|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.