I’ll never forget cradling my newborn son whilst staring out the window at planes taking off from Heathrow. Our flat in London had a good view of the Heathrow flight path – a reality that felt quite cruel at that point.
The year before I got pregnant with Luke I‘d taken 14 long haul flights. Now here I was staring at imagined strangers coming and going – with their exotic destinations, their sense of purpose and excitement.
I wanted what they were having.
Having spent a lifetime cultivating a kind of expansiveness, I now felt stuck. In an identity: Mom. In a role: caring for this new human. In a physical space: my home and the coffee shops and parks with a 500 meter radius. I felt so very fixed. And it scared me to death.
And here’s the other thing that felt overwhelmingly definitive: my love for my son. As a rogue individual, I’d never imagined this kind of consumptive love, one that would shape my choices, preoccupy my mind and prescribe my movements.
Would becoming a Mother make my life forever smaller?
I couldn’t articulate any of this to anyone. Not only because I struggled to put words to it, but also because I feared judgment. All I could see were thriving Moms who seemed to share none of my misgivings.
So I held my fear; I hid it. And the sense of stuckedness festered.
What I longed for were individuals and experiences that could – in the lightest and most joyful ways – remind me that I wasn’t at all stuck. I wanted conversations that didn’t focus on feeding schedules. I wanted physical movement that didn’t involve a pram. I wanted to explore parts of London that would stimulate my imagination and appreciation of beauty.
For just a day, I wanted to reclaim my expansiveness. To not feel alone. To not feel fixed. To explore the world and my place in it – before putting my son to sleep at night.
I never found my fellow Explorers in London. Four years and another child later we moved to Cape Town, where my husband has family, and where I felt I had more room to stretch out and begin to integrate all the different parts of myself.
As my children grew and my role evolved, I kept reflecting on how easy it is to feel stuck in life, how challenging it can be to navigate transitions, and how necessary it is to intentionally evolve into our ever changing roles.
Antacara is a product of my life’s experience: the 14 long haul flights and my two little boys. My dual roles as change maker and a diaper changer. It’s an an opportunity to cultivate joy as we continually cultivate diverse experiences – ensuring a light, expansive quality to our lives that fuels us on this lifelong journey of parenting.
My sons are the greatest gift this life has given me, helping me to liberate a playful ease that decades of trying to save the world had squashed. It just took me a while – too long – to realize that. I wish I’d had an Antacara community when they were both born – to help me see that my children had in no way made my life smaller, they had, in fact, set me free.