How to find your LIfe's "Purpose" and finding your identity - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 11-16-2010, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am struggling.  I put off having a child for years for financial and career reasons, but the whole time I was planning for the day when I would have a family.  (I am a Cancer, and the home/family is my center redface.gif).  Having a child turned out to be a verrrrry rocky experience for me (bad PPD, ongoing depression issues ever since), and I am not able to have a second child.  Plus, I'm 40 now (and adoption/fostering does not interest me personally).

 

So now I have one child.  And she's nearly 8.  Oh my, that is hard for me to face.  Selfishly, I don't want her to grow up.  I long for the younger version of her.  She still acts quite young, and I cherish it all, but I feel it slipping through my fingers.  I had no idea it would be like this. 

 

Obviously I have issues.  I try very hard not to put this on her or let her see how I feel.  But deep inside I am finding it so difficult.  When I am around a friend with younger children I feel jealous.  And I have come to realize that my child is the center of my world. But as she is getting older, I know that I have to find something for me in order to not totally lose it.

 

My DH loves our DD more than life.  Yet he is still able to have a satisfying life separate from her.  He is "dad", but he is also himself.  He has friends and loves music and cooking and skiing and gardening and etc etc etc.  He has lots of passions and interests.  I have nothing.  Any free time that I have I mainly put into my child.  And honestly...I LIKE it that way.  But of course it is not sustainable (or healthy I suppose).  She has been my life for 8 years (and longer if you count the "planning" stages).  I keep her close.  But I reluctantly realize I need to find something else because she just won't be willing to be my world forever.

 

But how on earth can I find something to fill my heart?  I have tried so many things and it all bores me.  What is wrong with me??

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#2 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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Did you ever have hobbies before becoming a mother? What did you enjoy doing in those years?

 

And, are you a spiritual person? For me, and I think for others too regardless of which spiritual path you're on, that can provide some direction, or at least a way towards inner peace.

 

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#3 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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i really loved the book "a new earth: awakening to your life's purpose" by eckhart tolle.  it helped me through a hard time, and i thought of it right away when i read the subject of your thread.  of course, i have no way to know if it would be meaningful to you or not, but after reading your post, it made me think it really could help replace those feelings of longing for the past (your dd's earlier years) with finding ways to enjoy her more at each stage.

 

as far as filling that hole, i don't think something outside yourself ever will. 

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#4 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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I don't have any advice about finding a passion.  Sometimes I think that passion finds you.

 

But I think my mom was a little like you.  Her proudest accomplishment in life is raising my brother and I, and to be honest, it's a good feeling to hear that your very intelligent mother never felt like she "sacrificed" anything in having you.  (What she exactly says when asked, "I am very smart and I worked very hard in school.  I could have done anything, and at that time, many women chose to be career women.  Some women I knew acted like I was not a career woman because I was stupid.  But I chose to be home with you two, because I felt the most important job I would ever do is raise you.".... She comes from a culture where women have not traditionally had a lot of options, and many of her peers were part of the first mass generation of educated career women.)  So there may be some benefit to how you feel.  Hopefully one day your daughter will also have that good feeling.

 

My mom continued school while we were growing up, continued to educate herself, and now works as a librarian.   I know she doesn't always love being a librarian (mostly because her boss is kind of a pita) but for some time, it was her passion to help her community.  She now talks about going on to get her PhD in art history, or studying something in the arts or literature as she always wanted.  This inspires me to also be an educated woman who is dedicated to being a good mother.  My mom was not the perfect mom at all (she had a lot of anger issues, etc) but I think she did the best she could with what she had.

 

I don't feel she smothered us or was an unhealthy mother even though she had a lot of expectations for us.  I think the expectations were good, although frustrating at times.

 

I guess I just wanted to respond to the part of your post where you described yourself as unhealthy.  I think the very fact that you are aware of yourself is a good thing.

 

As for yourself, what was your profession before?  Could you find some way to work with children in a nurturing capacity?  Or would that not be the same?


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#5 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

Did you ever have hobbies before becoming a mother? What did you enjoy doing in those years?



I did, but honestly they are meaningless now.  I couldn't care less about the stuff I used to think was fun/important.



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Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

i really loved the book "a new earth: awakening to your life's purpose" by eckhart tolle.  it helped me through a hard time, and i thought of it right away when i read the subject of your thread.  


Thank you....I will look that up.

 

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As for yourself, what was your profession before?  Could you find some way to work with children in a nurturing capacity?  Or would that not be the same?


