The road has been treacherous for me. Even “treacherous” seems so polite, so soft, so…civilized.
I’m a twenty-six year old woman, mother to four incredible humans, with more loss than I could have ever foreseen coming.
I had it all, you know? I was great at sports in high school. I made friends easily in college. I held onto multiple long relationships until someone finally saw how amazing I was, amazing enough to marry. I built many businesses and accomplished anything I wanted to, because I knew I could.
We adopted an infant while twenty weeks pregnant. We were the cutest looking family, you know? And I was determined to be the best wife and mom, to continue being the cutest family for the little squares.
It was the beginning of the seventh year that my marriage finally exploded into shambles, shattering everything I was trying to hold together, including my heart. The pressure to hold it all together was released with everything I knew.
It’s been less than a year since the unraveling of my entire self….but in those months, I have been grated down to my core. I have been below the rockiest of bottoms, on my face in the shower too many times to count, and I have five things I believe every single woman should hear. Five things I wish I believed eight years ago.
You. Are. Enough.
I know, I know. We hear this all the time. We read it on Hallmark cards and billboards and Pinterest pins. It’s etched into the fronts of journals and painted onto canvases to hang above our beds. But have you ever sat in the truth of those words? They don’t say…”You will be enough when/after_____.” They say: you are enough. Right now. Today. In this exact moment. You want to know what this moment holds for me? This moment I am sitting in an Old Chicago Pizza after crying for an hour straight in my car. The entire pizza has been consumed, by me and me alone, as well as a pint of hard cider. I yelled at people yesterday, in a way I have never yelled or talked to another human being. Today I threw Daniel Tiger on the tv for approximately four hours, because I am too tired to engage with my precious, deserving children.
And yet, I am enough. Right now. Today.
And so are you.
You do not need someone to complete you.
I thought I knew this. I was sure I knew I didn’t need a man or boyfriend or husband to make me feel whole. And yet I jumped into the first marriage I could, without giving myself or him or even The Vow enough time to really process the decision being made.
I have always felt this deep need to be wanted and rescued. Some women inherently experience this need, others don’t. I am one of those women that craves to be desired, that aches to be rescued, that longs to be told how unique and seen she is.
But I am learning now more than ever that I absolutely do not need a significant other to complete me.
You do not need someone else to validate your worth as a human. You do not need someone to tell you the things you should believe deep within.
It’s okay to say the F word.
It took me a few miscarriages, some various forms of abuse by various important people in my life, being a foster mom, and losing a baby via adoption to be able to freely say the F word. I used to feel so much shame but you know what I learned? Sometimes you just need to say it. Sometimes you just need to let it out, because otherwise you’re going to be punching walls.
You don’t need someone else to become a mother.
This was something I would have never wrapped my mind around even just a couple years ago. I doubt I would have even thought twice to consider it. But I am confident that it is true, whether you are religious or not…you can become a mom with or without a significant other.
I grew up in a very traditional community. Aside from traditional ideals and patterns, there is a very formulaic order we as the western society follow: go to college, start your career, buy a house, marry The One, wait five years, start having mini-me’s.
Some of the best moms I know are single moms who chose motherhood before they chose marriage or partnership. They wanted to be a mom, so they entered motherhood. Whether through surrogacy, adoption, or foster care, they became a mom and they are rocking it.
If you are a woman without a partner, and you want to be a mother, do it. Motherhood journeys are different and beautiful and chaotic no matter how they find you.
You are worth eye contact.
Is that the most simple thing ever? It’s something I want you to know and hear and believe. When you are with someone, whether a date or not, you deserve eye contact. You deserve the person’s attention, their listening, their understanding, their seeing you. In our current day and age, it is apparently acceptable to have our phones out and on loud and as our priority. But I am here to tell you that when you are with a person, you are worth their eye contact. You are worth being present with.
You are stronger than you believe and worth more than you could ever know. Of this, I am confident. Because if it is true for me, it must be true for you.
Maybe you don’t want to be a mother. And that’s okay too! You are more than a birthing machine. You are more than the need to be a mother. Did you know that? It’s okay. It does not make you less a woman. You are still strong, still worthy, still woman.
Emotions aren’t bad. We are often written off as emotional. But you know what I have learned? It is emotions and sensitivity that save us. The world needs our emotions, the world needs our sensitivity. Those are gifts we have been given and nothing to be ashamed of.
Like you, Natalie is a fierce believer in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul.