“Let me be clear: I love being my child’s mother. I adore the powerful love that I feel for him despite how overwhelming it feels at times. I wouldn’t change my life for anything.
But I do miss me. Sometimes I miss me so much that I feel a sadness that makes me feel guilty and unworthy of being a mom.”
Will I ever feel like myself again?
Will you ever feel like yourself again after having a baby?
The simple answer is no. You won’t ever have a moment again when you feel one hundred percent like your pre-baby self. It just won’t happen. Your new self will be too consumed with all the emotions and responsibilities that make up motherhood.
Two years out from giving birth and I was still waiting – so hopeful – that one day I would feel like Old Me again. I convinced myself that all the hormones would eventually even out and I’d feel like that person I once knew so well. But, alas, I never get back to that place. Because we, as women, are biologically engineered that way.
Motherhood changes you.
And whether you rejoice at that last statement or not, it doesn’t really matter in terms of getting back to Before Baby You. Motherhood, whether you feel like you’re thriving or struggling, is all-consuming.
Let me be clear: I love being my child’s mother. I adore the powerful love that I feel for him despite how overwhelming it feels at times. I wouldn’t change my life for anything.
But I do miss me. Sometimes I miss me so much that I feel a sadness that makes me feel guilty and unworthy of being a mom.
I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to miss pre-baby you. Pre-baby you was probably really cool, collected, and laid back, and now you’re feeling far from it. But, come on. Let’s not pretend as if birthing a child into the world is anything but life changing — and, for that matter, self changing. Whatever made you feel like you – whatever gave you excitement and passion – is still there. You can still reconnect with all that made you feel like yourself. But it’s not easy. Not when you are dead tired, overwhelmed, and doing nothing to feed your own soul.
So, here’s what I can tell you, mothers of the world: you can find little bits of you. And when you find enough little bits of you, you can take them and place them together like a little jigsaw puzzle. The more pieces of you that you find, the stronger you feel connected to who you once were, and the more you’ll realize that it’s okay that you will never fully be that person.
Because you are a mother, and that child you now have has rearranged all the puzzle pieces to create a new you. Your priorities have shifted. What motivates you has changed. And despite all the moments of desperately wanting to feel like your former self, you know you wouldn’t have it any other way, and that your new puzzle does, in fact, perfectly fit you.
So, how do you find those pieces of old you? It’s different for each person. Think back to pre-baby you and ask yourself what truly made you smile. What made you proud of yourself and what made you happiest? For me, it was being physically fit, being a geek (hey, Jeopardy), writing and journaling, and breaking out some good ol’ Britney every now and then. And while all those things sound silly, any mom knows that those silly little things go to the wayside so that you can be a great mom and wife and daughter and employee and whatever else you are.
But you have to be a great you as well. You have to make time for those silly little things that sound so trivial. When I finally started to make choices to do things just for me sometimes, I started feeling more connected to myself again. And the tough part of it all is that you, and only you, must make an active choice every day in order to connect with your former self again. No one else is going to remind you or do it for you. You have to want it for yourself. So, once a day, do something just for you. At first it might feel selfish, but I know that, at least for me, it allowed me to be a better mom, wife, employee, and every other title I hold.
Soon enough, you’ll discover a new you that you absolutely love. It’ll be a mix of old and new, and you’ll feel balanced once more.
So, no, you will never feel like your former self again. But you will find balance and you will feel just like the version of you that you are at this point in your life. And the puzzle pieces that make up your sense of self will all fit perfectly together. New You will be exactly who you want to be.
Guest post by Laurie Crocker