A story about adjusting to Motherhood and what is the 'New Normal', by Jessica D'Lima.
So I am 8 months into this mummy-ing business as I like to call it…and it's still new.
Well, let me think about that for a sec…8 months since I’ve been a mummy, but that obviously doesn’t include the 9 months of pregnancy. The pregnancy has to count… my way of thinking changed as soon as I fell pregnant.
Once I found out I was pregnant, I started to rethink my actions and choices. I was all of a sudden too scared to walk to the car at night in a car park by myself, I became cautious around the students when I was at work. I lost confidence in my body and my ability to protect myself. I became concerned that a bump from a student could cause me and my baby serious harm, and I was scared that if I was attacked while walking to the car at night, that I wouldn’t be able to defend myself.
So, thinking about those things, not to mention the whole “can I eat/drink/breathe that” thought cycle that repeats in one's head constantly for 9 months, then I’ve been doing this mummy-ing thing for a while now.
So why am I not used to it yet? and why the bloody hell have I lost my self confidence?
My daughter and I
Once upon a time…OK so not really, but before falling pregnant, I didn’t give a toss about what anyone thought about me and my choices. I would speak my mind without any regret. I was me and I didn’t make any apologies for being me.
Now…well now…where do I start. I constantly think about what people think when they look at me, when they witness my mummy-ing skills (or I feel more like its a lack of mummying skills), when they see my daughter my thoughts consist of fears such as…do they like what’s she’s wearing, should I explain why she looks sleepy, I should apologise for her giggling/squealing/talking so loud….what happened to my “I don’t give a toss” outlook on all of the above? Where the did my self confidence go? Did it leave with the placenta in the labour ward? Perhaps my daughter inherited it…and literally took it from me? Ugh…I want it back.
My mission to gain my self confidence back, is still new. The progress? Well, its been slow to be honest. I started with consciously changing what I think when I notice people looking at me or my daughter. Then I have real good think about how I am feeling within myself…I listen to my body and it is constantly telling me I am freakin' exhausted!
But why? I am 8 months into this mummy-ing thing, I shouldn’t be exhausted anymore? So off to the doctor I go, and it turns out I’m not as well as I think I am…hormones are sh*ts aren’t they? I have a hormone imbalance, but tablets are bringing it all back in line again and I am starting to feel better.
I still find myself apologising for my daughter’s loud giggle, squeal and chatter, I second guess what I’m wearing and my hair. My husband is fabulous…along with dealing with his own battles, he has taken on mine as well.
My daughter is amazing, she smiles, giggles, calls for “mum, mum, mum”, her crawling after me, putting her arms out to me and just her little self makes everything better.
My family has always been everything to me but we had become a little distant, caught up in the work grind, but then my brother’s girlfriend (and my honorary sister) decided we needed to have a regular catch up, so we have dinner with my family once a week now and at the last one my youngest brother said to me “Seriously Jess, you totally pull off that hair style, it looks really good”….and that little comment, that he likely doesn’t remember, went a long way in helping to restore me to the way I was.
Being with my family for one night a week does amazing things to me. I feel loved and not alone…which, I know I am not alone, I have my husband and daughter, but I still feel alone at times you know? Mummy-ing can be a lonely business.
I don’t want to go back to before I was a mum, I just want to regain my self-confidence. I want to be confident in who I am as a wife, daughter, sister and now mum, and I am slowly accepting that I have a new normal. One that will contain self-doubt, but that I am dedicated to making sure doesn’t lack self-confidence.
I am a new version of me, because let’s face it…no one can go through the craziness that is pregnancy, childbirth or the rollercoaster of emotions that is motherhood without becoming a new version of themselves. I am working on making sure my new version has the best of the old version…as all good upgrades should.
Adjusting to motherhood isn't easy, but if you can embrace the new normal, life becomes a hell of a lot better!
On a side note, to all the mummys out there (and the daddys too), if you feel different, sad, tired, stressed, unhappy, unmotivated, exhausted…go to the doctor and get yourself checked out.