Rediscovering Myself after Becoming a Parent
Who am I? What day is it ? What Year? Is that tooth paste or breast milk on my shirt?
I embraced my youth I enjoyed my twenties to the maximum capacity as one should when you are young wild and free. When Joe and I had decided to settle down I knew my life would change. It would change forever and in all the best ways! But with becoming a parent comes it challenges.
Though we had waited til I was closer to thirty to settle down and him being 33 I feel as though I became comfortable in it just being us two. Knowing each other for years we were just accustomed to each others company and our lifestyle. I always knew I had wanted to be a mother since a very young age. I would frequently and willingly offer my babysitting services in my adolescence and young adulthood. I even was a nanny as a means of employment for a short time.
When I was carrying our daughter I was put on maternity leave around 5-5 1/2 months along. During that time I read so much; articles giving moms advice, attempting to join mom groups through social media to get a better understanding of what things I soon had in store. Now don't get me wrong I love kids and had such an involved relationship with my family and friends kids while growing up always being referred to as Aunt Al or My Sissy Mommy my sister would call me (we have 15 year age difference our relationship is very unique).
I think my biggest hang up though that through my insecurities and my anxiety of now becoming a mother and Joe and I becoming parents together for the first time...It just felt overwhelming. I was bombarding myself with worries and concerns that I really shouldn't have stressed over in hind-sight. I was absorbing any information, advice, opinion about parenting, becoming a mother, and I had spiraled down a worm hole of constantly comparing myself to the standards of what we view as a "good mommy".
My over-analyzing everything and hormones made my mood swings a daily experience. I felt this pressure in which I put onto myself by worrying far more about what others opinions of me were and me as a mother I lost sought of who I was and sadly I knew I was doing this to myself and I was the one to blame...Or was I? During this time while I was carrying Gracie I felt like I lost a lot of people a lot of friends that didn't have kids. This is normal people tell me. I think it is an excuse but in reality you realize your lifestyle changes and the friends and even family that were so close and relatable like before become acquaintances, distance friendships, or captured in fun times I get reminded of daily on my Facebook memories.
I was too hard on myself throughout my pregnancy and the first few months of my daughters life. I became a prisoner to my own mind that was only fed when I knew I had done something beyond expectations of family and friends for me and my family and especially Gracie. My people pleasing nature went into hyper-drive. I then started to feel as though I was personally losing my own identity. To me I was and had become just Gracie's mom.
Through meditation and the consciousness effort to settle my anxious feelings and mom guilt if I didn't have Grace constantly next to me I started to change. I knew that I needed to put a end to my negative insecurities or it would eat me alive. Each day I did something new and different and it always involved something I enjoyed doing. I made sure that I would take this time for myself while Gracie napped whether it be just 10 minutes or 2 hours depending on what I wanted to do. Some days I felt no motivation no creativity no ambition to release my energy into a hobby. On these days I would read maybe 15 -30 minutes of a book or magazine. Other days I would work in my garden, paint, or sketch. I always did something I made sure of that and during the month of April I finally was diagnosed with postpartum depression while a pandemic was in full form and most were living day by day.
Once I was diagnosed I was put on medication but only for a brief amount of time. I truly didn't need it after a few months but it was the piece of the puzzle that helped me get through the slump. I had a totally different perception of what what postpartum depression was entirely and what I had experienced. The pandemic didn't help with these heightened hormones and emotions either. But I never gave up on myself. I knew secretly that I just felt as though I had all this positive love and light and that I finally was a mother like I had always dreamed of but it felt as though it came all so quickly that it was as though I was in sensory overload.
Everyday from day one til now I learn something new about myself and my daughter and it is the best and most rewarding experience I have ever embarked in my life thus far and wouldn't trade it for the world. I wish I didn't fall into the misunderstanding when it came to postpartum depression and that I had gotten help sooner but I have now been past the bump in the road and even now when I reflect I still wouldn't change my experience as a parent thus far either!