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Mama’s Manifesto for Creatives

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mamasmanifesto

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a creative soul. If it wasn’t coloring, it was getting lost easily in books upon books when I was little. And if it wasn’t playing “make believe”, I could be found baking cookies, playing outside building forts, or going on my own adventures deep in the woods. I’ve always had an urge to explore, create, and use my imagination. It’s been a fire that’s needed very little tending. Usually just provoking it with an arts and crafts activity lights it up just fine, which is why it was incredibly surprising to see this part of me disappear during the first few months of pregnancy.

 

For days at a time, my mind would seem altogether blank unable to think of anything at all. I spent far too much time zoned out on Netflix while I nursed the morning sickness and scrolled Facebook mindlessly looking for something to grab me, inspire me, anything.

 

This went on for months and I can’t completely say it’s completely gone. The days seem to be getting better, but this being my first pregnancy has beckoned me to lean into the waves of highs and lows and releasing control of what to expect, how to plan, and how to proceed and how to take my own medicine more often than any woman ever really wants to.  (You know what I’m talking about!)

Talking to other moms seemed to offer a bit of insight, but nothing really gave me the hope or answers I needed, a beginning look into the future of motherhood. No one ever has your answers fully and can provide the certainty you so desire. You have to learn how to lean into the uncertainty and discomfort, take care of your own heart and your baby’s the best way you can, and trust your intuition to do what feels good for you.

 

Adding the layer of entrepreneurship to this wild ride became overwhelming most of the time too. Not only was I facing the ups and downs and unexpectedness of pregnancy hormones and morning sickness, but I also still ride the waves of the self-doubt to excitement and back again of being a business-woman running a heart-centered, service based corporation. At times, this seems insurmountable. The ups and downs of entrepreneurship alone are enough to make any sane person want to quit.

Add the void of feeling like yourself, the mood swings, being too sick to do anything else but lay on the couch, and watching your peers soar past you is enough to make a mama-to-be say “screw it” and throw in the towel altogether. And there have definitely been days where I’ve said those words, but for some reason, that doesn’t seem like the right answer.   I’m still not sure if that’s hard-headedness, pride, fear, or intuition. (Discernment + hormones isn’t an easy combination.)

Some days I don’t know which way is up and other days, I start to feel pieces of the usual me resurface almost as if to say “we’re still here”, which gives me hope that maybe that person still exists somewhere and will come back to stay for good.  But, even now, I know a deeper truth.

These days are going to go by so fast.  Before I know it, a babe will be here and before I know it, these next 6 months will feel like but a piddle compared to the rest of my life.  And the old me I miss isn’t ever really going to be the same.  Life as I know it is about to change me in ways I can’t even begin to imagine.

I’m already feeling much more called to my center, to my mothering, to my feminine energy that I’ve never really tuned into, to this little life that is getting bigger every day. I’m much more emotional, more apt to tears, and experiencing deeper connection with this babe and my husband every day as we grow our little family.   There’s a new piece of me that’s growing along with this baby and I haven’t been nourishing her at all. In fact, I’ve been trying to actively avoid her.  I haven’t known how to approach her, how to speak to her, how to give her what she needs because I don’t know who this woman is yet. 

Fearful that I’ll become that woman that loses her sense of self when she has a baby, I’ve held off getting too attached to motherhood or sinking too far into it. I’ve tried to carry on as if pregnancy wasn’t affecting me, when in fact it was (and is) completely changing my world. And as I’ve found out the gender of the baby, seen my husband cry happy tears as it becomes more real, buying our first little outfits for the little one, I’m starting to see this resistance as something that can’t be avoided.

Things are changing. And they’re changing big time.

This is how change always is for me. I resist it for a good long while. I like to play the “I’m stronger than this” card before I’m willing to truly surrender. I avoid. I deny. I hold onto my old way of life until I can no longer resist the waves of change that are upon me.   Call it hard-headedness or maybe determination, but nothing highlights this stubborn pattern of mine like becoming a mom. I think I can beat it back and hold it down, but there’s something new beginning to emerge and it’s scary, exciting, tear-provoking, and heart-swelling all at the same time.

