I’ve been thinking a lot about seasons lately—both in nature, and as a metaphor in life. September 1st has always symbolized beginnings to me. Summer is over, school is back in session and the new month brings with it the anticipation of fall and the myriad nostalgic traditions I seem to cling to with a tighter grip each passing year.
I’m now 8 months pregnant with only 8 weeks until my due date. I’m poignantly aware that these last few weeks will fly by in the blink of an eye, and with each inch and pound I continue to expand, the weight of the realization also becomes heavier that life as I know it is about to drastically change.
As eager as I am to meet our son and as excited as I am to feel the insanely powerful emotions of the experiences of child birth and motherhood, I would be lying if I were denying that I’m not also feeling something deep down that is grasping at a last-minute attempt to make sure I still hold space for me and my personal rituals, joys and ambitions throughout this next chapter as we expand our family.
Considering the fact that the rest of my pregnancy up until the very end has been a complete hormonal joyride, I’m not surprised that my body is gently weening me off of that little by little to prepare me to march into the trenches of the postpartum grind. I am highly confident it will all work itself out, and that this next several months of adjustment will be a beautiful experience I always cherish, because Dan and I will make it so. But while I’ve been contemplating life and its many chapters, seasons has been the metaphor I’m associating with this upcoming transition and the adjusted priorities it will bring with it.
I watched this video by artist Morgan Harper Nichols recently, and it stopped me in my tracks. She shared a simple shift in perspective by adding two letters to a word in a phrase that we all ask ourselves, and by doing so, changed its meaning completely. She says:
I stopped asking myself what I wanted to do with my life, and instead I’ve been asking myself what I want to do within my life.” —Morgan Harper Nichols
When I heard her words, it was an “aha” moment for me. Motherhood has always been something I’ve wanted to experience within my life. Although I have never been shy about my ambitions when it comes to my career and will continue to honor that, I also plan to honor practicing maximum engagement in the foundational years of our son’s life. Because of a commitment to that process, I expect to discover additional sources of fulfillment and experience different milestones and accomplishments aside from my career that I didn’t know were possible.
As I embrace this new season of challenge, joy, love, partnership, and wonder, I don’t plan to neglect any piece of my individuality that I’ve worked so hard to build before becoming a mother. I believe all of the interests and identities within us can and should co-exist. I suppose what I’m giving myself permission to do is release the pressure to stay the exacting and exhausting mental course of “this is what I’m doing with my life” to make space for the season of motherhood, an experience I’m grateful to be having within my life, and the different types of opportunities for inspiration and creativity it could bring with its changing winds.
If you too are finding yourself on the precipice of a seasonal shift in life, remember to give yourself both the grace and the space to welcome what unpredictable magic might come with it.