I spent the afternoon with one of my favourite people, who is also very heavily pregnant. From being a pragmatic, grounded, sensible girl the ‘Mummy Worries’ are beginning to creep in (it happens to the best of us!). This one was all around ‘being out of the loop’ and ‘not getting back to life’ or basically losing your sense of identity.
Now it is easy for an existing Mum, who is a little bit further on to say ‘Don’t worry, you’ll make it through, and out the other side, and do you know it isn’t that bad!’, however, logically she’s not daft, so she knows that. But it isn’t going to make her FEEL any better.
Do you worry about never getting your ‘old life back’ etc? If so, here are some quick ideas to help you really feel that you will be OK. You might need a mate to give you some objective ideas to work through it, or you can always ask me for some assistance.
First some bits of information for you to think about:
Info 1 – Break the Myth – Life is not ‘better’ or ‘worse’ after a baby or any life-changing event. It’s just different. Just as good. Just as bad. So don’t fall for the myth that life is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ afterwards, because that will cause you pain and discomfort.
Info 2 – Identity can’t disappear – Nothing disappears – try making water disappear, you are only going to get steam or ice, but not nothingness. It can change. It just can’t disappear. So you will still have a network, just made up of different people (and not everyone talks about puree and nappies all the time!). You will still be sexy, but for some it will change from a Kate Moss kind of sexy to a Nigella Lawson kind. You’ll still be able to work/party, but it is likely to be slightly different. But then think about it this way – wouldn’t life be boring if everything stayed the same for the rest of your life?
Info 3 – Don’t get scared about stereotypes about Mums. Yes, even the most ‘sensible’ can get excited about poo, but that doesn’t mean it is the only thing they think about. It’s just like normal life, there is a broad spectrum of mums, and you are bound to meet someone you click with.
Here are the steps to work through in order to calm those worries, they may take a couple of hours, but you don’t have to do them in 1 fail swoop.
Step 1 – List where your network/role/identity/loop is now – whatever you are scared about losing. E.g. work mates, partying mates, body shape etc
Step 2 – List where it could go e.g. baby classes, Mums groups, gym, coffee shops, church, online (e.g. netmums, mumsnet, twittermums – loads!), seeing more of your family, maybe neighbours. Keep going until you can see there is ‘as much’ of the new identity/loop etc as there was before.
Step 3 – What are the downsides to the way that life is now, or just before you were pregnant? Did you get hung over lots?! Is there a lot of pressure to deliver at work? Were you at times feeling dissatisfied? Were you broody? Do you not actually know many people near by? Were you always to-ing and fro-ing? Are you beginning to feel it might not be such a bad idea for a change? If so, go on to the next step.
Step 4 – What would the benefits of the new network/identity/loop/way of life be? You’ll know what you are doing every day. Just having a shower can be a major achievement! You appreciate the small things in life, like having 30 mins to yourself. It’s a brilliant way to learn about life, you and people in general. It can mean a change of work. And of course there is the baby!
Tip – Join LOTS of Mums groups e.g. anti-natal swimming, yoga, NCT, local Mums & Babies, music classes, baby swimming, everything you can. Plus, my most successful place to meet mums was Starbucks! As the time goes by, people go back to work, people move, some Mums become unpleasant (hey, they are just human), and some you just won’t click with. So start with a big network, to give yourself plenty of space for pruning over the first 18 months!!
I hope this helps for any mums worried or worrying about life having changed or being about to change. Let me know if you have any feedback.