 

I’ve beaten myself up because I can’t do what all the other pregnant moms can do. I’ve torn myself down because I can’t grow a business with the same gusto now that I’m growing a baby. I’ve talked shit to myself trying to coax myself into zones of creativity and productivity when my body (and brain) has simply wanted to rest.  I’ve tried all the usual tricks that usually work like a charm to “snap me out of it”, but pregnancy is showing me it isn’t something you can control, fix, or change. It’s its own force that does what it wants, when it wants.

 

But it was last night, the first night that I wrote our sweet little one that I realized I was trying to deny this new role that is beginning to emerge. I’m becoming a mama. And even though this pregnancy was planned, I guess I thought things wouldn’t really change until the baby got here, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m coming to know nature has a way of working your heart as it works your body. Your heart always knows the transitions it must take to prepare for a change.  It starts building love and attachment and oxytocin long before your baby arrives. And try as I might, you can never go against Mother Nature. She’ll win every time and for that I’m grateful because when it comes to being a stubborn woman who’s bound to do things her way come hell or high water like me, you need a pretty strong force to get you to bend.

 

So, I’m looking at this new mama Megan wondering who she’ll be, who she wants to be. And knowing it’s not about having all the answers, but learning how to nourish this part of me to emerge, to support her as she grows and baby grows, to get to know her, to tune in and create space for this part of me to exist instead of trying to deny her presence.

 

As I was at the book store tonight, I was searching, searching, searching for a book that talked about the rituals and practices for mamas to be to start nourishing the mother that’s beginning to emerge. I was seeking guidance of how to balance this new you with the current you. How do you nourish both because both are important? The person I am, I’ve fought hard to become her and she’s a pretty cool chic, but I have no doubt this new mama Megan is going to be a pretty cool chic too. I wanted some guidance on integration and calling forth this new part of me, but there was nothing to find.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but as I left the store with two new baby books, I started thinking… why not create your own method? Why not experiment nourishing the mother and the businesswoman? Why not create space for both of these courageous souls to exist, to speak, to receive the attention they both deserve?

And so, that’s what I’m going to set out to do; to create nourishing mantras for both of these pieces of me, to create nourishing pre-natal touch and massage to connect with baby, to pray for baby, to write to baby, to create a desire list for the business-woman, to help her set goals, to help her create a doable, relaxed, and flexible plan for this next year whether it goes as planned or not, to ensure she doesn’t have to disappear just because mama Megan is joining the party too because I can assure you she’s scared to death she isn’t going to have enough room to exist.

 

I’m not sure what’s going to happen from this experiment. I have no idea if it will be successful, but what I do know is this…. I never function fully when I’m denying some part of myself. For 3 months now, it hasn’t really felt real that I was pregnant. I wasn’t showing. I didn’t know what baby would be. Once the morning sickness, fatigue, and brain-deadness started, I started to resent being pregnant which brought it’s own types of guilt.

 

I’ve struggled for weeks trying to figure out how I could run a motivating, inspiring business and help others find joy when joy felt a long way away from me. And then I reminded myself, it isn’t about sharing what you think people want to hear. It’s about sharing your truth, just as it is. That’s all we really have anyway.

