There is no simple definition for what makes us a mom. Sometimes we pursue motherhood and other times motherhood finds us first. Sometimes we carry a child in our womb and sometimes another mother does.
Yet our culture puts a lot of pressure on mothers everywhere to fit in tidy and rather limited boxes. This pressure leaves us questioning our value as women when we can’t tick all the boxes.
In this episode, I’m talking with writer and wellness advocate, Brittany Ross. In this Voices of Motherhood episode, she’s unpacking her story of becoming a mom before she was ready, desiring both biological and adoptive children, learning to become an advocate for her own healing, and how we need to rethink how we care for new mamas.
Moments You Don’t Want to Miss
[10:43] Hear about why Brittany says she came into motherhood kicking and screaming
[18:22] Discover why Brittany and her husband were inspired to adopt.
[28:26] Find out what it was like to begin the search for the root of her infertility diagnosis
[35:49] Learn why you need to release the expectations you have for yourself about bouncing back as a new mama
[51:41] Here’s Brittany’s key piece of advice if you’re starting your personal healing journey too
A Rough Start to Motherhood
Kelly Jo: You said you came kicking and screaming into motherhood and that you had this “awakening”. Can we go back to the beginning of your motherhood journey?
Brittany: So I just really knew inside of me that I was meant to become a mom. And it wasn't something that I was choosing, it was something that was being chosen for me. So when the doctors were telling me you're fine - we can do this medical intervention or you know, just use a surrogate I just felt like no one was hearing me.
I wanted to ask them - did you know we had plans to adopt? I really had to ask myself: do I want to do IVF if we're already planning to adopt? Is a biological child what we need? And then something happened to me and I realized that I needed to get to the root cause of my infertility.
Hope for Both Biological and Adoptive Children
Kelly Jo: It’s so encouraging and wild to see how you’ve traveled the road both of adoption and pregnancy into motherhood. I think sometimes we have this idea that our journey into motherhood has to look a specific way. Otherwise, it makes us “less than” somehow.
Brittany: Yeah, it's been really interesting being a biological mom and an adoptive mom. People ask me all the time: did you have a biological baby because you adopted? Sometimes people assume that if you just adopt, then you'll have a biological baby. And that was not the case for me at all. I knew that we wanted to adopt and that was a very separate desire.
My journey into motherhood included three miscarriages, an infertility diagnosis, and a failed adoption. I just felt really defeated. At one point, I was done trying to be a mom because every door was being closed. Now that I'm on the other side of it, I'm so lucky that I got both because I know that for me, having both was really what I wanted.
Learning to Trust Your Body First
Kelly Jo: I think so often, we're just told you have to live with XYZ diagnosis, whether it's an autoimmune disease or infertility which is so disempowering. It sounds like you not only focused on your health, but you had to become your own advocate too.
Brittany: Yeah, I absolutely did. I will be totally honest with you - a lot of doctors laughed in my face and told me it was ever going to happen. America does not value women and the role of motherhood well. They are just simply not taken care of. I mean, we separate mothers and their babies and expect them to go back to work. Like while they're still bleeding - sooner than we do dogs and their puppies.
It is no wonder we are so broken right now. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it. It is really just time that our culture starts to take care of mothers.
Kelly Jo: I agree. There’s such a high expectation on mothers to be “all the things”. It's the superwoman mindset that is crushing, debilitating, and I think it leaves us in a state where we can't be present with our kids. It increases anxiety and depression when all those expectations are layered on us without the support,
Treat Mom Like the Superhero She Is
Kelly Jo: Wow. That's really powerful. We don't give enough credit to our new identity as a mom because there's definitely a metamorphosis that occurs. One of the books I read on motherhood says that our brains literally change for the better. There's a rewiring that happens through pregnancy through those postpartum days that gives us a different, better brain than we did prior to motherhood.
Brittany: Yes, whatever the world tells you is your biggest setback is your biggest superpower. Like motherhood has empowered me beyond anything I could have ever chosen. Because the odds were stacked against me. But, you know, the thing is, if you easily get pregnant, you might not have such an easy postpartum time or maybe you’ll struggle with nursing.
Every mother has something that did not come easy. It’s not because something is wrong with her or her baby. It’s because something is wrong with culture and the way culture doesn't support women.
Moms are going to be the ones to revolutionize the way that other mothers are treated because we know what we needed when we were having babies. We get to show up for new moms. My favorite thing to do for a new mom is say: I'm coming over to do your dishes. Go to your room and just give me the code. I don't even need to see you. It takes the pressure off of moms. When you ask a new mom what they need, they often can’t tell you. It’s because we don't even know what we need.
A Few Closing Thoughts From Our Conversation
These are just a few of the highlights of my conversation with Brittany. I left our time together truly inspired. I think Brittany is so right. If we want our culture to value motherhood more, it has to start with us. It requires us to ask more questions of one another and assume less. It requires us to practice blocking out the noise of well-intentioned advice and input to get quiet enough to listen to our own bodies.
And perhaps most of all, it requires that we release the expectations we have on ourselves. I invite you to join me in unleashing this vision of motherhood in your own community and circle of friends! Will you join us
More From Brittany Ross
Brittany is a mama of two girls, a writer, and a wellness advocate. She is currently working on a memoir centered around unleashing the soul of a woman. Her journey into motherhood was an unexpected invitation for her to wrestle with four key pieces of identity. These included race, religion, marriage, and motherhood.
While these are the main means through which women define themselves, Brittany would counter that your worth can never be limited to just those four things.
Links & Resources Mentioned
Rate, Review, & Follow on Apple Podcasts
If you’re loving these conversations, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast! This helps me support more women - just like you - find the grace, encouragement and support they need at every stage of motherhood.
If you have an iPhone, go to iTunes and leave a review!
Not sure how? Check out this video!
October 28, 2021