This time last year I was home from the hospital with my beautiful baby boy, alternating between tears, smiles, feeling bruise and exhausted, and feeling overjoyed. I was surprised how quickly I got into the swing of constant feeding, no sleep and generally just vegging on the sofa whilst my baby slept. I enjoyed the first few months of motherhood although they were hard.
That said, almost as soon as I had got into a semi-routine it seems I was already looking to the future. I imagined in a few months, or when I went back to work, or when he turned one, I would start to feel like ‘myself’ again.
We are bombarded by messages like ‘get your body back’, ‘return to you’, you are assured from all angles that there will be this point when you are you again, just with a baby.
I am here to tell you that simply isn’t true.
The idea that you are going to go back to who you were before having a baby really is absurd if you think about it. Its like saying you will be exactly the same person you were before having a limb removed or post travelling around the world…this is how life changing it is.
I for one find this idea actually quite dangerous as well. I’m not afraid to say that realising I am a different person now has been challenging. Who is that person? What are her priorities, her dreams, her wants, her fears? The list goes on and you must take your time to work through it.
We consider Post Natal Depression to be something that happens straight after birth but it can occur anytime, even years afterwards, particularly if you had a traumatic experience. In the haze of the first year it is particularly easy to forget that not only was a baby created but so was a mum.
In my case a ‘Yoga Mama’ – balancing recovery, a family, a business, teaching, learning and changing all at once. When returning into the work place and separating myself from my baby I found that depression sneaked up on me. I was frustrated, angry, sad, I felt like I had been cheated. I was promised I would feel like myself again but when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognise myself.
It takes some time and is a work in progress but slowly I have realised that there are pieces of who I was that are still here; my love for yoga, my drive and determination, my connection to my partner, friends and family. I just now have new pieces too; a burning desire to protect my family, a strength I never knew I had. I have new priorities and new dreams, I also have found a new honesty within myself and towards others (this ones been a struggle).
Its not easy but I am embracing who I am, and I hope by sharing my experience I can reassure you that you are not alone, and you are no longer who you used to be….you are even more amazing!