You may have dreamed about it your entire life; or you may not have thought anything of it before. Perhaps it came easy; or you had to fight for it. Maybe you weren't planning it at all. Whatever the circumstances, it's here. You've become a mom. YOU ARE MOM. And, if you are like most moms, you love it. It's wonderful; but what about the times when it's not? What about the times you wish you could go back to your "old" identity? The answer is simple: You can; you just have to find her again. She is there, hiding behind baggy eyes, stretch marks and spit-up stains.
Here are five essentials for finding yourself again after pregnancy and becoming a mom.
1. Gym membership
How predictable, right? Wrong. This gym membership is not for your physical self; it's for your mental health. Sure, losing that baby weight and getting healthy can boost your confidence and physically help bring back that girl you were before; however, by getting yourself a gym membership, you are doing so much more. Once you have that membership card in hand, you have your ticket to the lost land of ALONE TIME. Getting out of the house is hard once you have a baby; mostly because you don't want to leave all that cuteness coming from the human you worked so hard to create and keep alive. However, alone time is vital. By having a gym membership, you are giving yourself an excuse, if you will, to get out and focus on yourself. While running on the treadmill you can clear your thoughts, mentally plan next week's menu (it has to be done!) or simply listen to something other than lullabies.
2. Get out
Don't feel like you are a prisoner in your own home. Your baby will be OK and even enjoy a walk around the block, taking a stroller ride around the mall or tagging along as you visit friends. Being confined can be breeding grounds for negativity, loneliness and often depression. You and your baby will both benefit from getting out.
Do you even have any friends left? Yes, they are just waiting for you to show signs of life. Get out with them. