When I first became a mother, my usual life habits and choices were not the only things that changed; my identity was completely rocked. I couldn’t figure out who I was anymore, what I enjoyed doing, and who I considered a friend. Some of that I attributed to post-pregnancy hormones, but after a year passed and the feeling of identity loss still remained, I knew it wasn’t just hormones. I wanted to be identified by my dreams, but I was a parent that felt her dreams would never be reached. I started claiming my identity as, “Isaac’s mom.” I came to a crossroads where I had to decide — make sacrifices for my son by changing who I was, or continue being who I was and not sacrifice for my son. I finally made my decision. I even had it forever imprinted on my arm.
Lots of people inquire about this tattoo, wondering its deeper meaning and how I came to choose it. Usually to make it a short story, I tell people the ribcage signifies a cage and the bird is me. I say how I have a heart to travel but felt I couldn’t do that once I had Isaac. Then I end it there. I don’t usually go into much more detail because one, when someone asks about a tattoo, they usually want a one sentence answer. And two, I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or worry about me as a parent. The basic meaning of this tattoo is that I once was confused and didn’t know who I was. I was a person that wanted freedom but felt trapped. I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be a good parent to my son and make sacrifices for him, but I wasn’t happy making those sacrifices. I was 19 years old when I had Isaac. Most of my friends were in college. Some were moving out of their dormrooms into their own apartments. I was moving back in with my parents. Some were taking trips across the country. I was lucky if I took a trip across town. Some were staying up late at night and sleeping in for hours and hours the next day. But not me. I was busy breastfeeding a two month old. I was staying up late for sure, but I wasn’t sleeping in. I wasn’t getting to take spontaneous trips to who knows where. I’ll admit it, I secretly threw a pity party for myself.
I made sacrifices for Isaac from the very beginning, but it was begrudgingly. After the first year of Isaac’s life, I decided I didn’t want to be a begrudging parent anymore. I didn’t want to watch Isaac grow up and in secret complain about how I didn’t get to “live my life” as a college aged girl. I realized that I’m still me and will still be able to do what I want to do, but it just might be later in life. I’ll still pursue my dreams and achieve my goals. I’ll still have an exciting life. The only difference is that I’ll have a (super awesome) sidekick to experience those dreams with.
So ultimately this was my conclusion — my identity is found in Christ, but my passion is found in being a parent. I find that sometimes parents get so caught up in their children that they make being a parent their only identity and they’re lost when trying to figure out what to do next with their lives.
And that is the point of this blog. I want other mothers (and fathers) to be encouraged. Being a parent shouldn’t be our identity — being a parent should simply enhance who we are as individuals while we discover who we are in Christ. My desire is that parents will feel encouraged in knowing that they aren’t alone in their struggle as a parent. Sometimes parents want to put on a facade that they have it all together, but really they’re fighting a battle. Some may be facing challenges with a child. Some may be feeling empty as their children are leaving home. Others maybe thought having a child would fill a void, but are realizing it just complicated things. My hope is that by sharing life experiences and encouragement with you, each parent will begin to see they aren’t alone in this crazy thing we call life.