You know what happened when I gave birth to Little C? I lost ME. I completely forgot myself. Who I was. Everything was different. EVERYTHING.
Before we get any further, let me expound upon that statement. It is not meant to be a negative, that I lost myself. It simply means that I am having to completely redefine who I am. I had this sort of idea, concept of who I thought I was, the person I had become, and then BAM. I was no longer myself. And it’s quite possible that this is not the experience for everyone, but it certainly has been for me.
It wasn’t an immediate revelation either, this realization that I was no longer sure who I was. It came some months after Little C was born-because after weeks of just diapers and feedings and being up at all hours, it suddenly hit me that I had not done a single “me” thing since her birth. Before the babe was born, I always did certain things that were very ME. I love to read, but had stopped doing that (no time). I love to dance, but had not been to a dance class in ages (again, no time). I found myself wearing button-ups to work (so not my style) and dressing how I thought a mom was “supposed” to look. They always say life is a journey, but I’m pretty sure what “they” meant was that life is composed of vignettes, experiences and colors and sounds and smells all knitted together into one long story that in the end is our life’s story; my vignette of the first year or so of Little C’s life looked like I jumped out of a J. Crew catalogue. I get that this may sound silly and superficial, but how I dress happens to be a part of who I am, and to me it was a shining example of the fact that I was seriously lost and confused.
It wasn’t just the fact that I was no longer doing the things that I loved or being involved in activities that nurtured my spirit, even some of the ways that I thought I should parent had changed. We have all these preconceived notions that we enter into parenthood with, naive and completely optimistic, and then we learn that some of those notions and ideals have to be disregarded. We have to do what works for our families, and what works for our lives. I have had to become more forgiving with myself-to realize that just because I might not have a hot meal cooked from scratch every single night does not make me less of a good mother or wife. To realize that some nights Little C will eat only yogurt and strawberries because I’m too tired to do battle with her and that is ok. To realize that sometimes we are going to have “Frozen” playing on repeat, and that is ok too. Life is not about maintaining this facade of perfection, it’s about enjoying the moments and forgiving ourselves when the outcomes don’t mesh with our perceptions of who we think we should be.
This blog has been part of my journey to finding my true North, if you will. I started it because I love writing, I love sharing. I love taking pictures and I desperately needed something that was mine and no one else’s. Even my body is no longer my own (hello, breastfeeding) and so I have had to create new outlets and new ways to nurture and care for myself. I am so grateful to be on this journey, parenthood has helped me to grow and learn about myself in a way that nothing else has. But I have to keep growing and looking inward, keep working to continuously know and define me. I have to remind myself that “me” will change, that what works for me today may not work tomorrow. But that is the beauty of life, we can and constantly do redefine ourselves and our outlooks and our ideals.
The good news is this: I have ditched the button ups and the sweaters (for the most part) and am back in my distressed denim and tees. I am dancing again, when there is time. I read every day at the gym while I do cardio, and sometimes at night time permitting. I am starting to feel like I am “myself” again, whatever that means. I have had to redefine who I thought I was, and who I thought I should be as a mother, and I am nowhere close to figuring it all out, but at least I am on the right path. So hi. This is me. Or me behind a camera, but me nonetheless.