For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to make a difference with my life. I’ve always wanted to be considered special. I don’t know why this was so important to me, but it has always been an underlying factor in everything I do (although discovering my faith 10 years back has changed this a bit, although maybe not as much as it should have). I’ve spent a significant amount of my time pondering who I am as a person, what makes me unique and what contributions I make to the world. I don’t know why I’ve been so obsessed with this concept. But I have been.
I have been called a smart person, an organised person. And I know I’m a perfectionist. These are traits I have accepted, maybe even embraced. The rest of my personality sometimes feels like an obstacle course – a knotted rope that you’re asked to untangle that really ANNOYS you (I was in the scouts, can you tell?) – that I haven’t completed. I was okay with that, plodding my way through and discovering new things. Then I became pregnant.
The first thing I noticed was that baby brain is real (guys, it is SO real). As a teacher, I kinda need to (or at least try to) be on the ball all the time. I found I would stutter over words when reading aloud, couldn’t put my finger on the words I was trying to say, and generally forgot basically everything I knew (and for someone who already has a very poor memory, this was a real issue). Since I had always thought of myself as relatively smart, I really struggled with this. I would cry to the hubby about how I was losing an important part of myself (or was it the hormones??), that one of those things that made me ‘special’ was being lost in my new transformation.
When we had our little man, we were swept up in this tornado of sleep deprivation, endless visitors, poo explosions, continuous feedings and what seemed like incessant crying. As this life slowly became the norm, hubby returned to work. While I love our little Starfish more than anything, I have to admit I was jealous of my husband. He got to return to part of his old life, hang out with adults and ‘be himself’, then return home for some play time with our little boy. It seemed that he got the best of both worlds, and I felt like I was sinking further and further into this new life, one where I had no identity other than the boob-feeding, nappy-changing baby machine. For someone who had struggled with making a difference and being special, this monotonous routine was really getting to me.
Then something happened. Around the 11 week mark, life started to calm down. Our little man was happier – smiling more and crying less. He was sleeping better in the day, which gave me more time to do my own things – and to actually miss him when he was asleep – and even gave me time to decide to start my own business. Suddenly, I was REALLY enjoying this motherhood journey (not that I wasn’t before, but it was extremely trying and I was struggling a lot more) and it suddenly hit me.
I know who I am now – I am a mother (of a boy no less!). I know now I am making a difference in the world – by raising my son to be the best he can be. This isn’t to say that I need to forego the other things I want or need to do. A HUGE part of my life is having my identity in Christ; I’m becoming a hustling mum who is starting her own business; I’ll return to teaching to support students in their education; I’ll continue to learn and grow my brain; I’ll continue to be involved in church, spend time with friends and love my husband. But I’m also a mum – and that’s an exciting, awesome new part of my identity.
I know it might not work out that way for all Mummas – that sometimes this process can be a long and challenging journey, but I’m hoping and praying that your journeys will lead to this conclusion as well.