How fabrics & sewing influenced my pregnancy and early motherhood.
I started sewing again in 2016, after a long hiatus since school days, in a time when I was well into my second trimester of pregnancy with my son.
I remember sewing my first hand-stitched baby pillow. I was painstakingly meticulous with the planning, measurements, cutting and stitching. Every stitch had to be of the exact same length, and it absolutely could not stray from the pencil-marked line. When I was not 100% satisfied with the result, I would rip the stitches and redo it all, no matter how troublesome. I would also never buy new materials until I complete my project in-hand, no matter how much I liked them when I saw them at the store, because I thought they would create mess. I insisted that was “discipline” that, as a future mother, I must embody.
Pre-pregnancy, I already had a low tolerance for imperfections and disorderliness, especially the ones that could have been easily prevented, though I was able to make conscious decisions to let go where perfection and order were not worth pursuing. Pregnancy hormones seemed to have taken away all my rational abilities to pick battles, and amplified my aversion towards the tiniest flaws and chaos. The Type A personality in me reigned.
Looking back, it was not a pretty picture. But I am glad I picked up sewing at such a volatile time. When I sewed, I knew I was fully in control, and that the end result will be rewarding because of the extensive planning I did before starting a project. Sewing was an outlet to discharge my frustration on the things I could not control in life, to escape from the uncertainties of what was to come. Sewing was my therapy.
As the months passed after giving birth, I felt my old self coming back. Completing projects became more appealing to me than sewing perfect straight lines. Buying fabrics that I love, sorting them, organizing them, and displaying them at my sewing space was very therapeutic indeed. There were mess, but they were beautiful mess. I don’t think my pregnant and post-natal self could have comprehended the possibilities of having the words “beautiful” and “mess” in the same sentence!
My parenting habits also changed, much in the same manner as my sewing habits. As I began to brush off sewing flaws and even learn to see them as “uniqueness”, I also began to go easy on the disinfectants, cleaning, housekeeping, and trying to get rid of all those cat’s hair (from my pet cat, of course).
By no means were my experience unique. Many mothers I have spoken to shared similar stories of their own, how pregnancy and motherhood changed them. I am glad I found my peace in fabrics and sewing, and I am glad pregnancy and motherhood brought me not only my beloved son, but also my almost-forgotten love for fabrics and sewing.