Who am I?

I ask myself this question often. For the past almost seven years, the answer has been a mom. Breastfeeding and babywearing were my “thing” I found my friends through these things. I found a job. I found a volunteer opportunity. I created an organization. These parenting acts have been a large part of my identity.

Felicity changed all the rules. I figured with her being my last baby I’d nurse her until we were both ready to stop. I bought wraps and carriers in anticipation of carrying my beautiful baby around until her legs were strong enough to carry her body. I had a vision for what the next few years would look like as my newborn became an infant and grew into toddlerhood. I knew there would be transitions ahead as she would be the last of my “firsts” but I figured my parenting identity would stay the same.

Then she was born and if you’ve followed along you know that she is anything but what I expected. (Spoiler alert: I’m learning she’s even more than I ever dreamed of). She doesn’t nurse, she is fed a special medical formula via a feeding tube. She doesn’t really love to be worn; it doesn’t provide the support her hypertonic body craves. She is most content being pushed around in her car seat attached to a stroller; sucking on a pacifier as she tries to navigate life the best she can.

My baby is now six months old. She doesn’t roll. She doesn’t sit. She sometimes smiles. She is starting to hold toys. Her world is mostly mommy snuggles, big sister cuddles, and unfortunately doctor visits.

Where does this leave me? Struggling to learn where I belong. I’ve created this community for myself. Many of my friends have many children, babies the same age or younger, and plans for more. I watch as 2 and 3 month olds pass us up in size and skill. I wonder who I am and how I fit in. As they pull down their shirt to nurse, I am filling a plastic bag with formula made in a lab somewhere. As they wrap their babies close to their bodies, I place mine into a car seat that is modified to meet her needs. As they progress and grow, we remain locked in a newborn state. It leaves me wondering how I fit in. My conversations are filled with therapy and medical terms. Sometimes I keep my thoughts to myself, fearful that my friends don’t want to hear about our struggles. Everything feels hard and I never want to place that on anyone else.

So I wonder. I was a breastfeeding and babywearing mom. Now I’m a special needs mom? And I realize that at the root of it all, it’s not my actions, parenting type, or even that I’m a mom that defines me. It’s that I am fierce, loyal, loving, kind, and giving. It’s that I used to be passionate about things and now I’ve transferred that passion into ensuring that Felicity has ever chance possible to succeed. Whatever that looks like for her. My identity is what I am, not what I do.

So who am I? A breastfeeding baby wearing mom? A special needs mom?

No, I am Nikki. Kind and fierce. Loving and loyal. Strong. Brace. Resilient. This is my identity.

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