There’s no use fighting it anymore… But I am finding this part hard. In fact, I think it’s one of the hardest things about becoming a new mum. The giving yourself up part. You see, I seem to be holding on quite tightly to the ledge of my former life. I can remember the freedom, the fun I had at work, the way I used to dress, the things I used to do, the places I used to go, the person I used to be, the dreams I used to have.
Now I’m a mum of baby twins and it’s so life changing I’m still catching my breath. Seven months into this mum thing and it’s only just dawning on me how long forever is.
I love my children and I love spending my days with them, but it’s still a shock to the system that this maternity bubble isn’t a bubble… it’s my life. I guess it’s made all the more pertinent that I recently decided to leave my role as Editor of sofeminine, a company I’ve worked at for almost six years. That’s a big part of my life and a big part of my identity, and now I’m left wondering what defines me? And is it now ‘just’ the fact of being a mum? What about everything else I did/was?
Leaving my Editor role made sense, but it wasn’t an easy decision. And it’s a decision many women before me have had to make. Actually, London childcare costs make the decision for you.
It’s a big deal though, for me at least. My career was my whole world and focus and now that’s all shifted to the two people I have the privilege of raising. But mummying all day every day can be a bit mind numbing sometimes, it’s a bit lonely sometimes, it’s a lot repetitive most of the time and it’s very physical and emotionally all consuming.
Everyday I have moments where I think about how lucky I am to be spending this time with my children and everyday I have moments of finding it hard, of missing the feeling of getting up and going out to work, walking down the street by myself, achieving my goals, seeing my friends, having my own agenda.
I think for a lot of mums, giving themselves up to the new mum/baby/toddler years is a really hard adjustment, and one that we don’t always confess to. It sounds selfish doesn’t it? To love having children but to equally feel sadness for the loss of the lifestyle you had before.
Maybe it’s because the twins came along earlier in my life than I expected them to (of course I didn’t expect twins ever) or maybe it’s like this for everyone? I can remember everything about my before life and to know that those days of irresponsibility and freedom are completely over, well, that’s quite hard to accept.
My world is forever changed and the world doesn’t quite feel like my oyster anymore. I have a family to consider in every decision I make. My babies are the ones with the world at their feet now, and I’ve had to take that step back to be able to give the world to them.
Talking to my own mum about it, something I remember her saying a few times now is “you have to give yourself up to it”, and it’s true. You do have to give yourself up to the baby days, to these tiring, awe inspiring, incredible, relentless days of motherhood with young children.
Giving yourself up to motherhood is essential. It’s a mental adjustment that I think all women go through. To make it feel possible. To make it feel manageable you do have to take a deep breath, put yourself aside, let go of the past and embrace the present; the precious moments with your bubs that you won’t get to experience again.
You need to give yourself up, but you don’t need to give up on yourself.
That’s the balance I’m striving for. Accepting these crazy days of baby chaos, sweet potato on every surface and unwashed hair, and trying to enjoy them for as long as I have them, because one day I will be able to get showered everyday. One day I will be working full time again and focusing on my career again. One day the babies won’t be babies anymore and one day I will look back and think it all went by so quickly.
For now I’m not giving up on me, I’m giving myself to my children.
Have you experienced this?
Lots of love,
Photo by Jutta Klee