Boundaries of a Woman

It feels silly that I’m writing this post on the eve of my 35th birthday. I can’t believe it’s taken me that many years to get to this point, but here I am. Better late than never.

I’ve changed. Becoming a mom, even without a baby in my arms, has changed me. Strangely, in the last few months, I’ve had visceral reactions to people crossing boundaries with me – verbally, emotionally, and physically.

In the past, I allowed these things to either roll off my back or quietly just soak into my soul. But being a mom has changed the way I feel. Today, someone touched and rubbed my belly (with two hands!) without asking permission and internally I became unglued. I don’t know how, but I held it together in front of the person but ended up sobbing later. Never in a million years did I expect a belly rub to bring up so many emotions, but it did. It felt intrusive. I felt caught off guard and supremely protective. And worst of all, it brought up all of the memories of unwanted touches from my past. Memories that I sincerely hope my child will never have.

How have I spent my entire life bending myself to conform to boundaries set by others? Why did it take having my child inside me to find these emotions? How can I help my child form their own boundaries? How can I help them to enforce those boundaries? How did I convince myself before that it was okay for people to cross my boundaries? How did I tolerate it prior to now?

I’m not sure that I have the answers to any of those questions. But I am feeling stronger tonight in realizing where, how, and when I need to set boundaries for myself. I’m thankful that this journey has helped me to realize more about myself and grow from that knowledge. And I sincerely hope that I’ll be able to help my child understand and establish their own boundaries.

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