Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?
I am 23 years old, a wife, a mother, and a full-time sophomore in college. I was born in Colombia, raised in Jamaica after my mom remarried, and relocated to the United States five years ago. I was never the type to want to get married or have kids. I never even played with baby dolls or strollers, but then I met my husband. We started dating five years ago, and got married not too long afterward, at 19 years old. Everyone thought we were crazy, but we didn’t care—we were (and still are) so in love.
We were told that pregnancy for us would be highly unlikely, and if it did manage to happen, very high risk. A few years later, the biggest surprise of our lives (to put it mildly) greeted us in the form of our son, Solomon Bach Rogers.
2. What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? the most challenging?
To me, everything is fulfilling, from that first smile in the morning, to the last kiss goodnight. When my son looks at me with pure love, those are my favorite moments right there. What I have found to be the most challenging is dealing with my anxiety, periodic postpartum depression, and panic attacks that happen when I feel not good enough as a mother. They can come completely out of the blue when I’m sitting and staring at Solomon sleep. I begin crying, feeling unworthy of being his mama, like no matter what I do, I fail him. That’s something I definitely need to work on. Another thing is balancing school, motherhood, and being a wife. Whenever I don’t get an A+ on an assignment, I start freaking out, as if I have to constantly prove to myself that having a baby hasn’t stopped me from “succeeding in life” or “having a career.” This has lead me to being too hard on myself.
3. What does motherhood look like for your right now? what do you love about where you are? what would you change?
Motherhood for me right now is spending as much time as I can with my son, not stressing about keeping a clean house or doing every load of laundry, and soaking in every little moment that I get with him. One thing I would change about my motherhood journey is the amount of mom guilt I feel every day, such as thoughts that I can’t do anything right as a mom, or that I don’t deserve him.
Motherhood has given me a sense of confident maturity. When I was pregnant, I used to hide my belly in baggy clothes whenever I’d go to class. So, when my Calc Physics professor announced to the class when I arrived late one day that he thought I had gone into labor, I almost didn’t go back. I almost took the semester off because of how ashamed and embarrassed I felt to be pregnant in college at a young age. But now, I am confident. I love that I am now less focused on what others think of me.
4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?
Man, this was so difficult for me after I had Solomon. I was still wearing maternity pants, and had him attached to my boob all day and all night. I couldn’t shower or use the bathroom in peace. I didn’t feel human, and felt like I had lost my identity completely. I felt like I was “just a mom”. Even when I attempted to dress the way I used to before getting pregnant, I felt like a phony, and like I was trying to be someone I’m not.
When Solomon and I started to get into the groove of things, it got easier, and I started feeling like myself again. Slowly but surely I realized that I don’t have to be JUST a mom—I am Laura and I happen to be a mom. Of course he is my #1 priority when it comes to all life decisions, but I can still be me. Self-care is so important in the process of feeling like yourself again, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help and don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. A happy mom is a good mom, and if you’re a young mom, don’t hide your youth just to prove your capability to others. Be young and carefree—kids love that.
5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?
There’s no right way to be a mom. You’re going to make so many mistakes, but they won’t remember that. They’ll remember all the moments you played with them, read them stories, and gave them cuddles. The reason I didn’t want to have kids was out of fear of not being a good mom, and oh the joy I would’ve missed out on. And, for all my career-driven ladies out there, don’t let them tell you you can’t have it all!! There’s nothing stronger than a woman. When I got pregnant, EVERYONE assumed I was going to take a break from school. Yet, here I am—almost at the finish line. I’m exhausted, rocking dirty hair, but almost there.