HOW TO RECONCILE THE “OLD YOU” AND THE “NEW YOU” WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH…
Are you ignoring all your previous talent and knowledge before you entered the mummy bubble? Sometimes as a mum our life Before Children (BC) and After Darlings (AD) doesn’t quite fit together.
The things that we did before we had children seems to be swamped and submerged by our years with little ones. It could be that we travelled a lot, or we had an amazing job, or we achieved great success in the workplace and now our life doesn’t quite fit together. And it’s all too easy to actually forget what you were doing 5 minutes ago – let alone last year!
It’s easy to feel a little lost as a Mum, and it’s something that I found myself negotiating everyday. In the beginning, you are so consumed with the little one’s sleeping and feeding, and happiness, that you forget about your desires and needs. It’s so easy to forget that Mummy needs some love and attention too. Yes, go and get a massage or a manicure or whatever makes you feel like you. But also see if there’s a way to reconnect the old you, and the new you, so you don’t feel so disjointed.
I’m now the rebooted version, but I realise that I was ignoring my time before I became a mum, and I skirted over my story, and my many facets to just be “mummy”.
For 38 years I was Lucy, the TV reporter, and journalist, and daughter, and sister, and friend and colleague. I had bonkers adventures that involved sailing to Australia from Singapore, and travelling around the world without using a plane… it involved living in China, and reporting from crazy countries. My identity at that time was so consumed with my job, and then suddenly I’m a “mum”. My old identity was lost, and it took time to reclaim a new version of my self.
There is a big part of me that feels that this person that I was has been lost along the way. For a long time on maternity leave I felt like I couldn’t go back to my old job, it didn’t work for me, but I didn’t know what I could do instead.
It took me a while to find my niche, and carve out a new life. Give yourself time to create a new life and identity. It can appear that everything is changing and you no longer fit in when you go back to see your boss and colleagues. But actually life doesn’t move that quickly, and it’s more that your perception that life is moving quickly.
Reclaiming your new identity takes time. Perhaps you feel like you’re standing still while watching everyone else sail away. It might seem like things are changing in your BC life, and you are just the onlooker, but in reality you are changing a great deal.
The “baby brain” that we are forever embarrassed by is actually true. Your brain is opening up new emotional pathways. Neurologists and scientists are only beginning to understand what is happening in the brain and link it to pregnancy and birth. During our post-partum period, there are changes to the prefrontal cortex and middle brain, which increase our empathy, anxiety and social interaction in the world around us. We physiologically change when we become mothers, and we also mentally change.
We know that we suddenly become lionesses and have this surge of love and protection for our little ones. But what isn’t talked about is how the brain is changing to physiologically help us to have those fierce feelings of maternal protection and overwhelming love.
The greatest brain changes occur with a mother’s first child, and scientists are not sure if the new neural pathways or “rooms” in the brain will ever return to the pre-baby state.
So you do change physiologically, and you do change on many levels. Connecting the BC and AD worlds can be tricky after such a seismic shift.
IDEAS TO HELP WITH BABY BRAIN…
- Give yourself time, and a little understanding… scientists still don’t know all the answers, and when you’re so busy with little one, and work, and life and stuff, it’s hard to give yourself the space to reconnect with the old you.
- Write down everything you do… use Siri, and notes on your phone, and take notes in audio books, and underline stuff on your Kindle.
- Have time for a massage or yoga, or something RELAXING!!!
- Write out your “birthing story” – what happened when you gave birth, and what was wonderful and not so good. It will help reconcile any things that upset you.
- Do something today that helps you connect with the woman you were before your children, and give yourself just 10 minutes to connect to her, and her desires.
- Write her a letter, or listen to some music that takes you back… do something to align the mother that you are now, with the woman that you were, because when you are in alignment, everything flows.
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