I am stronger then I ever thought I could be.
Seven months ago today I was in the hospital giving birth to my second born, my beautiful daughter.
Women, both onshore and offshore ask me, ‘How can you do it?’ Most of them say before waiting for an answer, ‘I just couldn’t do what you do.’ I have felt the EXACT SAME WAY. Both the question and the statement above was my mindset in the past. Right out of the academy, I thought I could only ship maybe five years. Fast forward 12 years, I am happy and fulfilled in a career at sea. Four years ago, I asked myself, ‘am I ready to be a mother?’ ‘Can I keep my career and have a family?’ At the time I had very limited resources. (I wish I had the exceptionally strong foundation of offshore moms whom I am following now!) I trusted my company when there wasn’t an offshore policy for pregnancy.
As I think back, I know I made the right choice. It was scary and difficult. I felt incredibly vulnerable, but once the decision was made I trusted myself. The strength that each person holds within themselves is never truly realized until you tap into it. The strength and mental fortitude I possess, has only grown since I have become a mother. After my son was born (my first child), I realized a huge part of my life had been missing. Both my daughter and son are exactly what my heart needed to fill the missing pieces. I thought while I was away I’d fixate on missing them but my body had a new reason to press on. I was able to give more to my career both physically and emotionally. I had more passion for my land life and my offshore life. My children are the supplemental motivation I need to continue the career I love. I am happier; a better wife and mother. It is not complete joy every day I am away. I am currently struggling to maintain my breast milk supply for my daughter. I need to pump twice a day and hand express while I am on my 12-hour watch. It is day 60 of my current 28/28 day hitch. I am predicting another week and a half before disembarking with my Milkstork tote filled with 6 days of expressed breast milk.
I cry tears of joy, sadness, frustration and tears I can’t even explain. Motherhood is a journey just like a career. When I opened myself up to new opportunities and created life goals I became the person I never knew I could be, a wife, mother and a seafarer together interchangeably.