Or rather loss of it.
That happened somewhere along the way. Quite when I can’t remember (although I can remember the barcode on a Cadburys Creme Egg from my retail days 20 years ago – 50201600 – go on, check it out!) Funny how your memory works like that.
I blog each week about a single topic but I’m not sure identity sits alone. I’ve blogged about confidence, challenges, anxiety, overwhelm. Did the combination of these result in a loss of identity or did my identity go first causing the catalyst? Who knows.
It’s also a topic I’ve been putting off to be honest as revisiting a time when I’d lost my way, lost me, was a bit daunting. But I’ve seen it mentioned a lot recently within the Insta squares. First time mums talking about losing their identity. Having been there, done that, got the T-shirt I feel now is a good time to ‘talk’ about it, to give those mums hope and faith that you’ll find ‘you’ again. It might be a different version of ‘you’ but you come back.
I can’t recall a specific ‘looking in the mirror’ moment and wondering who the sleep deprived woman was looking back. I do remember once singing ‘wind the bobbin up’ for the millionth time wondering who I had become. I think it was a slow burn scenario, each day a little bit of the old me vanished until I just felt a bit ‘mweh’.
I’d never really considered what my identity was pre small human. But when I started feeling ‘lost’ in the monotony (yes I used this word. Doesn’t mean I didn’t love the bones off of him but it could be monotonous) of the baby paraphernalia I didn’t recognise myself. Was this how I would feel until the end of my days? Perhaps a little dramatic but when you’re in the sleep deprived groundhog day scenario of looking after your tiny human you can’t see the wood for the trees.
I was actually looking forward to returning to work. That was me wasn’t it? Emma the lawyer, the problem solver, the professional fixer. I was going to rock motherhood and going back to work. I think things actually got worse after that because on top of the small human’s numerous new ‘phases’, including an old phase of waking like a newborn, I now had all the stresses that came with a caseload. I was exhausted and felt I was looking after everyone else but me. I’ve written previously about self-care, and giving up my hobbies as I was just too tired/didn’t have enough time/dare I say it, didn’t really care.
I won’t revisit that time, or the steps I took to find ‘me’ again (they can be found in my other blogs) but with time and effort I can wholeheartedly say that I have found ‘me’ again. It’s a revised version of the former me. It’s not a go out every weekend ‘me’ but it’s a ‘me’ that still enjoys a random night out (assuming childcare is in place until a suitable hour the following day as I can’t be doing with hangovers and the early rise demands of the sleep stealers!). It’s a me that still enjoys listening to happy hardcore in the car, just at a more moderate level – my children will be ravers!
In other ways it’s also an upgraded version of the former ‘me’. It’s a calmer me, a more patient me, a me that won’t just go along with the crowd anymore. A me that is more careful with my time. A me that is willing to try new things and finding I’m actually quite good at these things.
But most importantly I have my sense of humour back, the same sense of humour I had before probably much to the dismay of my friends and family.
So to all the first time mums who have currently lost their Mojo and are worried it’s permanently MIA it isn’t, it’ll come back along with other bits of you you’ve temporarily packed away. I know from experience my beautiful Thomas Sabo necklace will find its way back out of the jewellery box to replace the current bright orange wooden/rubber teething scenario. My handbag will be dusted off to replace the multicoloured change bag. The wet wipes will remain a staple favourite. I absolutely have no idea how I functioned without them pre small human.
In the meantime just be kind to yourself and try and take some time out for you.
If you’d like to chat about this topic on Wednesday in my private FB group come check out ‘Light Me Up: Let’s Talk’ via my FB page @lighboxblogger. You can also follow me on Insta @lightbox_blogger.