You’re most likely to be besotted and enamored with your little cherub. You’ll be focused purely on the survival of your offspring; everything else ceases to exist. This is exactly where the problem lies: you start disappearing. Don’t get me wrong. You may find this new you utterly fulfilling, but you’re sure to come across moments of frustration and identity crisis – especially being a later mother used to your independence (what do you mean, no more spontaneous coffee breaks?).
It’s hard putting someone else’s needs first (even if it’s your mini-me) because it reduces your own flexibility – one of your previously most coveted assets. To get reconnected to yourself, you have to address your own wants; and we have a name for it: self-care. We women are complex emotionally and hormonally – hence our mystery and beauty – and we have to respect this before anyone else will. Becoming a mother will turn your identity on its head, and then when it does finally veer back it exposes you in a new, different light.
Give yourself time to adjust and don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. For some women it took a good year – maybe even two – to feel vaguely like themselves again. Well, feeling "myself" as a mother, that is.
Back to Me
Go for long walks – by yourself – don’t talk to anyone and try not to think too much.
Relax, stop worrying, clear your mind, soak up nature and breathe.
Meet a girlfriend for lunch – the one who reminds you of all the fun, crazy things you did and what a cool/bright/brave woman you were – and still are.
Attend yoga classes at least once a week, religiously like mass. Have a long bath and pamper yourself like a queen.
Do something brain-stimulating and cultural: visit an exhibition you thought you’d miss or a museum you’ve always wanted to see properly. Indulge in your time alone, feeling settled and safe that you’re a mum now.
Think of all the incredible things you’ve done, the amazing adventures you’ve been on, the wild times you’ve enjoyed and feel grateful for them.
Realize that you were ready to move on to the next step in adulthood.
Feel lucky that it all worked out and you were able to experience becoming a mother. Go dancing.
Take a course in something exotic you always wanted to learn; any dancing is good but especially belly dancing connects you to your centre.
Make a shrine for the new you.
Arrange some flowers on a table; add a picture, card, or anything pretty you like.
Make wishes for yourself.
When your little one is a bit bigger and can cope without you, go away – by yourself – for the night, weekend or even a week. You will need to keep pinching yourself. You’ll miss your baby terribly but she will survive just fine without you. There will also be moments when you feel your strength and independence returning.
Be patient. In a couple of years your child will be gone for hours and you’ll be left with yourself to contend with and lots of time on your hands.
NB All of the above means you have to get your partner/mother/ best friend/sitter to look after the baby – that is the whole point!
Also, you can come to our support group for mothers and to share your experience with others, to learn new things and to start enjoying your motherhood again. Find more about the group....