 

All this has taken a shit ton of permission. Permission to not enjoy pregnancy. Permission to not feel positive. Permission to complain. Permission to rely on my husband and be babied (well, that part is actually quite fun!). Permission to not be as productive and creative as I usually am. Permission to let plans go. Permission to sink into this new role as a mama. Permission to have days where I do nothing but lay on the couch. Permission to get excited that I felt well enough to cook dinner and count that as “win”. Permission to slack off as a wife and trust my husband would still nourish me.  Permission to let my work slow down even though the “should’s” and “supposed to’s” were in my ears most days. Permission to face the fear that my business growth may not be what I want it to be as my body focuses on baby. Permission to experience the fear of falling behind. And sure as hell the permission to do less than other pregnant women and find peace with it.
I was so scared of sharing this truth with you because a part of me felt as though I would be being a Negative Nancy and that you expect more from me. Hell, I expect more from me. I was scared I wouldn’t have enough room to grow as this mama to be the way I need to or change business course as I see fit with all this change ahead of me. But more so, I was scared of being vulnerable when I feel so unsure of what the next day will bring.

 

But I guess that’s the thing about vulnerability. It’s always coupled with uncertainty, but it’s also always rewarded in one way or another because the truth is, nothing good ever comes from denying a piece of who you are. It isn’t good for the soul and it’s been weighing on me.

There are many transitions ahead of me this next year with a baby on the way (some I can’t even prepare for); a move within the same month that baby arrives, getting settled at a new Air Force base (hopefully Stateside and somewhere close to family), adjusting to being a mom, keeping a watchful eye on my marriage’s health and wellbeing, running a business, wanting to see my dreams actualize, creating space for new and different dreams to exist, and having a strong desire to be a bold and beautiful woman in this world both for myself and for other women who want to step boldly into who they are and share their beauty with the world.  And I don’t know how it’s going to go.  There’s fear. There’s excitement. There’s doubt. There are dreams. There’s waves of all of it all at once, which leads to overwhelm and I’m not always graceful in how I handle it. I can promise you that.

I can also promise that sometimes the Inner Critic is going to get the best of me.  Sometimes I’m going to be so overwhelmed with emotion, I’m going to feel like a basket case.  And it’s going to be lovely and horrible and messy and glorious.  A transition like this doesn’t always come in smoothly. It isn’t for me anyway and that definitely doesn’t make me less than.

So, dear lovely, I hope you’ll join me for this wild ride. I’m not making any promises. But I do know I’ll be honest and transparent this whole way through. I do know I’ll share my hope with you. And I do know I’ll share the journey of being bold and finding myself beautiful even when I feel like I’m not doing enough, even when I feel like I’m failing, even when I feel like today is the worst day. That’s what this life is about: being boldly who you are and finding your beauty in every moment, which is why I wanted to write this manifesto tonight as a reminder when the days get tough, when I feel like quitting, when I feel like I’m failing, when I feel like I’m selling myself short, and when I feel like I’m not able to be my best for my husband, for my child, for my family, for my friends, for you.

But mostly, I wanted to write this for my spirit because I need to reminded. I need to be nourished. I need to be held. I need to be supported. I need grace. I need permission. I need forgiveness. I need transition. I need space to “make those big mistakes”. I need room to grow, change, evolve, and emerge and maybe you do too. So I’m giving it to myself the best way I know how…

Dear beautiful mama,

there are going to be good days and bad days, days when you wish to throw in the towel and just give up, but you won’t.

Because within that fierce soul of yours, you’re a bold beauty who has something worth saying, something worth sharing, even if it’s simply your truth of struggle and doubt, fear and worry.

You’re never alone in these emotions. You are a woman. A strong, beautiful, bold, complex, dynamic, rich woman whose heart knows no depths for love nor breadths for adventure and exploration.

You’re expansive. You’re beautiful. You’re wonderfully made just as you are, even when your skin is breaking out, when you’re carrying those extra pounds, when your wardrobe desperately needs updating, when you can’t find anything to wear, when your hair hangs limp, when you feel low, when you feel tired, when you don’t feel sexy, when it’s been far too long since you’ve brushed your teeth, and especially when you feel shameful, like you’re falling behind, missing out, not where you think you “should” be, or that this “should” be easier. (it’s not!)

There will be days when you feel like creating and others you won’t.  Both days are good days.  I promise.

