Tuesday 29 March 2016

Who am I?

Who exactly am I? When I think of that, the first thing I think is a mother; not a wife, friend, 26 soon to be 27 year old. It is true that you do lose yourself when you become a mum, to do so is almost like a rite of passage. You will become an expert on baby poop, temperatures and what can and can't be done. In the beginning, all you will talk about is babies. That's what it felt like to me and in all honesty, yes I bored myself.

When you have a baby, you pretty much give birth and then sent along your merry way. You may get some leaflets on local resources, but you are pretty much on your own (unfortunately the health visitors don't pop in forever). No one told me that I would have no clue on what to do, even though I considered myself to be "prepared". No one told me that my days would become a blur from lack of sleep, that I would panic over everything. No one told me that I would change when I became a mother - that I would lose "me".

Your life will change - you will change. Some of these changes will be amazing and incredible, some of these changes will be hard and push you to your limits. You probably won't be able to do a lot of the things that you used to do, like 'quickly' popping to the shops. Getting out of the door will change into a 2 hour (if you're lucky) military operation.

It took me a while to get used to the 'new me' and only now, almost a year on, do I feel almost back to myself again, but still different at the same time.

For the majority of the last year I have brought my daughter up alone due to my husband working overseas. In that year I have learnt a lot about myself;  that I have more patience than what I thought, that I would class 7am as a lie-in, that eventually this will come to me and I would learn to cope.

What always made me feel better was washing my hair and doing my makeup, even though for the first ten days I only had the one shower and that was when I was in hospital. Once I had washed my hair after those ten days I felt like a supermodel (albeit a slightly wobbly supermodel) - but I felt like I had started to get my shit together. It's mad what a shower can do!

Parenthood is hard - very hard. You will be solely responsible for a little persons wellbeing. You will break down and cry, you will lose yourself, but you will also laugh, smile and feel a new sense of love.

Here are a few things that helped me to start feeling like my old self again, maybe even a slightly better version of my old self:

Doing things alone.
As soon as my husband came home on leave I took advantage of this, even if it was just having a bath by myself. It kept me sane.

Doing things for me.
The first time I spent a night away from my daughter was when she was ten months old. I went away to Nottingham with a group of ladies, the majority of whom were in the same boat. I got insanely drunk and threw up in about six pint glasses in reception. I didn't care - I needed that night for me. It certainly wasn't as hard as I thought it would be and I wish I had done it sooner.

Don't rush.
Sometimes easier said than done with a little munchkin, but if you can just take some time to do your hair or paint your nails. Even take your time to eat your lunch. You will feel like a new woman.

Being a mum isn't the end of life as you know it - your life is still yours, just better and filled with even more love.