Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and motherhood stole my strength, my light.

I do not claim to speak for all, or even most women. But, for me, I did not know my true strength as a woman until I had children, and I have since noticed a similar phenomenon happening in some other “mom-friends.”

This isn’t to say that I have found this incredible strength in motherhood. I don’t claim to feel powerful in what my body can do (although creating and feeding four humans over a span of five years is pretty neat).

I never appreciated, saw, and recognized, my strength until it was taken from me. For me, pregnancy, nursing, toddlerhood…. Took a part of me. A part that I didn’t even know existed until she was gone. A part of me that my friends, not acquaintances, but those soul friends, who know the nuances of your personality, missed. A part of me, that once she came back, felt like welcoming an old friend home. A friend I had been incomplete without.

Pregnancy and early motherhood took my fire. That part of me that can sometimes be a little too much, but at the same time, gives me my sense of self, my flavor.

That fiery part of me was too much to maintain, pregnancy exhausted me. I could not manage that level of passion in my life, when every single extra ounce of me was completely devoted to making little tiny hearts, lungs, brain and toenails.

I so often here people (usually significant others) complain that their baby momma changes when they get pregnant, and coming out of this fog, I want to scream, “Of course we do!!” How can it be expected that the same body who has spent countless years focused solely on itself, should now be held accountable for another, and expect nothing to change. The shift is so dramatic, and yet almost imperceptible.

I’m beginning to feel my strength come back, there are moments, getting closer together, when I recognize myself again. I see the me that is underneath motherhood. She’s coming back, I just need to be patient, and welcome her.

Kathryn Ryder

Hello! I'm Katie, I was born and raised in the Midwest and I'm still trying to learn to love the winters. I'm a tried and true boy mom, with four little men, ages 5, 3, 3, and 1. Since 2010, I have had 4 months when I was not pregnant, or nursing, or both. I'm having to actively search out myself again, and learn how to nurture my soul. I am a wannabe runner. I am an accidental writer, an experimental cook, and I'm learning to be a truth teller. I survive on a whole lot of coffee, friendship, little boy bear hugs and sloppy kisses, and about three hours of sleep a night.