Mirror mirror on the wall…Who am I now?
(Article written for SelfishMother.com)
Who am I?
What is my identity now I am a mum?
This was something I had never heard any one talk about, let alone the possibility of it being an actual issue for me. Like a whole menagerie of things that aren’t mentioned about pregnancy and having children, my identity after having my first baby was a problem. Probably only a problem to me, but a problem none the less, and one that I wasn’t expecting to have. In fact, it was a thing I hadn’t even contemplated.
You seem to be defined by your baby from the minute you’re pregnant. All people start talking to you about is pregnancy, the bump and then the baby, which is a massive adjustment in itself. I, like most first-time pregnant women, had been so caught up in the practicalities of making sure we were ready for our new arrival, we moved house, bought all the stuff, cots, prams, clothes, bottles that I hadn’t stopped to think about me at all.
Suddenly a little while after our beautiful eldest son was born, I realised that the issue of my post baby identity was massive for me. Not only had my body changed but I was worried that maybe the essence of me had changed as well? I was scared and felt a lot of panic about who I was now. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t going out to the same places, with the same people doing the same things. I was in a different world, one that I knew LITERALLY nothing about. The first nappy I remember changing in my entire life was my son’s. I hadn’t heard of CBeebies or Baby Einstein and I thought breast feeding would be relatively simple for me, it’s what mother nature intended and all that - WRONG!
Work and my personal freedom before children, had defined me. Swanning around doing what I wanted when I wanted, nipping out with friends after work for a bite to eat, getting my hair done, saying immediately yes to the work projects that had me flying around the world and having a brilliant time.
That freedom was literally gone overnight. I don’t know if anything can prepare you for that. To say it has been my biggest learning curve and continued voyage of self-discovery is a huge understatement.
This new bundle of baby seemed to have immediately changed me. I remember feeling weird about what clothes I wore, it seemed to have put a strange skew on my fashion sense and clothes choices. Do mums dress like this? Can mums wear this? Can I wear this? I felt clueless.
It took me a good probably 12 months, maybe longer, to feel like I could still be me and finding out what that new version of me did with her day now. Working out it was still me but a new version I guess, was one of the hardest parts about becoming a mum for me.
What I’ve learned
Ladies I can tell you this. In life, there are times when you have to hide your emotions. Keep quiet and bite your tongue, hide your real thoughts to be professional at work and you have many different sides to who you are. The overwhelming thing I remember after having my first baby is wow, there is no hiding the real me anymore. You are so preoccupied with this small treasure that there is no time or energy to be anything other than who you are, the good and the bad in all its glory. You are 100% you.
The weird thing is, after all that’s said and done, I am a mother but I am also the same woman as before children just on a different path and I am probably more me now than ever before.
So please don’t give yourself a hard time. I wish someone had said to me its ok to mourn your old life and that this new life with your wonderful addition certainly isn’t going to be the same, but It will be the most amazing love filled journey you’ve been on yet. It will also be the hardest journey, but as the famous saying goes, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy’
Enjoy your babies and your children. It’s a new, exciting, crazy chapter and one to be celebrated. Revel in the new fabulous, woman mummy you.