This post may be a bit different from what you usually see floating around the blogosphere within the parent community. I see & hear things online constantly about women who lose their identity after they've had a baby, and I totally get it. I get it, and I understand it - but I can't really relate to it. I actually feel the complete opposite in fact. I don't feel like I lost myself after I had Reuben, I feel like I found out who I was truly meant to be. Before I got pregnant with Reuben, I was doing a degree that I quite literally hated. I lived in halls at uni and I didn't feel like I really 'belonged' anywhere, if that makes sense? I had no clue what I wanted to do with my future and to be honest, I felt lost. I don't really like to talk about it too much, but I was quite depressed and in a dark place in the few months before I found out I had a little Ru in my tummy, and I didn't feel like myself at all. I didn't even know what 'feeling like myself' was even meant to feel like. I just don't know, or remember who I was supposed to be. It's a hard situation to grasp to be honest, but I actually felt like that a lot throughout my teenage years too.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, it was like a light switch came on. It's a bit cliché but I feel like I was always meant to be a mum. And it's funny because right now I really don't see myself ever having or wanting to have more kids, but I still feel like my destiny was always to be a mother. I instantly came out of this dark place I was in and I felt like my life suddenly had a purpose. I continued doing all the things I loved, and I still do, even now. I just do it all with Reuben by my side! I'm so grateful for how my life panned out because the "old" me, didn't really feel like me? Even though that sounds like I did lose myself in some ways, I didn't really because I just didn't know who I was. I think the person I am now, was always who I was supposed to be, and as cheesy as it sounds - I truly love this version of myself and who I am today.
Of course my life completely changed and became essentially revolved around Reuben, but everything is about the two of us now. Not just him. I didn't stop feeling passionate about my interests, I didn't even stop working. I was fresh out of Uni, I'd completed a degree in Graphic Design, and one week postpartum I took on a huge project with a client. I went into hospital with my one week old baby and a womb infection, and do you think that stopped me from designing my little heart away? Did it heck. I think I was a bit crazy to be honest... But it's just proof of the fact that having a baby didn't stop me from doing the things I loved, obviously the money was a huge motivator too but I felt excited about taking on something new, you know?! My life did revolve around Reuben, but I made it work so that everything incorporated the both of us. I wanted to get a graduate job when I finished Uni, that was the goal - but it was only my goal because I felt like that was the next step. Not so much because it's what I really wanted. Having a baby just meant that I took it freelance instead, something I'd already been doing throughout my last year of Uni anyway! Over the last couple of years my interests took a swing in a different direction, but that was nothing to do with having Reuben in my life, that would have happened regardless. I'm the kind of person that gets really bored and wants something new and exciting to take on. A new challenge if you like.
Becoming a mum changed me in so many ways. But for the better. I found a confidence that I've never ever had or felt in my whole life. I developed as a person so, so much. I'm almost in disbelief at the person I was in the past because I just didn't do things that I wouldn't think twice about now?! Becoming a mum stopped me feeling so anxious all of the time, and whilst I still suffer with anxiety, it's nothing like it once was. I just completely came out of my shell and it was like being reborn, as dramatic as that sounds! Even though I'm a completely different person to who I was, I don't feel like I lost myself or my identity at all, because I had nothing figured out before. Now I have all the same passions that I had before Reuben, but I know where I want to go with them, I know who I am.
I'm not just a mum, there are so many things that I'm passionate about, photography, my blog, sharing my life and my adventures, styling my home - so much! And I did/had all of those things before Reuben, there was basically just a missing piece from the puzzle. He doesn't stop me from doing the things that I love - okay so maybe there's a few restraints but they are so minuscule and don't affect the bigger picture. I'm not saying that I'm any better than anyone who loses their identity after having children, I'm just simply expressing that it seems to be such a common and relatable topic amongst other mamas and I want anyone that feels the same way that I do to feel normal. It's okay to find your identity after children and to really discover who you feel you were always supposed to be.
In total honesty, I'm a little bit scared for the future. It's a long time away but I don't know what I'll do when Reuben is grown up and doesn't need me anymore. I think that's when I'll feel like I've lost myself because our life together feels like that's how it's supposed to be. And I'm sure I'll figure it out, he'll always be in my life, it will just be in a different way when he's grown up and figuring his own future out.
If you're a parent, how do you feel since having a baby? Do you feel like you lost or gained your identity?