I'm still working in the same profession, which I like and don't plan on changing.  It definitely would not be the same working with children....I don't want to be with other people's children.  ROTFLMAO.gif 

 

Sometimes I feel like I'm a whacked out weird lost cause.  Nobody that I know IRL has this issue.  I'm pretty much sure the ones I know well don't have it.  I literally only know one other person (IRL) who I would say puts her children as the center of her world.  I'm not entirely sure that's so healthy only because it is so intense and the loss feels so great I'm sure as they grow.

 

I've tried to "find" a passion.  Yoga, tennis, running, swimming, painting, gardening, quilting.  Everything is just....meh.  Take it or leave it.  Certainly no fire there.  Sigh.

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#6 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mommahhh View Post
 

Sometimes I feel like I'm a whacked out weird lost cause.  Nobody that I know IRL has this issue.  I'm pretty much sure the ones I know well don't have it.  I literally only know one other person (IRL) who I would say puts her children as the center of her world.  I'm not entirely sure that's so healthy only because it is so intense and the loss feels so great I'm sure as they grow.

 

I've tried to "find" a passion.  Yoga, tennis, running, swimming, painting, gardening, quilting.  Everything is just....meh.  Take it or leave it.  Certainly no fire there.  Sigh.


I am curious.  Why do you feel you need to have a passion?  How does it make you feel not having one?  What would you envision yourself doing or feeling if you did have a passion?  And what do you think of this other person IRL who says she puts her children as the center of her world?

 

It seems sort of "throwback" to say that your kids are the center of your world, and certainly it can tread dangerous ground, but where I am from, I know a lot of women who say this (and a lot who don't), so maybe you are just weird for your geographical area?

 

edit: I was struck by your description of anticipated loss.  What do you feel like you are losing as your daughter grows up?  It sounds like you feel things deeply.

 

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#7 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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Is it possible you're still a little depressed? I find that my hobbies and interests are really uninteresting when I'm struggling with depression and I tend to over-focus on mothering then too. And this:
Quote:
I did, but honestly they are meaningless now. I couldn't care less about the stuff I used to think was fun/important.

is a classic sign of depression. hug.gif

Are you in therapy at all?

It's definitely unhealthy to look to your child as your only source of fulfillment and joy. It places undue pressure on her and sets you up for immense disappointment when she inevitably pulls away to live her own life. Finding a reason to be alive, independent of your status as your child's mother, is absolutely crucial. You absolutely need a reason to get up in the morning that isn't entirely centered around her IMHO.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#8 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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Quote:
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Is it possible you're still a little depressed? I find that my hobbies and interests are really uninteresting when I'm struggling with depression and I tend to over-focus on mothering then too. And this:


Quote:
I did, but honestly they are meaningless now. I couldn't care less about the stuff I used to think was fun/important.



is a classic sign of depression. hug.gif

Are you in therapy at all?
 


And this too.


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#9 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post


I am curious.  Why do you feel you need to have a passion?  How does it make you feel not having one?  What would you envision yourself doing or feeling if you did have a passion? 


I feel like I need to have "something" that I live for, that drives me, that I get joy from.  Something not related to family/parenting.  I see other people who are almost addicted to certain things ("hot yoga", photography, running)...these things make them feel alive.  They don't feel empty.  I anticipate loss as my child grows older because I live for her (and as weird as it sounds...I cherish these years where I am also the center of her world).  I love planning activities for us to do, I love being with her.  We do art, we go to the library, we go for walks, we visit friends.  As she grows older, she will want more.  She will want to be with her friends.  Of course she will eventually want her own life.  I will no longer be the most important person in her life.  I don't know what is wrong with me!!  I know this isn't normal.  I love the "coziness" of family....but eventually she won't be all safe tucked in her bed at night -- she'll be out with friends, etc.  Just thinking about this makes me feel sooooo empty.  :(    I sound crazy, huh?

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Are you in therapy at all?

It's definitely unhealthy to look to your child as your only source of fulfillment and joy. It places undue pressure on her and sets you up for immense disappointment when she inevitably pulls away to live her own life. Finding a reason to be alive, independent of your status as your child's mother, is absolutely crucial. You absolutely need a reason to get up in the morning that isn't entirely centered around her IMHO.


No, I have no idea where to even start with therapy.  "Hi, I love my kid too much and I have no life"  confused.gif  Yes, I know it is unhealthy to look to her as my source of joy.  I know!!  I just need to figure out HOW to find a reason to get up in the morning that isn't centered around her.

 

I don't know if this is all somehow related to grief over not having more children.  Maybe if I had more, by the time the last one was growing up I'd be so tired it wouldn't matter so much to me.  lol

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#10 of 15 Old 11-17-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommahhh View Post

No, I have no idea where to even start with therapy.  "Hi, I love my kid too much and I have no life"  confused.gif  Yes, I know it is unhealthy to look to her as my source of joy.  I know!!  I just need to figure out HOW to find a reason to get up in the morning that isn't centered around her.

