I can pinpoint the exact date that I lost myself. 2 years ago I suddenly lost steam. The wind in my sail abruptly stopped. I had recently set up a business and had thrown myself into self employment but all of a sudden that spark that kept me going went out. I would sit down in the quiet times at fairs (something I never do), retreated from social events, go to bed early- not feeling quite right.
On 5th December 2017 I discovered why. I had my suspicions and they were confirmed. I was pregnant. My spark had gone into igniting a fire within me. Another heart beat. Under the guise of self care I let myself ‘rest’ staying in bed longer, letting myself off work if I wasn’t busy, long baths in the daytime. On reflection I can now recognise these were symptoms of pre natal depression. An odd afternoon of self care is great. 3 weeks of staying in bed is not. My husband was working away a lot in the first trimester and I had moderate morning sickness so I got away with it. Not realizing the damage I was doing. The extent of which I am uncovering only recently.
Even though women have carried and birthed babies since the dawn of time when you are in the moment you feel as if you are the only one who has ever felt like this. I watched endless youtube videos to try and understand what was ahead of me and what was happening to me. After nine months of waiting, she arrived. A true light. Her arrival almost killed me but I survived and continued to pour my light into her. That’s what a mother does isn’t it? I endured 15 months without a full nights sleep. I sacrificed and I built resentments. She was wonderful, she is wonderful. Motherhood is hard and exhausting but it is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
But it is not enough for me.
I feel guilty admitting that. Guilt is motherhoods inescapable shadow. After 9 months of pregnancy and 16 months of motherhood my light is officially out. My cup is empty. I have nothing left to give yet I continue to give to her and I always will find a way. She shows me that even when I feel I have reached my limit, there are reserves to tap into. It has been a difficult realisation that those reserves now need replenishing and it is up to me.
My mind has been consumed with parenting her but what I now realise is that I need to parent myself. I need to insert discipline in my life, routine and also time for joy. It is up to me to fill my cup. I cannot expect anyone else to do this for me. I started keeping curious because I had an itch I wanted to scratch. To understand the creative mind though inspiring conversations with everyday creatives.
Motherhood wasn’t an unexpected hand, she was very much wanted and planned for, I decided that I wanted to be a mother because I felt something was missing. I wanted purpose. I had always known I wanted a family of my own, I guess I just never appreciated how hard it would be to not give everything away in the process. I do not regret my decision one tiny bit, I only regret that I didn’t reach out for help sooner, that I didn’t know myself well enough to recognize the signs. I regret throwing myself into work too early, I regret isolating myself. I regret putting on a brave face for the sake of everyone else, when I was the one who needed help. I guess the reason I am sharing this is for anyone out there who is thinking about having a child, is still in the murky waters of early parenthood or just generally in a funk, that you have to be ‘full’ to serve others. You have a responsibility to be personally fulfilled to the people you love. You cannot give what you haven’t got.
A child is a miracle- but so are you. You owe it to yourself to recognise how mind bogglingly rare you are- yes even on a planet full to the brim of humans, you are still a miracle. The biological concoction that is you, your geographical location, the chance interactions, the collage of experiences that have shaped you. There is only, and will only be ONE of you.
So why am I writing this? Basically I am trying to reconnect to who I was pre motherhood. Luckily because I created Keeping Curious I have an interview with myself. (Very handy) Past me is giving me direction on where to find joy so that’s where I am starting. It is time to be lit up again. Henceforth I will use this blog as my journal of self recovery. If you are in a similar boat, set aside 5 minutes today to take a deep breath and write down all the things that make you happy, its different for everyone. Then try to add some of those things into the mix for the new year.
What better way to start than with a list of all the activities that make me happy that I hope to reintroduce into my life in 2020 and beyond.