Guest Blog - Motherhood Unscripted with Krystin of Grace + Parker Shop
Meet Krystin. Mother of three, owner and creative director of one of our favourite small shops, Grace + Parker. We are proud to support Krystin’s business and be a part of her tribe. Read on as she speaks to her experience becoming a mother, the struggle she endured to find herself, and the journey that brought her to a healthy balance as a successful mom boss.
MOTHERHOOD, I never fully realized the emotions connected with this word. The meaning, the many feelings connected to it, the life altering aspect of what was to come.
For as long as I can remember I knew I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to have that perfect family, white picket fence, three kids and a dog, the kind of things that you see in movies. Let’s fast forward to 2011 when I met my husband. We got married in July of 2013 and in December of 2013 we were expecting our first child.
I know many people can’t relate, but I LOVED being pregnant. I worked a pretty physical job as an Athletic and Massage Therapist, and I attribute how great I felt to the fact that I never stopped moving. Little did I know that my seemingly uncomplicated pregnancy would lead to an anything but simple delivery. My due date came and went and nothing. I had finished work 2 weeks before my due date thinking this would give me time to get ready for the birth of our little ‘pickles’ – what we affectionately called my bump for 40+ weeks. Needless to say I finished all my nesting and yet had no baby join us. At 41 weeks my midwives had had enough, deciding that induction was the only way pickles was going to join us. Having been in the healthcare world I knew this was the beginning of everything I didn’t want for the birth of our first child. Let’s be real here, I was that first time mom that had all those unrealistic expectations. I’m a planner by nature, detail and schedule oriented. I naïvely thought that pickles would oblige my need to stick to the plan, follow the script and be earlier, rather then late for his arrival.
At 41 weeks and 5 days, I walked into the hospital for my induction, begrudgingly. The OB came in, assessed me and let me know I was a candidate. She signed off on the paperwork, transferred my care back to the midwives and the IV drip started. We were off to the races right? Not exactly. I was still telling myself that this was only a slight deviation of my plan.I remember being foolishly adamant that I didn’t want an epidural. That was until the contractions came on like nothing I had ever felt in my life. I had never broken a bone or had any type of surgery, so perhaps the ideal of birth without an epidural was slightly unrealistic of my expectation. I finally agreed, of course, needing my midwife to present both sides of her case as to why I should get this epidural. The anesthesiologist came in to explain the process. Little did he know the extent of questions I would have, before he could get close enough to insert a needle into my back. Once I was satisfied with his answers my epidural was done and he, I am sure, was glad to leave my room.
An hour had passed and all went seemingly from great to horrible. The OB was called in and my midwives had a sense of urgency that I had never seen in them. The OB looked at me, told me that we needed to get the baby out now, and the only way that was going to happen was via c-section. All I could do is cry. My husband didn’t know what to say or do to console me. An engineer by trade, working in the business development world, my husband makes tough decisions for a living in order to make things happen for his clients. This experience was different entirely, we were both so helpless in this scenario and the look on his face was an acknowledgment of that. There really was NOTHING he could do in that moment to make this better. This was what I had put on the ‘worst case scenario’ pedestal in my mind, all I could do was cry.
Paolo Michele Micalizzi was born at 4:37am on September 19, 2014, the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times. He is and will always be the one who made me a mother. The one who made me truly understand MOTHERHOOD to its fullest. He made me understand and appreciate the good, the bad, the exhausting and the emotional rollercoaster that motherhood entails. He also taught me the lesson of not being able to control and take charge in everything that comes your way.
I was always the career oriented one; I loved what I did and didn’t want to be taken away from that. My friends where shocked at the change in me, the change that motherhood brought to my way of b. My family was the most important thing in my life. My workaholic ways were curbed, as I worked a more realistic schedule. For me, at the end of the day I didn’t want to miss Paolo’s firsts. His first steps, first experiences, first taste of different foods; That is all that mattered.
I learned very quickly that it takes a village. This motherhood thing can’t be done alone. It takes family, friends and even strangers to help raise a child. It makes you open yourself and be vulnerable to opinions and criticism. It makes you think about every decision you have to make, a hundred times over. It makes you realize you don’t know everything, and thats ok. Motherhood is sobering. I remind myself daily of a quote I saw on Pinterest, “The days are long, but the years are way too short”.
We have grown our family since our little pickles was born in 2014. Luciano, affectionately called Luca, was born in April of 2016 and sweet little Emily was born in January 2018. Our family is now complete. Even though I enjoyed every pregnancy to the fullest and loved every moment of growing those little beings, I am now looking forward to watching them grow, develop, and explore the world around them. Watching them learn the hard lessons life has to offer and always being there as an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and offer advice when needed.
There are times over the years that I have struggled as a mother, as many mothers, I’m sure, can relate. I had put so much of myself into having children, giving them my everything. Despite all the good I had in my life, including three beautiful and healthy children, I felt guilt and a sense I had lost myself. I had lost myself to motherhood (typing those words still make me cringe a little). My identity was built on being a mother and I felt so deeply that I had lost every other aspect.I’m a creative soul, driven to help people. Six years of schooling led me to my career in helping people; recover from injuries, recover from surgeries and even heal from various aspects of trauma. But still, something was missing and this wasn’t fulfilling my deeper needs. Don’t get me wrong, I truly loved this career, but I needed to tap into my creative side, in order to find myself again. So that is exactly what I did.
In 2014 I started a business that not only let me use my creative side, but also let me connect with other likeminded mothers. It was the missing piece to what I needed. I felt like I had found myself once again. Yes, I was a mother of three beautiful children AND a successful Massage and Athletic Therapist. BUT, the key moment for me was being able to tap into my creative side and able to grow my small business, fulfilling a need for connection with other mothers. Many of these relationships began as customers, but quickly turned into a little community I had built. I can’t tell you how many late night conversations I had while nursing one of my little ones with these ladies, these incredible mothers with stories of their own. In 2018, I had an opportunity to take over Grace + Parker, something that was terrifying and exciting all in one. Having grown and built a similar business to Grace + Parker, this was a challenge I was ready for. You see, I have finally hit my stride. I have found my balance in life and ultimately I’ve found Krystin again. This didn’t happen overnight and I don’t think I could have done it without my village. Always along side me, encouraging me and standing by me every step of the way.
Motherhood, while very rewarding, can be all consuming. It is something that you can totally loose yourself in. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be lost forever. Find your village, find your tribe, love them hard and they will help you find your way.
Author - Krystin Micalizzi
Owner and Creative Director of Grace + Parker Shop