Having a Baby Does Not Mean You Will Lose Yourself

I follow an organization for parents in the Greater Toronto Area on twitter: Life With A Baby.  Today they had a great tweet and link to their blog:

When my son was born, my world stopped.  It all revolved around him.  At first I was so out of sorts.  I had no idea what I was doing, felt completely incompetent and in true Karen fashion, decided I would master this whole mothering thing. I failed to realize that I didn’t need to master anything.  I was enough the way I was for my son.  I also failed to realize that he wouldn’t be a newborn forever.

Since this is my second go at having a baby, I know what I need to hang onto myself: stop trying so hard, time to sleep, write a blog post or two, read something other than parenting books, ask for help, rely on my friends. These things will all help me to remember me and to survive the demands of a newborn. However, I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is that it is all temporary.

Those first few weeks of figuring out feeding and sleeping are insane.  It is so much work as you get to know the little person that lived inside you for 40 weeks!  It is overwhelming.  It is exhausting.  It is frustrating and amazing and awesome. And, it won’t last forever.

Very soon there will be time to go on dates again, go back to the gym, read books I love, keep up with the twitter/facebook/blogging world, meet friends for lunch or coffee etc. Once those first 6-8 weeks pass and the craziness passes, I will have a chance to reconnect with myself.

I will be able to play with my son,  play with my daughter and revel in being a mommy without being defined by it. I will enjoy every minute, be grateful for what I have and remember that I am living in a temporary reality that will change and change and change.  The demands of a baby will disappear into the demands of a toddler and I’ll eventually have another pre-schooler saying “I Know Mommy!”  when I remind her to pick up her toys or finish her veggies. The baby that demanded my time will be gone forever and I’ll have myself back.

Above all, I think the most important thing to remember is to keep in touch with that internal voice. If it says “I am happy”, then all is good.  If it says otherwise, then I will listen to it and act accordingly. After all, this is what we do when we are being true to ourselves.

How did you hang on to yourself after having a baby?  Any strategies that helped and you’d love to pass on?

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