Rebecca Reid, author and mum-of-four from Bangor is wondering where YOU go after mummyhood…
This is one for the mamas out there. It’s one thing to be lucky enough to get pregnant and watch, and experience, your body grow and change with every passing month, but what we so seldom talk about is after. How you really feel about you!
In those first six to 12 months, YOU disappear. You nurture and love this little baby. You stay up long nights. You feed it. You clean it. You help it grow and develop. You also keep a house. A partner. Possibly other children and pets (come on, they are like our other kids). You do chores… The list is never ending and more often than not, you become lost in the ever-growing amount of to-dos, emails, bills to be paid and washing. You are Mummy, this is your role. Your job.
But where do YOU go? The one you were before. The girl with all the free time. The hours to do what you wanted, when you wanted. You lose you sometimes. Because life is temporarily about everything BUT you. You look in the mirror at your new body and wonder where the old one went. You reflect on life before and wonder how to get those lost elements back. These are the things about motherhood that we so seldom discuss. But we need to.
I spent a morning talking with a new mummy friend about all these things – and ladies, when we talk, you see that everyone is the same. We all struggle. I certainly did. We all need to find OURSELVES again and with time and sleep (because lack of it is our biggest problem) you will.
Those days, when everything seems too much – everything but your lovely new baby – they don’t last forever. I like to see it as a wave. You get a wave of bright, energy-filled days because you had a few more hours sleep, or yesterday was just a bit less hectic. And then the wave hits the shore and you’re tired and bedraggled again. And so it goes on. Because you’re now weaning and creating sleep routines and it all seems so confusing. You look at the mothers with their babies beside you in the coffee shop with their painted nails and styled hair and you just wonder how?
But someone else is looking at you, out and dressed and showered, looking bright and breezy wondering how you do it. Just remember that. To someone else, you are coping. You are together. Because what you see is not always what lies beneath the surface. Which is why the second my friend opened up about all of this, I was honest about every last moment… from the early days of baby number four when I thought I needed six more arms and two more of me, to right now when everything is easy and settled. She couldn’t believe it. “But you’ve always looked so calm, so together!” Yes, maybe I did, but inside I could have been drowning.
I think we all need to talk more ladies because someone else always feels the same. We are all mummies, we are all human and that means we all struggle. It is part of the journey of motherhood. As is finding the new YOU. But you will find her and she will be a better, more caring, more developed version of the old you and you will love her!