourselves to the world? OR is it how we’ve learned to view ourselves based on the worlds opinion? OR is it the psychological concept that we are true to values instead of self? (I love this kind of stuff). Maybe it’s all of that combined, plus other constructs I’ve not thought of yet. A question that I constantly revisit is, “Are we in a cycle of finding ourselves or losing ourselves?” It’s interesting that when someone does something considered morally ‘bad’ they’re considered as getting lost or pulled away from their true selves. And vice versa, when someone does something morally ‘good’ then that’s considered as their true selves coming to the forefront.
I think we’re seeing that the sense of ‘self’ is extremely vague, skewed, and can change.
Another close friend and colleague once went through an exercise where he was asked to describe himself. We usually always start with our identities - job titles, hobbies, life roles, etc. In this exercise, he had to keep talking until he was no longer saying the different things he did, but was truly describing himself. Try it; it’s really hard!
One of the biggest identities people cling to the most is being a parent. If you have children, that’s typically the first thing you’ll say when asked to describe yourself. I’m slowly starting to add that to my vocabulary. I’m no longer just a fur mama; I’m a real mama. Whoa. And thinking about my future kid is constantly on my mind, as I’m sure it is the same for most parents. I feel this sense of responsibility and accountability that I haven’t felt before. I’m already feeling like this kid has changed me and I even even met the thing, yet! I can’t imagine what the next several years is going to be like.
I don’t feel like my whole life’s intention was to be a mother. I don’t feel like my long-lost dream is to be a mother.
It’s just part of me. It’s now a huge part of who I am but not all of who I am.
I genuinely hope this doesn’t offend anyone reading. I know there are so many people who struggle with infertility and health issues that don’t allow them this ability. I know there are so many different ways to be a mother and each and every one has its beauties and struggles. I want to be sensitive to the fact that some people do dream of being a parent and I respect that whole-heartedly! I also want to acknowledge those that don’t want to be a parent. I typically write to a more general audience, but this particular article can be taken very personally. I hope you all understand my bigger picture.
What I’m getting at is this. Yes, I’m unbelievably excited to meet this baby and get to know all the amazing things about it. But I’m also excited to see what I become, too. I hope to become a better person not only for this child, but for myself. I think I’m going to learn a lot more about myself than I ever knew before. I think I’m going to grow in areas that only this child can help me see. And that’s the point—to allow our life experiences to shape us and mold us into better humans.
So, while I’m adding a new identity to my ever growing list, I’m also trying to keep myself first. Motherhood is going to be a predominant part of who I am but it’s not all of who I am. I hope I can share that with this kid, too.
I guess this is my first letter to my bump:
Become whoever you are and let all of life’s experiences, both big and small, shape you into the person you are meant to be.
We may not know what “true self” truly is, but maybe the beauty of it is that we get to decide for ourselves.