Picking lemons in our sunny backyard, its the simple things…

When you become a mother, your identity changes. Instantly. No one seems to mention this enormous fact when you’re pregnant.

It’s like you finally feel like you know who you are and it all shifts the moment your child takes their first breath. No amount of preparation, reading, or observation can ready you for such an immediate and overwhelming change.

My identity was crowded enough before shoving ‘Mother’ to the top of the list- daughter, sister, wife, friend, colleague and ex-pat…Now someone’s Mom. The most important label, one I didn’t even really earn. Not yet.

The dust settled after our trip to the US and once again it was just me and Lavinia.

I worried about being alone with her again after being spoiled by company every day for five weeks.  There were a few moments of loneliness on that first day Matt went back to work.

Even though I’m alone again in Australia it feels as if visiting my hometown in the US allowed me to hit the reset button. For the first time I got to be a Mom around my own family- which was strange- but I also got to be me. The light falling on us now reveals how much has changed.

I am starting to heal and these are a few reasons why:

  • Lavinia is easier than ever before. She sleeps twelve hours at night, she can sit up and is fully weaned (freedom!)
  • The 24 hour journey across the world and back with a baby has given me the confidence to scoot around Melbourne in my car.
  • I am continually receiving messages of support from friends and family members. This makes me feel less isolated.
  • Writing. Writing helps to organise my thoughts.
  • Therapy has helped me to step outside my head when I’m having anxious thoughts (work in progress).
  • Homeopathy. Mine does Skype appointments. She is THE BEST.
  • And what I believe to be the most significant reason…. reconnecting with myself.

In Buffalo, The first time I left Lavinia with my Mom so I could go out to lunch, it felt strange. I was not used to being out without my baby. It took a few glasses of wine but eventually I relaxed and laughed. And as a bonus I got to sit with MY old friends and share stories about the past.

People tell you that in order to be a better Mom, you need to practise self-care within your time constraints. I’m sorry but a bubble bath during Lavinia’s nap time was not going to do that for me. I needed Buffalo. I needed my friends, I needed to remember that I used to be someone apart from being someone’s Mom.

I began to amalgamate my old identity with my new one. I couldn’t do that until I revisited the old one just for a moment. I hope- rather I know- this will make me a better parent.

Lavinia and I had a great first week back in Melbourne. I unpacked, cooked, and we even took that daunting drive to Mornington without any anxious chatter in my formerly unruly mind.

The last few days I have been feeling a bit flat but that’s a step up from ‘down’ or depressed.  Now I need to think about what else I can work on going forward. It’s comforting knowing that a string of good days are achievable.  More sunshine is penetrating our little world.

Author: dawnrieniets

Leave a Reply

9 thoughts on “How I’m Starting to Feel Better

  1. Love, love reading your posts and hearing your thoughts. It's like you're just in Buffalo and I'm in Virginia. We all need a little home now and then and sounds like it did you good! Missing you, but so proud of your journey and thrilled that I got to bond with sweet V!

    Posted on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm
  2. I want to know how much joy you spread while you were back in the B-lo to your friends and family. Just by being here with baby Lavinia you touched many of us. She is a precious little soul with an unbelievable smile. Grama Nell still wonders at her stamina. You needed Buffalo and we in Buffalo needed you

    Posted on May 15, 2014 at 12:42 am
  3. I recently heard this simple idea for keeping a parent's sanity. “do no harm”…..use it as a focus to relieve yourself of over analyzing.

    Posted on May 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm
  4. Damn you have become quite the insightful person! And you don't suck at writing. Being smart has its perks. I have added you to my “people to go to when I need good advice” list.

    Posted on May 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm
  5. She was thrilled with meeting you, the photos of the two of you together are so sweet!

    Posted on May 22, 2014 at 5:42 am
  6. Haha, Thanks D. I don't know much, but am probably better at giving advice than taking it.

    Posted on May 22, 2014 at 5:43 am
  7. “Do no harm,” I like it. Sounds just like the Hippocratic Oath: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath

    Posted on May 22, 2014 at 5:45 am
  8. Hey Dawn, You might have covered this in other posts …did you have PPD, like me?
    I have a HORRIBLE memory and didn't realise you and Kangaroo Spotting were one in the same. Have you considered commenting on people's blogs with your blog name so people can find your blog more easily. I googled your name to find you 😉 hehe.
    You're really great at writing.
    I took my son to Canada when he was 2 months old. I felt a little nuts for doing it. It really feels like a blur because I was so sleep deprived and we were having so much trouble breast feeding.
    I love Melbourne. I wish I lived there!! My Canadian friend Natalie does, with her partner and baby boy. I should send you on a mommy-blind date with her – haha!

    Posted on May 16, 2015 at 3:36 am
  9. Thanks for finding me Jess- I should change my Google profile to KS so people can find me more easily- good suggestion! I did have PPD which was really difficult, especially with the added isolation of being an expat. I think being a new mother is hard regardless. Luckily I was able to drag myself through it. I'm worried about going back for number two!

    Posted on May 16, 2015 at 7:05 am