One Last Adventure Before Motherhood

Erin Britt essays

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Motherhood had started to call. I heard her. She was out there, whispering ever so softly. I heard her and I knew our time was coming. But I wasn’t ready. So I hushed her, softly, and promised we would meet. Soon. But not just yet. First, I wanted an adventure.

So I loaded up my suitcase. With a bag full of granola bars, mosquito nets, and sunscreen (adventuring necessities). I boarded a plane destined for my last big adventure: a 2-week trip to volunteer in a small village north of Accra in Ghana.

And to be perfectly honest, to this day, I’m amazed that I made it. I’m amazed that my body didn’t give up on me before the plane’s wheels touched African ground. The bigness of that adventure rocked me to my core. But I made it. And I let the adventure do what I needed it to do: change me. Scare me. Give me the memory of adventure to look back on while rocking my babies to sleep. I watched the sun set from the other side of the Atlantic. I stepped into the lives of people an entire ocean away and I talked with them and read with them and built walls with them. As far outside my comfort zone as I could possibly travel, I witnessed life and living in a way that I never had before.

I had my adventure.

When it was over, I returned home, my hunger for adventure satiated. I snuggled up inside the quilted walls of my comfort zone and planned to stay forever. I answered motherhood’s call and prepared to nurture someone else’s adventuring dreams. Never again, I believed, would I feel the blend of thrill and fear drawn from bold moves and risky ventures.

But my little girl breathed her very first breaths and suddenly, I was doing it again. I was flying towards adventure. They settled her into my arms and I landed in a new world that felt far more foreign to me than that tiny village just north of Accra. Yes, the people of Ghana speak a different language, observe different customs, and live so differently on that sun-drenched land than I do here. But there I could study and learn. Within the span of two weeks in Africa, I knew things, like how to say hello and that I should never wave with my left hand. Within just two weeks, I began adjust to a new way of living.

But within two weeks of motherhood, the whole thing only felt more foreign. More confusing. There was no common language, no guidebook to explain the typical norms of my new world.

Motherhood, it turns out, was not in my comfort zone. It was (and continues to be) an enormous adventure. The necessities are different. Sunscreen and granola bars are still important but diapers and sippy cups more so. The view is very different. I’ve traded the African sunsets for the backdrop of the east coast sunrise outside my babies’ bedroom windows when they wake me before dawn. But the feelings are the same. Every day, I’m surprised that I’ve made it. The adventure of motherhood rocks me to my core. I’m witnessing life and living that I never have before. And it’s changed me. It’s changing me.

And I’ve got so much more adventuring to do.


About the Author

Erin Britt

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