Annie is 7 months old tomorrow. Wow. And this week two amazing things have happened: she’s started to crawl properly (and by properly I mean not sidewards or backwards) AND she has started saying “momma”.
Ok so technically Annie is probably not associating this “‘momma” word with me, it’s just a new sound she’s making, but I don’t care because she’s still saying it and she’s saying it constantly. It’s heart warming and lovely and makes me feel all squishy inside.
I was thinking today how much has changed in 7 months. I was reading a brilliant mum blog earlier today and she was reflecting on the things she wish she’d known before having a baby. Many of the things she listed were true and relatable, but one in particular struck a cord with me: she talked about losing herself. She went on to say that she hoped to find herself again, but she knew it wouldn’t be easy.
So it got me thinking about whether I’ve lost myself. Who was I before baby and who am I now? What’s changed? And is the change irreversible?
Me before baby
I was social, ambitious, independent and a doer. I got shit done. Having lived in London for 8 years I’d become hardened to the world, and I had huge expectations of life and what I wanted from it. My career was all about managing and organising, my social life was similar. I had had my share of heart break and grievances but I was happy, positive and hopeful.
Me after baby
Fundamentally I’m still most of the above. And more.
I’m social, but in a different kind of way now. Less cocktails and extravagant meals out but still always out socialising with friends and family. My social network has expanded since having Annie, I’m busier than ever.
I’m still a doer but my efficiency has took a dramatic nose dive. It takes me five times longer to do things because I have a baby taking up 95% of my day and mental capacity.
My ambitious nature is still there but less about career ambition and more about wanting the best for my baby, and being the best mum I can be.
I’m no longer as hardened to the world. I’ve softened, I’m more emotional, more open. I’ve opened my heart to Annie and to others around me and I’m letting people in more. I’m no longer afraid of being vulnerable or showing emotions.
I feel the biggest change is how other people perceive me. And I wonder whether it’s this perception from others that fundamentally changes you as a person. The shift in behaviour is subtle and gradual, but it makes you feel different and like you’ve lost the person you once were. BUT I’m still there and it’s important to remind people of that.
Of course becoming a parent changes you and it’s very easy to lose yourself. But depending on how determined you are you can find yourself again.
7 months after having Annie I feel I’m on my way back to who I was and in fact an enhanced version of my pre-baby self is forming. Annie has changed me for the better, softened my edges, helped me re-prioritise my life and made me more loving and vulnerable.
They say you have to lose yourself to truly find yourself and in my case it couldn’t be more true.