Life in the Baby Lane: Chapter 17

Out on a Doubt

I’ve lost a lot of self-confidence since becoming a mother. This is not because of any particular instance or experience; it’s just something I’ve slowly come to realize and am just now acknowledging.

Being responsible – FULLY responsible – for another human life is a frightening prospect. If anything bad happens to that person, preventable or not, it’s something you’ll carry guilt and regret about for an indeterminate amount of time. Some things are easier to overlook – a child’s topple from the sofa, for instance – but others are seared into the memories of parents for life, and could perhaps destroy a marriage.

My loss of self-confidence didn’t seem to happen overnight, but perhaps it did – over a hot and unforgettable night at the end of July 2009. However it happened, the fact remains that now, before I make any decision at all, my choice must be validated by someone I love and respect. Granted, this is probably the way successful relationships work: No one person makes every decision alone, but the kind of self confidence issues I’m talking about are bordering on extreme self-doubt.

Fortunately, no one in my life is currently feeding that self-doubt. Everyone I know has been incredibly supportive of my naive decision-making, and so very encouraging just when I’ve needed it most. I realize not all new mothers are this fortunate, and to them I say – talk to me! One of my gifts is words, and I will do everything in my vernacular power to dissuade you from doubt and gently nudge you toward self-assurance and contentment.

Somehow, though, even as an encourager, I cannot seem to uplift myself. In this I feel like a marriage counselor who’s been divorced 3 times, or a nutritionist who struggles with an eating disorder. Or perhaps a cartographer who got lost while on a drive.

I guess this is the risk we take in living: Being imperfect contradictions. Recognizing that, along with doubting ourselves, is perhaps a sign that we are normal – that we are ordinary people heading in the right direction: self-improvement. This, I have to say, is where I want to be: continually improving myself so I can fill all my life roles as well as God expects me to: As myself.

And perhaps it’s time I start forcing myself to be more independent. I’m a mother, after all…don’t I, therefore, know best?

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