This week another amazing World Mama. After last weeks inspiring story about expatlife in Angola, we are moving on to Amsterdam mama Desirée. There are two reasons why I think she is special. First of all Desirée is a very smart woman and an amazing writer. And second, she was born in Curaçao, the beautiful Island in the Caribbean which also happens to be where I am from. Her story is about transformation and growth, about passion and wanderlust, about reinventing yourself and finding your true self. Curious? Keep on reading!
There’s this fascinating short movie of how lobsters grow. Yes, lobsters. These mushy animals live in hard shells that aren’t able to grow with them. A hard shell that doesn’t fit any longer is an uncomfortable experience. A lobster that becomes too big for its shell will hide underneath a rock so it won’t be attacked and can produce a new shell in peace. Oddly enough, there’s so much I recognize of myself when I look at that lobster shedding and growing its shell.
As a teenager and still late in my twenties my future plans involved traveling the world, not as a tourist, but settling down for a year or two in different places. I saw myself in a cozy little apartment where I’d have over new friends I’d made, we’d have the new dishes I’d learned to cook and a wall full of pictures of the adventures I’d had. Then I’d pack my bags and leave it all behind to reinvent myself completely on the other side of the world. I’d abbreviate my name differently, wear my hair shorter, listen to different songs with a new group of friends, become a vegan and read only fiction for for the years that I’d be this version of me. Only to say goodbye to her in a few years and morph into a different expression of myself.
It’s that part of me, that young girl that used to be a dancer, passionate about creating more beauty in this world that I was afraid to lose when I became pregnant. That yearning for change, for my own evolution and fearless refusal to get stuck in the same identity had been the main driver for most of my life.
But without realizing it, I’d gotten stuck in an expression of me that long lost its appeal and didn’t even fit anymore. Years before I had decided that I wanted to be the ‘smart one’ instead of the ‘creative one’. Therefore, I ended up playing a serious economist who was conscious and hard working. It was a role that had gotten out of hand when playing her got more difficult every year. I’d lost all enjoyment in taking on this role and the cracks were starting to show, lacking any passion to bring her to life every day.
That’s when I got pregnant. It felt monumental, like in a split second I lost the comforting ability to shed this shell. Just knowing I could had been a great source of comfort to me. But as a mother the prospect of being stuck grew even more realistic and gave me regular panic attacks. Much like the ones I’d had with my better half. There were times in the four years we’d been together, I had packed my bags thinking of how I’d reinvent myself without him. The prospects were endless, but every time I found out more deeply that this wasn’t pretend love, but being his was part of the real me. And that truth spread my wings further and brought a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. A peace I didn’t even know I was looking for.
With a child I wouldn’t be able to pack my bags anymore, the vastness of possible iterations of myself had shrunk considerably. I didn’t have words or emotions to describe the confinement I felt until I decided to morph into the mother I thought I’d never play. I embraced every part of who I thought she’d have to be. At first it felt awkward, like I was chained to another unwanted identity. With getting to know this little boy growing inside me and then seeing his feisty character develop in front of me, his wise presence and the limitless joy that bubbles up from within him, this new shell became that dress that always brings out your best features.
By being his mom I’ve been given the courage to live my most honest roles yet. Life partner, mother, entrepreneur, helping other moms find the best versions of themselves are all expressions woven into that dress. And sometimes I go out and I’ll have my sneakers on with it or dress it up with some fancy jewelry, but taking it off is no longer a desire that haunts me. Like the lobster I’ve learned that shedding a shell doesn’t mean you need to leave all parts of yourself behind. You might think they clipped my wings. But I’ve never felt this free in my life before. My wanderlust has been completely satisfied by this adventure that we’re on together. When the need to reinvent myself comes up I’ll do it with these two men by my side. They’re part of my life’s journey, bound together by an invisible shell we’ll eventually shed together to grow into the next expression of ourselves.
After her pregnancy Desirée got the courage to follow her passion, which is health and wellbeing in motherhood. Her website Daisy’s Yellow Pepper is about giving moms easy to implement tools that will allow them to live a healthier life, prioritize self care and raise their energy levels. Desirée does 1-on-1 coaching where sleep quality, nutrition and lifestyle changes are the main topics she works on. And be sure to follow her on Instagram!