August 5th, 2017

“The stereotypes associated with motherhood overwhelmed me as I disregarded my previous identity.”

*Snip*- I watched as my hair fell to the salon floor. Nearly three days after finding out I was expecting, I began radically changing everything I’ve ever known about myself. With my long hair now chopped, I can recall frantically asking my peers and family if I looked older. Maybe it was the haircut, the new style, or perhaps the “mom sunglasses” I had bought that morning at CVS (featured in the photo above). No matter the reason, the replies I had gotten were “yes”, and in those moments, that was all I needed to hear.

Previously, you could see me sporting trendy clothing brands such as Brandy Melville or American Eagle out and about. My wardrobe was stylish, always up to date- it was my passion. Funny how seeing two faint pink lines on a stick you piss on changed my mentality.

I recall rummaging through my closet with intent following the day I found out. Searching out any shirts that were cropped, any shorts that appeared “too short” and any clothing labeled with a “teen brand”. No matter the style of clothing, I swiftly tossed anything with tags from stores such as “Garage” & “Pacsun” (etc) into the growing donation pile. “Would I look like a mom in this?” I would ask myself. But then again, now wiser and actually a mom, I question- why did I feel the need to conform to the social expectations of motherhood?… If there even is one?

When you hear the word “mother” what do you think of? Previously, I imagined women dressed in ankle jeans, plain colored t-shirts and athletic sneakers-basically anything from Gap or Old Navy will do. However, now knowing that all mothers do not dress as “forty-year-old soccer moms” I feel a bit ashamed to even think that I had tossed the wardrobe that had given me happiness to fit into the “stereotype”.

“Everyday Look”

Looking back with regret, all I can say is whoever went to Goodwill that Summer afternoon got very lucky.

Although occasionally I do still find myself looking in the mirror questioning whether I “look like a mom” it’s definitely not as bad as it use to be. I mean seriously, at 16 years old I limited myself to shopping at Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic for nearly 6 months. Bottom line, fortunately now I feel no shame walking into Pacsun to say the least.

All in all, my take away from this and my advice given to anyone going through social expectations, is before you trash or disregard anything of value to you in order to “fit into society,” ask yourself first, “Am I doing this to please myself, or others?” and if your answer is anything other than “myself,” it’s time to rethink your choices. I wish I would have asked myself this that summer afternoon.

“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.”

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