Finding Myself Again

As I sit here at my computer three months postpartum I am amazed at all of the changes that have taken place in my life. Changes of course in Aubrey but also huge changes in myself too.

Pre-Baby

I spent middle school and high school babysitting and doing childcare and absolutely loving it. I then went on to work in childcare during and post-college for about five years and I knew for certain I wanted my own children.

I assumed motherhood would come easy and I would be prepared for most major curve balls having had the extra childcare experience. Turns out I was wrong! Now having gone through pregnancy, labor, and then life with a newborn, that nothing can truly prepare you for your own child. It’s not the same as babysitting or working in daycare. It’s a new and different hurdle all on it’s own. 

Suddenly…

One day you are a family of two the next moment you’re a family of three. No amount of baby classes or nesting can prepare you for what that all means. Suddenly having another human to care for is pretty nerve wracking…no matter how much experience you might have. 

After going through a fast, furious, and slightly traumatic birth experience, I was suddenly thrust in to motherhood. All of the sudden I didn’t recognize myself. Looking in the mirror I was soft, jiggly, and bloated; my body now a different shape than it once was. I barely had time to go to the bathroom or eat in between nursing sessions with a baby constantly attached to my chest day and night. Days and nights blurred together and feelings of joy and sadness ebbed and flowed like an unsettled ocean wave. One moment I was crying for joy at this new little lady that filled my heart and the next moment I was mourning the loss of my old self. 

Mourning the Old Self

I spent a lot of time thinking back to my old life. As a fussy baby demanded 100% of my attention 100% of the time, I had feelings of great sadness. I missed having quiet time talking with Daniel. I missed sitting down to a meal and enjoying the taste of the food and not having to choke it down quickly in between feedings. I missed reading and writing blog posts and sharing my interests with the inter-web world. I cried for the girl who loved to exercise and had 30-60 minutes 5 or 6 days a week to complete a workout. I cried for spontaneity, hours to myself before bed, and watching a movie cuddled on the couch with Daniel. In the latest hours of the night I even day dreamed about checking in to a hotel to sleep in peace.

Mom Guilt

I felt so guilty for feeling this way at first. But really, I think more moms should be honest and supportive as we all learn our new life as a mother. It takes time to find your new self. It’s okay to get frustrated or sad or angry when things are hard. Too often people judge women who talk about the realities of being a new mom without covering the experience in picture-perfect adjectives and perfect photos of everyone smiling and showered. Sometimes things are hard and I think saying how you’re truly feeling is the first step in finding yourself again…even if it means saying that you’d rather be sleeping at a hotel alone! 

Guess What?

I love being Aubrey’s mom! I wouldn’t trade her for the world and I wouldn’t trade those first three months for anything either. They taught me a lot about myself. This week Aubrey turned three months and I feel like I’m finding myself again. We’re sleeping better, eating a little bit longer, and I feel like I am in the swing of things. I feel confident and happy and love being a mama of Aubrey. 

You’re Not Alone!

Any new mamas out there feeling sad or frustrated or wanting to check themselves in a hotel? You’re not alone! I’m hear to listen or chat with you any time you’d like and there’s no judgement over here. Let’s be loving and supportive mamas so that we can be the best moms we can be for our babies. Also, when people keep telling you that “things will get better” and “things will get easier”? They were right! I never believed them in those first few weeks…but now I can say with confidence that it truly does get better. Did I find my old self exactly? No, but I think I love this new self even better!

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17 thoughts on “Finding Myself Again

  1. This is a WONDERFUL post, Heather!! What striked me most was, “…so that we can be the best moms we can be for our babies.” Yes. I think if more moms can come together and have honest conversations about their feelings, then those feelings won’t be able to build up inside and turn into hidden bitterness and repressed emotions and ultimately – stress, burn out and being someone you are not. We ALL have feelings and thoughts that don’t align with who we actually “are,” and if we are just honest with them, then they can pass through and we can move on being our best selves. Anyways – I always think the best mothers are those that stay true to who they are and remember they are an individual as well as a mom.