 

I don't know if this is all somehow related to grief over not having more children.  Maybe if I had more, by the time the last one was growing up I'd be so tired it wouldn't matter so much to me.  lol


That doesn't sound like a bad place to start, actually. The first few times I went to therapy I just sat in the room and cried uncontrollably. I couldn't even explain to myself why I was crying. Just venting the pain in a safe and supportive environment was enough for awhile. If you could go in there and pinpoint the problem right away, it would be very impressive! lol.gif

Since you've had issues with depression in the past, and you seem to have no interest in any hobbies or formerly enjoyable activities, it would be a really good idea to talk to someone. As you probably already know, depression usually doesn't go away on its own and can become completely overwhelming in a short period of time.

If therapy is genuinely something you don't want to do, then what about trying to change yourself with diet and exercise? I know that when I eat really "clean" and make sure to get at least half an hour of good solid cardio every day--even just a brisk walk--I feel about a million times happier and healthier than when I'm eating lazy foods and not getting out much. Do you socialize with other mamas at all? That could also be really helpful. I think most of us struggle with the fact that we're "just" a mother at some point; talking about it with others who've been in the same boat might give you ideas for how to climb out of it.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. --George Bernard Shaw

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#11 of 15 Old 11-18-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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the need to find your passion, purpose, or understand and address the void you feel in yourself, is a totally normal reason to go to therapy!

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#12 of 15 Old 11-19-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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Quote:
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i really loved the book "a new earth: awakening to your life's purpose" by eckhart tolle.  . 



I just wanted to second this. A New Earth is a really important book. The teachings of Eckhart Tolle have helped me tremendously. His first book, The Power of Now, was also very good. DH and I listen to his audio CDs too. thumb.gif


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#13 of 15 Old 11-19-2010, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Should I be reading The Power of Now first since it was his first book?  I'd like to pick one up this weekend.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

i really loved the book "a new earth: awakening to your life's purpose" by eckhart tolle.  . 



I just wanted to second this. A New Earth is a really important book. The teachings of Eckhart Tolle have helped me tremendously. His first book, The Power of Now, was also very good. DH and I listen to his audio CDs too. thumb.gif



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#14 of 15 Old 11-21-2010, 06:15 AM
 
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 I think it's important for people to get in touch with their Intuitive self and be guided from that. This doesn't mean everyone should try to be a professional psychic. It's just about hearing your own inner guidance towards what feels good, what inspires you and what does bring you joy. I hear in this thread a lot of looking outside of yourself to find what brings you joy. Whereas I believe there is so much value to being still and seeking answers within. Your Spirit will speak your truths about what is really important to you if you give it a chance. This requires cutting off the static around you on a regular basis. This does not mean you have to meditate for 3 hours everyday. this can be as simple as using shower time to relax and clear your mind. This means not going over the grocery list while you are in the shower. Just being quiet in your mind. As you master this a few minutes everyday, then you can begin to ask questions of yourself, in that peace and space you have created to listen to your inner voice. There is a lot of guidance that will come from there.


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#15 of 15 Old 11-25-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I feel a bit like you with my dd.  One thing that has helped for me is thinking about the mother I think my daughter would want to have, or the mother I would want to have.  My mother was and still is very child focused, and I was a bit jealous of friends who had moms with fun hobbies aside from being a mom.  I always said that when I became a mom I wanted to show my child all the love I have received from my mom, but I wanted to have hobbies of my own as well.  So, I guess for you that would be really thinking about what sort of example you want to set for your dd.  For me that is being a runner, something I have always been, and also my passion for science, reading, and wildlife.  More then anything else, I want her to see me that you can accomplish things with hard work, and that part of life is finding your passions and enjoying life. 

 

That being said, I also have just one dd, just 2, and she will be an only child, and it makes me quite sad to see her forming attachments with others because it feels like I am no longer the center of her universe.  I am slowly learning to accept this, and to find out what it is that causes these feelings in me.  I know that in my case, I always wanted children, but I think the reason I wanted to have dd when we did was because I was in a place in my life where things were at a stand still and I was feeling unfulfilled and wanted to fill the void.  While this worked for now, I know that ultimately it will be important for me to find my passions in life other then being a mother as she gets older.  It helps to realize that while your child will grow older and eventually move out... they will always be your child and will always be a part of your life (in most cases anyways). 

 

I hope this helps a bit, good luck.

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