Lost in Motherhood

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I was walking past a mirror the other day and I caught a brief glimpse of my reflection and couldn’t help but look back to have a proper look. These days I don’t seem to get time to put on makeup, or do my hair, so I wanted to check that I didn’t look too much of a state. But I looked back and did an almost comical double take – I didn’t recognise the person staring back at me. She didn’t look a state – hair was brushed, if not styled, she didn’t have lipstick on her teeth – but it wasn’t the image I have of myself in my head. She looked more tired, more drab, more frumpy, and older. So much older.

But it’s not just on the outside that I’ve changed – I find it hard to think of myself as the same person as before. I feel like my spark has gone and I’m devoid of personality right now. Tiredness definitely plays a huge role – I’m so physically, bone-achingly tired, that I struggle to hold a conversation. I can’t remember details that people have shared with me about their lives, which makes me seem uninterested, and so I know I’ve withdrawn from meeting up with friends. By the time my husband gets home from work and the children are in bed, I can barely form a sentence. He talks to me about his day, but the words just sail over my head, in one ear and out the other.

I swore it wouldn’t be like this second time around.

It took me by surprise as a first time mum. I only realised that I felt so lost when I started to regain a bit of that sense of self after the first year of motherhood had passed. I vowed that I would keep more on top of things like my beauty regime, and keep buying clothes, and doing little things that make me happy. I didn’t expect motherhood to hit me like a tonne of bricks again – I knew what was coming this time, and I was used to being a stay at home mum now.

And I’ve tried.

I’ve bought the clothes, I’ve been better about wearing makeup most days (I love it, and it makes me feel human).

But the clothes don’t look quite how I imagined them once I put them on, and the makeup can’t hide the dark circles and the puffy cheeks. I’m a good two dress sizes bigger than I want to be, and I’m so tired that I crave sugary foods, which mean I’m not likely to lose that weight any time soon. This new body is unfamiliar, and I don’t know how to dress it. Especially trying to work in the whole ‘can I breastfeed in it’ factor.

And no matter the benefits of breastfeeding, it’s a huge tie to your baby. It means you can’t leave them for more than a few hours, and it’s yet another reason I feel my body isn’t my own; it belongs to my baby right now. Well, my baby and my 3 year old, who insists on demanding a cuddle and stroking my neck. By the end of the day I’m completely touched out by both my children.

When I realised that I was so lost first time around, I put a big part of it down to finding my way as a mum. As a first time mum your whole life is turned on its head and you’re learning all the time about how to navigate new situations and pick up new skills. It doesn’t feel like an unknown path I’m treading this time, so why do I still feel so lost?

I know that it will get better. One day my baby will sleep, and one day, I’ll start to feel like me again. But right now, I’m treading water, just trying to keep afloat.

 

 

Tammymum
  • I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. Be kind to yourself, you’re doing an amazing job raising your children. It’ll become easier and you’ll start feeling like you again soon. Big hugs x x

    • Thank you so much. I think that’s the difference this time around – I’m more conscious that I’ve lost something, but I know that it’ll return at some point.

  • Mary Peterson

    Katy, may I please share with you the #1 most helpful comment I received before giving birth? No, it had nothing to do with parenting, which was for me almost exclusively on-the-job training. It was this very simple remark: “Mary, if you were slim before you had children, you will likely – over a little time – be slim afterwards.”

    This admission may make me seem shallow, but it rang through my head for months after I had my twins. I had lost 30 lbs of the 55 I gained during my pregnancy but I hung to that hope that the comment would be true. The following year, I was wishing that I had not given away my smallest sexy dresses because they would have fit again!

    As for the breastfeeding, it is such an important job, but one that I did exclusively through pumping. Latching (and quite honestly, funky shaped nipples) posed a big problem for me with ACTUAL nursing, but it eased my mind to give my kids pumped milk. I came to enjoy my time pumping with that weird bra on, all lookin’ like a cow! Hey, I had my hands free to return texts, emails or read. My children would hang out in “baby jail” (pack and play) and I had time to have a tiny bit of a break (and distance from all that touching!).

    Take advantage of the help that may be tossed your way. Say YES, that would be fantastic if you could stop over and play with my little ones while I take a nap. NO mommy guilt! You will be so much better off if you can grab that sleep and not try to be Superwoman. As soon as you begin to feel human again, get outside as quickly as you can and spend as much time out there as you can!

    You will get through this. It’s damn hard, but your body, your mental and emotional health will get to a stable place again. Have faith! You are doing a very healthy thing by being honest with yourself. (And don’t feel guilty if you look to your doctor for “pharmaceutical relief.” There’s no shame in that, and it certainly helped me. Many hugs to you! — Mary “Carolina Twin Mom”

    • Thank you so much Mary. I’m full of admiration for you exclusively pumping, for twins too! Pumping always strikes me as such a lot of work (and I don’t ever yield much to make it worth bothering sadly!) It’s funny, it seems shallow to be so bothered by appearance, and first time around I don’t think I was, but this time it really does bother me. But you’re absolutely right, your body just takes time to get back to how it was before and I need to have more confidence that it will in time. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment.

  • It’s like you know it’s not forever second time round but when your in the midst of it it feels like it’ll never end. Just starting my 2nd child journey and I get how you feel. I’m clinging on to some of my hobbies, I feel this will be my saviour, I may not get a lot time for them but it’s something for me. Becoming parents is life changing, it’s scary and weird and amazing all at the same time! #familyfunlinky

    • Congratulations Karen, I was so pleased to see your news! I hope you’re all settling into life as a new family well. You’re absolutely right, you just need something for you, however small it is, and it’s so important to try as best you can to make time for that. It’s often easier said than done though (particularly if your hobby is a noisy one like mine!)