By: Rene Marasco
There I was walking up and down the hallway with my list in hand. I was memorizing each person’s name, county they lived in, children they had and the type of child they wanted to add to their family. It was a half hour before I met with 40 people to provide them with an orientation to our agency. Some I had spoken with at length on the phone over the years and others were standard conversations with new families. No matter. It was all stored in my memory and tonight I would begin to put faces with not only their names but more importantly their stories. I did this at least a few times a year. And I never failed to have it all in my head when the right time came to enter our board room and put my face with my name for each and every one of them.
I was passionate about my job, a workaholic, because who couldn’t be when it came to being so honored that you spent your life helping to make families. Let’s be clear - I was just a vehicle of a higher power. But He was fully aware of what I was capable of and what I would do with His slightest hint of direction. I was good at what I did, very good – and confident in a humble and genuine way. I owned a pretty little sports car, my own home and was surrounded by loved ones.
Fast forward and there I was on what had become a typical night for me. Sitting crisscross applesauce on my bed, my oldest daughter at breast, rocking her as I rocked myself back and forth. I would do this for the next 3 hours. If I didn’t she would cry, so instead I did. I could barely get through the day and by this time each evening I was exhausted but didn’t want to sleep because I needed to decompress. This was “my” time. Yes, I had a husband. Operative word being “had.” And, in fact, our relationship was the core of my decline – but that’s another blog. The point is….I felt completely and utterly helpless.
Despite having taken care of kids since I was one myself, I was lost. I found myself in completely uncharted territory – incompetence. And isolation. It was even more the norm at that time to be only joyful and glowing upon becoming a mom. No struggles allowed. I was an older mom who waited what felt like forever to become that mom – and to have a beautiful little girl. So what was wrong with me?
For my story, it was mostly a bad marriage where my confidence was stripped away from me. For each of us it’s something different, but the result is the same. We were once competent and confident women who were reduced to a puddle of overwhelming emotions and self-doubt. What did I do with it? I became a doula. I explained to women that, yes you have a connection to your baby in utero but, each child has their own personality just as each mom does. And post-partum is a time of getting to know each other, so to be gentle on themselves and their babies. And equally as important, to be gentle with other moms, to not be afraid to share their stories because doing so may just pull another mom out of her isolation and self-disdain at not being joyful every moment. Motherhood is undoubtedly the most challenging and most rewarding journey that you will ever endeavor to take. Know that you are not alone, And that you are fabulous!
Rene Marasco is a Licensed social worker and doula, with over 10 years of experience helping families, both on an individual and group basis. Rene is a member of The ROKI Community and is the mom of two beautiful girls.