What do I do now? navigating life after your baby…August 18, 2016
So, you went to the NCT classes, you might have even tried hypnobirthing (and if you didn't I recommend it for next time). You are now home with your new bundle of joy and the dust, nappies and general fluids have settled. So how are you feeling? If you are anything like me and my friends your emotions will be all over the place, you are obviously delighted at your new addition, probably cranky due to lack of sleep, emotional due to your hormones and maybe feeling a bit lost?
Giving birth changes all of us in ways we probably never even considered. I am not going to bang on about the physical changes here as we all know that we put on weight / our boobs become other entities and we can have various unsavoury aftereffects “down there”. I want to talk about the changes to you as a person, to how you feel about yourself, your confidence and your values.
Becoming a mum creates a shift in self perception and in other people's perception of you. If, like me, your identity used to be based around being a party girl, a career girl or being independent suddenly having a bundle of joy attached to your boob/front is a huge shift. I adore my two girls but I am the first to admit that I have struggled with my identity since becoming a mum, this isn't helped by the fact that you no longer are addressed by your name as it's completely acceptable for people to call you “Jessica's mum”. So who am I now? the amount of times I wanted to scream at people “My name is Ruth” but of course didn't as in my sleep deprived state if I could remember the kids name I was doing pretty darn well and the mum, well we were all mums now weren't we and that was that.
Reflecting now on how I felt I realise that motherhood impacted my confidence, in some ways I was super confident but actually when I thought about who I was I didn't really know anymore. Maternity leave was pretty glorious, endless coffee and lunch dates, afternoons in the park and towards the end maybe a few too many afternoon glasses of prosecco / wine / gin.. During those summer days I often found myself chatting to friends and fellow mummies about what we really wanted to do. None of us had the answers and none of us really wanted to go back to work but as our maternity leave came to an end most of us trotted back to our old jobs (although only two of us full time) and muddled through the dual roles of mummy and career girl…
Now, I have always loved my job. I am lucky and I know this BUT leaving my little girl every day and sometimes not spending any time with her took a toll on me emotionally. I felt that I was not giving my best at home or at work but unsure what my options were I ploughed on. I then found myself pregnant again and contemplating another maternity leave. This time it is different, I have spent some time really thinking about what my priorities are, what my goals are and what I want to achieve. I feel more like myself than I have for years and this is because I am confident in who I am and what I stand for. How did I manage to do this? Well I started working with a coach as I knew I wanted to make changes to my life and guess what I am now a coach myself. So if, like me you struggled after becoming a mum – with who you now where, your identity, your confidence, your career or your work life balance coaching could be that thing that helps you get back on track.