Motherhood has changed me on a molecular level. I realise I’m not breaking new ground by saying that but its true, and it goes beyond the typical changes associated with wrapping your life around a new human being. I literally feel like a different person.
For me it was inevitable that life would be dismantled and rebuilt around my child; before I conceived we decided I would take a career break and be a stay at home mum until he or she started school. Its only when I became a mother for real though that I actually realised what ‘real’ really meant. No-one can prepare you for becoming a parent, if someone told me that motherhood would be life changing I could understand the words and grasp the concept but the gravity of their meaning doesn’t become clear until later.
I think in those first months of my daughter’s life I truly lost myself. I floated between day and night, feeding, washing bottles, changing nappies, pacing up and down the hallway at all hours trying to get her to sleep. Post Natal Depression set in and I was lost down the rabbit hole wondering where the old me had gone. I remember leaving her for the first time to go on ‘date night’ when she was a couple of months old, only to return home early with a big knot in my stomach: an actual physical reaction to leaving my baby. It seemed at the time that nothing I did or enjoyed as the ‘old me’ was possible anymore. I would have to work out a way to see who on earth I’d become.
As her first birthday approached I knew I wouldn’t want to go back to my old job. I was never inspired in the civil service and the ‘new me’ did not want to spend precious hours away from her in later years doing something that did not matter. As the dust began to settle in my new life I saw the world and our future in a whole new light, with priorities stacked up in an entirely different way than before. So I needed a plan, it was now or never. Being a mum to a daughter played a part too. Perhaps I felt a responsibility to be a role model more strongly, especially in the context of a career, or maybe I would have felt the same with a son, who knows?! What I do know is I want my child to have a mother who does something she is passionate about and works bloody hard for. No matter what my daughter’s future career path will be I want her to love it and invest herself in it fully.
Becoming a mother has really been the kick up the arse I needed. Usually people have decided and begun their chosen career before they start a family, but I didn’t realise until now that I hadn’t even decided in any meaningful way let alone established that for myself. As someone who elected to be a stay at home mum for a number of years it is perhaps a tad ironic the time I’ve spent at home has been the catalyst to becoming a focussed, autonomous career woman, driven entirely by her own ambition. There’s a big wide world out there and a lot to achieve, and I love the fact that I have a daughter to take with me on the journey.
Image – Anna Lewis www.facebook.com/sketchymuma