What Defines Me

I never really expected an identity struggle to be part of this process.  It is easy to say “Oh you have children/a child; you’re still a mother” and that is true.  But for a mother of one in this situation it’s not quite enough.  I am a mother, but I don’t feel like I qualify in so many areas.  I only have one small sphere of experience – I have no suggestions on so many topics because they either require the experience of managing multiple children or experiences that you don’t necessarily get with one kid.  There are personalities, illness, experiences that I’ve just never experienced and perhaps never will.

My friends swap stories about dealing with kids in different situation or challenging personalities and I feel I have nothing to add to the conversation.  I have all these things I’ve done in three and half years and it doesn’t really feel like it counts for much.

So I guess I don’t really know who I am any more and I feel like such an outsider to it all.  All the experience I have, everything I can be identified with is not what I wish to give.   I don’t want to be *that* working mom.  I don’t want to be the one that people come to see if it’s possible to raise an un-spoiled only child.  I don’t want to be the one that people come to see a multiple miscarriage, infertility “survivor”.

What do you do when you hate what defines you?

13 thoughts on “What Defines Me

Add yours

  1. Change the focus off yourself and look for alternatives. A wife and mother is so much more than a collector of children. We are the hearts of the home. We make our homes pleasant for our family and for visitors. A quick and neat story: I know a family with infertility issues. They began adopting since they desired children. After adopting their fourth child, they became pregnant with twins! God works in mysterious ways and brings good out of difficult and hard situations. But in the meantime, it made it harder for her to focus on her troubles with infertility when she was busy for caring for her first four!


  2. Molly, that's not how I think of you at all. I think of you as Henry's mom and Ben's wife, along with lots of other adjectives like: Catholic, blogger, fun, book-lover, intelligent, sweet.

    I know you're struggling with this and I don't want to take that process away from you or belittle your feelings. I just want you to know that the world sees you as so much more than a couple of labels like “working mom” and “infertile”.


  3. Mm- I think I understand some of your feelings here. I don't have any kids- and I'm the only one in my groups of friends who doesn't. It's hard to join in on conversations sometimes- I don't have any experience with being a mom- and I feel like the gap between the kids/no kids bunch is a wide one. I'm just trying to focus on finding my identity in Christ, on looking at the blessings I do have in my life instead of the huge gaping holes of what I don't have.

    (And I'd really suggest the book 1000 Gifts. She puts my feelings into words so beautifully.)


  4. Reading your journey through these struggles is like a looking glass into my own path. While some of the steps have been different, the loss, heartache, and even identity crisis are familiar. It's such a hard thing when the family ideal you set out for doesn't match the picture frame.

    Prayers for you.


  5. Molly –

    I meant to comment on your post the other day but I wanted to have a chance to sit down and write out all my thoughts so here they are:

    As a sister-in-law & aunt, I have had the privilege to watch you as a mother since the week Henry was born. I have always been in awe of how wonderful a mother you are and how naturally it comes to you. As a future mother, I look up to you because you seem to do everything right! I’ve even worry because I think “How will I ever be as good of a mother as Molly?”

    I just want you to know that from my perspective, you will always be a role model to me – whether it is just Henry (who is FAR from a spoiled child) or anything else the future may bring.

    Lastly, I know I don't fully understand what you are going through because I have never been in your shoes, but my heart pains for your struggles with your miscarriages and I hate to see you suffer. I wish I could do more to help, but just know that we love you and we are here for you through every up and down that comes your way. It is a blessing to call you family!


    P.S. I second Bonnie's comments.


  6. I'm praying for you Molly as you go through this. The only thing I would say now is that you don't have to have all the experiences to share the amazing love you already do share with your family, loved ones, friends, and so many more. I only met you briefly at Edel and have followed along here on your blog for about a year or so, and not only were you lovely in person but you were able to make shy me feel known in a big crowd. That's kind of wonderful as are you! Prayers and hugs during this trying time. Praying that you let Love define you.


  7. I have been reading a lot about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd lately, since I am hoping to start some at home with my kids this fall. And one thing I read last night came to mind again when I read your post – that the reason children (and adults!) are instinctively drawn to the parable of the Good Shepherd is because its central message is that God loves us and knows us by name. We are simply beloved by virtue of being created. I think this is so hard for us to remember in a culture that defines people by what they have and what they do, but the countercultural truth of our faith is this pure belovedness. Whenever I have found myself in a dark place like the one you seem to be describing here, where I am filled with questions about worth and identity and vocation, I try to wonder what it must be like to see myself as God sees me – to be loved beyond imagination simply for being me. That is my prayer for you today, too…


  8. I have a situation in my life that is different from yours but something ugly that I allowed to define me for a long long time. I just keep praying that Christ redeems that whole situation and in ways that I can never plan or imagine will bring his redemptive power into it. My life, this 'thing', is never in a million years what I would have planned for my life. But God can and will bring a resurrection out of it. I pray that for you, too.


  9. Ditto what Bonnie said, with the additional thought that the charisma that she mentioned is the very point of the label you hate.
    In other words, people will come to you for the advice on raising the un-spoiled only child, but they will stay for the funny, sincere, intelligent woman doing the raising.
    Our crosses are never the point of us. The crosses are there to make the point of us sanctified.


  10. Oh Molly, what a gift you have with words! You have put word to so many thoughts I've been able to articulate. How difficult it is to find your calling in life and feel like you aren't able to practice it to the fullest.


  11. I’ve never seen this said before but it’s exactly what I’m feeling as a mom of one (living). As much as I looked forward to having my second child, I looked forward to finally being that leveled up mom, experienced, able to join in. I looked forward to that juggle of multiple children and finally moving forward from infertile like I could put the title away once my baby was here. I think it’s been one I’ve had attached for so long that I don’t know what to replace it with while I’m waiting.
    I came over from Facebook where I’ma fan of your page. I remembered you’d had a loss before. I just had my first and wanted to come over and see if my own feelings were reflected here. They are. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: