Mothergood Feature: Jacqueline, R.N
Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?
I’m your typical Southern California girl who grew up near the beach and decided to lay my roots down here as well. Sure, I went away college and was fortunate to travel internationally for a bit, but San Diego is hard to beat! I am married to the most amazingly self aware, thoughtful, hospitable, and sensitive man. We met through a church group that played beach volleyball on the weekends and we slowly got to know each other. I am a Registered Nurse part time, mother & wife all the time, and traveling beach bum not as much as I’d like. We live in our old, quirky & small beach home in San Diego with our little 8 month old, and it’s perfect.
What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? the most challenging?
I have an amazing family and fortunately had a mother than stayed at home with us while we were little. She was the girl scout leader, the carpool mom, the soccer mom, and everything in between. I had an idea that motherhood required sacrifice just by watching and observing my own mother, but really, until I had Dorothy, I had no idea. I am independent by nature and the transition to having a dependent little human attached to you all…the…time, is a big change for me. To be honest, it’s one I struggle with quite frequently. Breastfeeding was a whirlwind that did not come with ease. Dorothy was an amazing latch and drinker, but me- mom- I wasn’t a fan. Having someone attached and touching me all day, everyday was uncomfortable and very taxing on me psychologically. Don’t get me wrong, I still sobbed through the first bottle of formula I gave her out of guilt, shame, sadness that our bonding time would lessen, and probably something else too. Every month through my cycle, I’m a very even keep person; I have never experienced high emotions or big changes with my hormones. But, then came Dorothy. And postpartum hit hard. All the mom feels, all the time. I know you know what I’m talking about: in the same moment being extremely joyful as well as in shock or sad.
I’m naturally more inclined to holistic living due to my upbringing and was able to implement some options for hormonal and mood balance, such as encapsulating my placenta and taking supplements. I’m am open book if you ever want to know more, but for now, I’ll leave it at that. The combination of those, plus sleep training Dorothy so I started getting more sleep throughout the night changed everything, and I’m finally feel more myself again.
Although, pretty much any time she giggles or laughs at the silliest things, I feel more myself than ever before. One of thegreatest things about having Dorothy is guiding her to learn and discover new things without getting in her way. It’s really hard sometimes because I just want to do things for her that she isn’t capable of yet-so we can get out the door faster or get her bottle down quickly or actually brush her few teeth. But, watching her brain connect the dots, the way she looks at me when she’s proud of herself, and her general inquisitive stare are heartwarming. Maybe it’s because it brings me back to a place of faith and observation. She trusts me to set her up for success- whether it’s learning to walk, use a toy, or eat something new. And she constantly observes others. It helps me to sit a little longer in a simple space of trust and noticing that there are multiple ways to approach life, not just mine. I wish I could remember to slow down with her in every moment. It’s this tug of war with my heart where I want to give her the world and do everything for her, but giving her the tools to take on the world is her need. This idea of giving up what I desire for her needs, this idea of sacrifice, it’s weaved throughout her existence in my life. And I could not be more grateful for this gift she is giving me.
What does motherhood look like for your right now? what do you love about where you are? what would you change?
I suppose it will be a lifetime of this. Sacrifice. A push and pull. Gratefulness. Currently mom life is the best and also the hardest thing. I’m a working mom and I find I’m jealous of those that get to stay home with their little ones, and then, when I’m home a few days with her, I find myself wanting a few adult days to feed my brain, or even just some solo time to recoup.
The great thing about where we are amongst our busy time right now is that everything I am doing, I am passionate about. I love and enjoy being a nurse. I work in a ministry where I get to make relationships with the most amazing, surprising, and inspiring people. I have a business that helps people toward a health and wellness. Then, I get my amazing husband and sweet little babe on top of it. It’s a hard season right now as we are pressed for time with each other, but we are going through it together. Although, in August, my husband is done with night school and we are both definitely counting down the months until we get there.
Years ago I went through a book that has you make life mission statement and one of mine is that no matter what, my children will absolutely know and never doubt that they are loved by the time they leave my house at 18 and are off into the world. It’s my life’s mission and something I constantly think about to keep my priorities correctly ordered amongst all the things we have going on.
4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?
This is so tough. I struggle with this weekly. I love being a mom and want to identify as a mother in everything I do. But, I also feel a loss for who I used to be, or being able to do the things I used to do before her. Again, this active push and pull. I supposed it will be a lifetime of this and recognizing these opposing feelings, and voicing them to my husband, is healing and helpful for me now.
What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?
Maybe in the future I will be qualified to give advice, but for now I think the things I would write in a letter to my former self would be:
-Trust that the desires of your heart will be fulfilled and enjoy the moments you have with your husband, just you two for now
-Just because breastfeeding is the natural thing does not mean it is the easy thing
-Asking for help from your husband during the newborn phase is healthy for both of you, you to learn to let go a bit and get some time to recover and him to get bonding time & know he is capable of caring for the baby
-All the feelings, even the ones you don’t want to say out loud or admit, other new moms have been there so reach out to your friends and talk about how you feel. You will find unity and support in your mom tribe.
-This is a huge change and something you’ve never experienced, please give yourself some grace to struggle through it. That’s okay.