You are never failing at everything at the same time. You’re never doing as bad as you think you are. And these moments will pass. I promise you they’ll pass. At that moment when you want to give up hope, a little light will come to flicker your imagination and you’ll realize not all hope is lost. You’ll cling to that flicker to restore your soul because you’re a warrior.

Your love is fierce. Your truth twinkles like the brightest star. Don’t you ever question your lovability, creativity, nor divinity. You were made for this.

Take breaks when you need to. The world isn’t going to end. Seek advice when you need to, but always heed your own counsel. Give yourself permission more than you think you need to. Learn to rest in the arms of another. Learn to receive. The Divine Feminine asks you to be open to receive and replenish. This is the only way your soul can do the work it needs to do.

Work strongly when you’re able, but don’t forget to nourish all parts of yourself. Rest strongly when you’re able and don’t you dare beat yourself up for it. Make time for fun, wonder, laughter, and dancing. These things connect you to your childlike wonder, your miracle drug for rejuvenating your soul and replacing that seriousness you carry so heavily much of the time.

Draw, color, create, paint, cook, sing, dance, read. Nourish the part of you that makes you you. And when you feel like you start to lose yourself, come back to the little patterns that help you find solace. Slow down. Tune in. Pray. Write. Cry. Repeat. You’re never as far away as you think.

But above all, remember you are meant for wonderful things. You are meant for connection. You are meant for love. You are meant for an inspired life. These are the things I want for you. These are the things you deserve. These are your birthright.

So go forth, Mama.   Fall, fail, screw it all up… I promise it’s all ok.   You’re ok. You always will be. You always are.  All of you.  You are complete, whole, wonderful, and beautiful just as you are, just as you feel.  Right here, right now. You big, beautiful, wonderous soul you.  Go.  Create, love, live, get messy.  The soul always grows the most through the mess.

 

Love,

Mama Megan, Business Megan, Silly Megan, Soulful Megan (we’re all here)

  • Liz Ryan December 3, 2015, 4:50 am

    Megan, you are a great writer. I am not a big reader but I enjoy reading what you have to say. You are an inspiration. Keep up the good work and enjoy your pregnancy! I know you can do it.

    • Megan Hale December 3, 2015, 5:36 pm

      Thank you so much, Liz! Writing has always been a way for me to get my thoughts out on my paper. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and share your thoughts. It means the world to me. Thank you so much for your support and kind words for my pregnancy. It’s a process I’m leaning into daily :)

  • Kelly Nottingham-Smith December 3, 2015, 4:53 am

    Everything you have described is what it feels like to carry around and battle chronic depression. The advantage you have is the change that will no doubt hapoen when you see your child for the first time. Imagine it being a lifetime struggle. It’s humbling, grounding and in your face at all times.

    • Megan Hale December 3, 2015, 5:39 pm

      I was thinking about this last night, Kelly, about not being able to shake these feelings and feeling helpless sometimes that it would change. It has given me a much deeper appreciation for what chronic illnesses must be like whether that be depression, chronic stress fatigue, fibromyalgia, etc. It’s made me appreciate the good days much more and I’m no doubt growing through it, but leaning into acceptance and “taking my own medicine” isn’t that easy. I have a different perspective now. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Humbling indeed <3

  • Maggie Boxey December 20, 2015, 9:36 pm

    This is beautiful. Thank you. I’m a mommy of 5 including 12 week old twin boys. Since the nausea phase (which was INTENSE) of my pregnancy I feel like someone completely zapped my brain and when I did have a feeling of a nudge to write my fear stepped in and said things like “you’re not original” “you don’t know what you’re doing” “no one cares” etc etc so nothing has been written in many months. I was just today beating myself up for not being more, this extra 30 pounds not falling off, not being present on my website/blog, not doing much other than feeding my babies and ordering gifts on Amazon… So thank you. I needed this today. So glad I heard you on Andrea Owen’s podcast.

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