Did You Lose Your Identity When You Became A Mama?
Being a parent is life altering. Whether it’s a lifestyle change, a physical change to your body, mental or emotional change. It sprinkles magic, anxiety and love over everything.
Some parents have a clear idea of what they want to do, with their baby on their hip to come along for the ride. Other parents direct all their focus on their children, and let them share the lead. Whichever way you decide to take it on, theres a giant new aspect of your life that was never there before.
“life will never be the same”
The stigma behind becoming a mother, the reputation and the things you hear, it’s all awful. Let’s face it, becoming a parent sounds utterly horrendous. It sounds messy, controlling and tacky. The amount of moaning and complaining is enough to put most of the next generation off. I hear you friends, when you’re out on a Friday night with your fifth cocktail, pickling your livers and muttering sweet pity for those of us parents who can’t be there. What you don’t know, is that wherever I am is still where I want to be and besides that, I’m happy. There I said it, I’m happy. It’s not every day society will let you hear a mother say that.
Personally, motherhood is an addition to my identity. I know what you’re thinking, here we go… Really, I mean it. I never realised before I had Arlo that I would love being a mother so much. It’s not just my maternal hormones racing through my blood – it’s the way of life, the choices I make, the things I have learnt and the person I have become. I’m so much better than I was before, I am kinder, I am wiser, I am more creative, I am motivated, I’ve lost weight – in a good way, I’m rational and I’ve got a healthy perspective on life.
To address the physical change, my body is more soft than ever, but I’ve actually lost weight since becoming a mum. In fact I’ve lost more than even pre-pregnancy. Above all I’m so proud of my physical abilities now. My body has a purpose and every inch of it is woman and all that woman created a beautiful new life, and gave birth to it, and fed it, and sprung back to what it use to be like. That’s commendable.
My mind has always been a bit like spaghetti. A squiggly mess of thoughts, inspiration and lost daydreams. I suffered with serious patches of depression when I was younger, and I only really got a hold of it a few years ago. Maybe they’ll come back again one day, but I have this theory that my mind is healthier since pregnancy. My patience, my dreams, my claustrophobia and wanderlust are still tested daily, but I’m okay. I can recognise how it feels to be sad or lonely, just sad or just lonely, and not the deep darkness of depression.
My passions stretch further now that I am a mother, and those passions are so much more valuable and intellectual. Photography for example has always been a hidden pastime of mine, but since being gifted a DSLR camera and a lot of time to explore photography creatively (and the perfect muse) I have found a deep irrevocable passion for it. A new hobby which makes me more myself. I might enjoy it more than writing… It’s not just creating pictures, I now create all sorts of things. I’ve re-discovered sewing and textiles, crafts that I frankly wouldn’t have bothered delving into before.
Now, I am vegetarian and we’re sticking to a vegetarian diet as a family. We are striving to be minimal and practice the art of slow living. It’s blissful and I’m content.
If you find yourself nodding along to most of my blog posts, I’m sure you’ll be raising a glass to this one. Society forces us to believe that we all need to change into a reclusive robot. Having a child and becoming a mother doesn’t force you to do that, and it doesn’t force you to make sacrifices. That’s something you have to decide upon yourself.
You might choose the safe option, because that’s what you are wired to do. It’s also what we’re told by society. You can go about life as you wish though. All the decisions are still yours. A great explorer? Travel. A career bomb? Work. Who says that you need to stay at home, clean and bake your days away? (Apart from the adverts on TV…)
If you’re pregnant, I’d recommend preparing yourself for surprising future choices – not because you have to make them, but because life is different and because it’s what you really want. What I’m trying to say, is that you don’t have to loose your identity, you don’t have to become a reclusive robot, you can be you – it’s just that you might be a little different to how you are now, and it’s totally utterly a w e s o m e.
Life isn’t the same, it never will be – I hold my hands up to that. I also believe it’s never been better and I’m grateful that I’m on the other side. Proud member of the mama club over here, I don’t want to be in any other gang.