Who am I? What is my new purpose? When will I feel like myself again?
I have admitted many times that I underestimated how hard it would be to have a baby. I also underestimated how much it would change me as a person.
I wanted a baby, we had planned and prepared for her so how could it change me that much?
Well… in terms of tangible changes; I had stopped going to work (for now), it was harder to see my friends and I saw them in very different circumstances, we stopped going out for dates (for now), my body changed, I stopped doing my hobby.
Note how often I say “for now”.
I had replaced everything I was used to, especially going to work, doing my hobbies and seeing my friends, for staying at home, broken sleep and trying to work out how to look after a baby (whilst recovering from labour).
Of course I was going to feel different!
I no longer felt like Laura, I was trying to be a Mum now.
I began to feel like I lost myself after having a baby. I was no longer the person who had built my life, all of that seemed to have gone and I was now focusing solely on how to be a Mum. My entire energy, my purpose was to be a Mum and I really felt like I wasn’t very good at it, it wasn’t coming naturally like I thought it would.
I struggled to breastfeed and she was exclusively bottle fed within a matter of weeks, I finally understood what true sleep deprivation was, I experienced postnatal anxiety and I genuinely felt like she deserved better than me. Possibly that is an extreme version of what others feel at the beginning, or perhaps we all have an element of that in us. All I knew was, I had felt happier before and even uttered the words to Ryan, “have we ruined our lives?”.
Obviously, all of the challenges of having a newborn ease over time and you begin to adjust. After a few months your emotions aren’t so heightened, you may have had some sleep, you will have recovered from labour and when all of those things came together I didn’t feel like I had ruined my life or that I was unhappy. I just needed to adjust and that takes time. We can’t expect it to come instantly and we need to stop beating ourselves up when it doesn’t.
Being Mummy now feels like the most natural position in the world. As soppy as it sounds, I do believe I am exactly who I was made to be, for her. I even feel more confident in myself for having her and I never would have thought I’d feel like that during the newborn stage.
I have gone back to work, I am returning to my hobbies and making proper time for our relationship and for my friends but things will never be the same.
I have ‘lost’ who I was before and when my daughter was first born and Motherhood felt far from natural, ‘losing’ myself felt like the worst thing in the world.
Now I realise that I don’t need to ‘find’ that person again, I am still here but I am a better version of her. I am more confident, happier, I am a Mum and nothing makes me prouder than saying that.
We need to get better as Mums to talk about how we are feeling and what we are experiencing. Only then can we support each other as a community and normalise these emotions.
It is normal to feel like being a Mum is hard work, it is okay to say it isn’t (although I don’t really believe you 😉).
You don’t have to be Supermum all of the time and saying that you miss your previous life, just sometimes, is okay, it is normal. It does not make you a bad Mum!
If you are in the throes of the newborn stage and feel like you’ve ‘lost’ yourself, I promise you will ‘find’ her again and you may even prefer the version you ‘find’.