    Since I’m not a mom and so can’t imagine this intense change of lifestyle yet, I can say that this post just spoke to me in terms of any sort of life adjustment we may go through. I’ve been really busy lately and feeling like I haven’t been able to do things that make me feel like “me,” and its been making me pretty sad. So this was a reminder that it is okay to feel a mourning for those changes. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome! I think we all go through phases when we feel like we’ve lost ourselves on some level. So hard to figure out our new selves sometimes!

  2. I can relate to almost all. Annabelle was fussy at times but neither kid needed fed around the clock (thank goodness!) and that’s about the only difference. I still don’t have much time with just Aaron at night and I miss that after having it again for so long after A was born. Sadly, time to really enjoy eating never does get better! hahaha You’re amazing and such a great mom to Aubrey! Keep it up!

    • Thanks, Heather! Eating has gotten a little bit better…sometimes we can make it through 15-20 minutes to eat before shes fussing for attention haha!

  3. Great post! Your posts are always on point but this one I can especially relate to. I had those same feelings of missing my former self and feeling guilty about it. And in one moment being so in awe of my precious little baby and in the next crying over feeling so trapped and tied down to his feeding schedule. And even though everyone told me it would get better, it seemed so hard to believe until it actually did get better! I think the stages only get better from here, so keep hanging in there! Glad you were able to reflect on the changes and are appreciating your new self!

  4. When I read these stories I realize just how much I took and take my mama, my precious self sacrificing mama for granted. She gave up so much of herself to love me, a poor helpless little baby, a baby that had no way of caring for myself. Yet she loved me anyways; I can’t imagine how much Aubrey will grow up and treasure the moments and memories and love you put into loving her over so many sleepless nights and days. I’m not nearly selfless enough, and I feel privileged and thankful that you would share these feelings and thoughts and lessons. I want to be a mama like you; Lord willing I should be a mama. I want to learn that kind of love for a little one. It just really reminds me of the amazing unfathomable unconditional love of God for us.

    • Thanks, Emily! Yes, I’ve been reminded a lot of Christ’s love for us. We have nothing to offer Him and he still cares for us in so many ways!

  5. The first 12-16 weeks are SO tough! The lack of routine and ability to have downtime is just exhausting. But there is something magical that happens between the 3-4 month mark — and you begin to feel some confidence in parenting (and yourself).

    And then the beautiful 6-8 month mark happens where baby becomes so interactive, begins to have a more predictable sleep schedule and can start eating solid foods. You’re through the hardest part (in my opinion), so keep on keepin’ on momma!

    • Thank you, Dee! We’re in another rough patch due to a terrible sleep regression…we’re on week three of it and I’m exhausted. Cheers to things getting easier soon!

  6. Oh my goodness you have described EXACTLY how I have been feeling!!! I’m a new mama too, my little girl is about the same age as yours (born June 16th) and definitely is a high maintenance baby! I’m a preschool teacher and have been around kids for what seems like forever but nothing can prepare you for motherhood. It’s a whirlwind of emotions that’s for sure. Thank you for writing this, I really needed to read it and know that we are not alone!!

    • YES!! Aubrey’s been high maintenance too! Where do you live? We need to meet up hahaha! Cheers to hoping things get easier! So glad you were able to relate to this too. So hard!

  7. Thanks for such an honest post, Heather! I feel like I hear this often from other new moms, so it sounds like you are definitely not alone. While I don’t have kids yet, I can’t even imagine the transition and new life that happens after. Like you mentioned, everything changes. It sounds like we almost become new people, all while learning along the way. Look forward to reading more of these posts! <3

    • Thanks, Sarah! Congratulations to you too again! Hope that you find my pregnancy and motherhood posts helpful as you navigate your own journey!

  8. thanks for your honesty… i know other moms will so appreciate that. it sounds like you’re doing a great job all in all and you should be so proud of yourself for just going with life’s changes lately. change is tough but you’re doing a great job <3

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