Loss of Identity After Becoming a Parentby Amie MacKay
Becoming a mommy was the best thing in the world, it’s been, hands down the most incredible experience of my life and I’ll be forever grateful for it as it was something I wanted so much for so long and I was lucky enough to get my beautiful little miracle. Before Little Miss H was born, I knew things would change when we became parents. Of course, they would! Your whole world changes; you’ve now got this little person who completely depends on you and will do so for a very long time. Becoming a parent changes your life forever.
I don’t think anything fully prepares you for motherhood. Nearly three years down the line and I’m still working out what it means to be a good mommy. If I’m being completely honest with you all, regardless of how badly I wanted it or how much I love it, I was and sometimes still am completely overwhelmed by how much this little person relies on me and needs me to be her protector 24 hours a day, every day.
Once you’ve had your bundle of joy, your world switches. It’s all about them, this tiny wee person is now in charge of your life, you can’t do what you want when you want anymore. An hour-long soak in the bath? A hot coffee? A catch up with your friend? You can still have those things, just not the way you would have done them before. Expect a little person to join in that relaxing bath, the hot coffee to go cold because you’ve just remembered about the load of washing you were going to put on….yesterday…and a catch up with a friend, expect to run late and lose your train of thought with every conversation because you get distracted by what your child is doing. I’m not complaining, well not really, she’s completely changed my life and in return, she gives me an incredible amount of love and affection, she made me a mommy, made my dreams come true. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.
So, in return, I made sure, well-tried to…give her the best mommy I possibly could be. I dedicated all my time, energy and love to her. Every single day. That was my job. I fully embraced the motherhood journey, reminded myself everyday how lucky I was to have this wonderful honor that is being a mommy. However, as much as I was loving my motherhood journey and the love I have for my little girl, I honestly can’t even find the right words to explain how much I love her. Something changed. I was a mom. I was a wife but, where was I? I’d been so caught up about being the perfect mom, making sure I was being a good enough wife, I’d forgotten about me. I’d forgotten what I was like and what I liked to do before I became a mom, in all honestly my whole life before Little Miss H, seemed like a distant memory. Looking back, I don’t understand why it took me so long to realize, so many people referred to me as Heidi’s mom or Duncan’s wife. I was no longer Amie. Some days I just felt completely invisible. I’d gotten us into a routine, we did certain things on certain days. I felt like, well I still do feel like there’s not enough hours in the day, once I’d caught up on the washing or the housework, I didn’t have any energy to do anything for myself.
Now being a stay at home mom, I think didn’t help. I think if I had a job, I still would have had my identity in the workplace where I would have been myself, I wouldn’t have been known as Heidi’s mom or Duncan’s wife. I would have just been Amie. Also, I think us mom’s make it worse for ourselves when we attend playgroups etc as we refer ourselves as so and so’s mommy. It’s almost as if we’re frightened to ask another parent’s real name which is kind of ridiculous but never mind….I think it’s got something to do with the fact we’re in that parent role and we’ve forgotten that we actually are still people, with thoughts, needs and feelings.
Much as I feel guilty for saying this, I had this horrible feeling of ‘there must be more, this can’t be my life now. I’m no longer me and my baby isn’t going to be my baby forever.’ So after a tearful conversation with my husband that pretty much went like this….”I’m not me anymore, all I do is clean, do washing and run about after Heidi and then repeat the same thing the next day, I shouldn’t be moaning because this is what I wanted but you still get to be you, it’s not fair” He reminded me that yes, Heidi did need me, she did rely on me, I was her world, just like she was mine but she would need me to be a happy mommy, one who knew her worth and in order to give my all to her, I’d need to look after myself first. Crap, he was right. He hit the nail on the head.
If you have read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I suffered badly with separation anxiety, which I think also played its part in this. However, after that chat, I made an effort to go out, catch up with my friends, go to concerts, just generally try to do the things that I used to enjoy doing to feel like myself again. Heidi got to spend some quality time with her dad, or her grannies who are also very important people in her life. She doesn’t just have me, she has an army of people who love and care about her. I’ve made a promise to myself, to continue to work on self-care, to ensure that I don’t completely lose myself. I can’t be the best mommy if I don’t look after myself. I’ve got a nearly three-year-old who watches my every move and one of my biggest jobs is to teach my beautiful girl to love herself and in order to do that I need to love myself.
Yes, I will forever and always be a mommy, but I’ll always be me too.