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009 – Fear & Discomfort, The Friendly-Foe of Motherhood

This past Christmas, my almost 2-year old daughter received her first official amazon box to be delivered in her name.

Inside the box was a gaudy plastic potty just waiting to be dribbled on with toddler pee. I cringed at knowing this was going to be an omnipresent piece of furniture in our living room for the foreseeable future.  

To my surprise, my daughter, who had only ever seen a miniature-sized potty once before, took it out of the box, sat on it with the biggest smile, stood up and then hugged me…for a loooong time. Please note, she’s not a giver of hugs. She intuitively knew it was for her and her hug was her non-verbal way of saying, “Finally. Thanks, mama. I’m ready!”

Prior to the potty arriving on our doorstep, I’d been knee deep in potty training “research”, mapping out our safest route through the impending mess. I had heard stories of miracles and those of disaster, so I was hopeful for something in the middle. I had built the process up to be such a milestone, that I almost convinced myself it wasn’t the right time. She’s still a baby anyway, right? She’s not even two! The “thank you” hug meant that she was more ready than I was, and the feeling of discomfort I was experiencing had now proven to be a repeatable theme in my journey towards and into motherhood. 

When I think back to the more memorable moments of our fertility journey, pregnancy, birth and early mamahood, I can’t help but remember them all feeling a little bit uncomfortable.

I’ve realized that the discomfort comes from two things…not knowing…and knowing more than I’d like to.

The discomfort means that things are shifting. The discomfort means I’m moving forward and learning. The discomfort is an invitation to surrender. The discomfort is proof that I’m in a slow metamorphosis, becoming who I’m meant to be.


The winding road of our fertility journey is one of the most notable phases of discomfort I’ve experienced as an adult.

All notions of comfort were thrown out with the realization that we were at the mercy of the miraculous and mysterious inner workings of the universe. We were not in control of the details, and if you know anything about me, you know I’m a details person. 

During this time period, I remember there being such an emphasis on time; a frustrating dichotomy of time never moving fast enough and time standing still. We’d rush to make lifestyle improvements (eat all the greens!), get finances in order, buy a house…hurry, hurry, hurry. It was the busy work of our discomfort. You know the kind where you move about quickly to trick yourself into thinking you’re in control of the chaos around you? Yea, that kind of busy. Then we’d wait. Wait for the “exact” moment (those TTC will know what I mean), wait to see the doctors, wait until next month… All the hurrying and waiting, mixed with a whole lot of forced surrender was the perfect recipe for discomfort. 

Looking back, we were riding the familiar waves of “not knowing”.

If you’ve struggled (for any period of time) to conceive, you know the feeling of just wanting to get a positive on the pee stick. “If I just get to THAT point, I’ll feel so much better,” a phrase we proclaim too often. In reality, we’re shifting the external discomfort of not knowing to a very literal discomfort, growing daily inside the womb. This time, the recipe is that of elation and all-consuming, often paralysing fear. Lovely!

It’s fear you may lose the baby, fear of eating the wrong unpasteurized cheese, fear of choosing the wrong birth team, fear of a human coming out of your lady bits, fear of getting attached to the wrong name, fear of giving up, fear of judgement, fear of losing your identity, fear of what’s next to come. Fear and discomfort, hand-in-hand, dosey doe.   

Then, somewhere between 6AM with a gush of water onto the floor and 9:42AM when my baby arrived earthside, fear quickly morphed into crippling anxiety. The 4-hour hero’s journey left the gates open to a whole new level of discomfort. My former self, unrecognizable. I was entrusted with another human whom I didn’t even know, my birth team wasn’t getting any brownie points for their bedside manners and for goodness sakes, my nipples!

I think this is where the phrase, “it gets ugly, before it gets beautiful” comes from. With all the ugly, a whole new understanding of surrender was born.


My relationship status with discomfort is now that of “friendly foe”. 

I’ve learned to anticipate its arrival and even welcome it. I know it’s proof that I’m on the right path and that I’m in the midst of personal transformation. I appreciate that my job as M-A-M-A offers me many opportunities to feel uncomfortable on a regular basis, because learning to coexist with this feeling is the secret to life. Maybe slightly overly dramatic, but you get the depth of what I’m trying to imply. Mothers who appear to have their shit together are those who never bat an eye when discomfort arrives. Watch them. You’ll see.

Let’s break down the secret for a moment. 

Discomfort, much like “disease” within the body, is a clue to an enlightened understanding, a more efficient and graceful way of being. When the feeling arises, this is your moment to pause and take an internal audit, turning towards the support of your inner wisdom. Listen closely and you’ll see how beautiful and wise her words are. So gentle. It is my personal belief that our gut never leads us astray. As women and mothers, the feelings of discomfort, fear, and anxiety are all perfect excuses (because we need excuses) to strengthen this connection to our inner wisdom.


The honest to darn truth is we are rarely going to feel 100% ready, especially when it comes to moments of transformation. 

I encourage you to seek out the comfort in shared experience (ex: other mamas knee deep in gaudy potty paraphernalia) to build a support system that provides you the space to navigate womanhood and motherhood as it comes. Women who gather to collectively mother one another, act beautiful reflectors of what we already know to be true within and those things we’ve yet to discover.



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Photo Cred: @lisasorgini

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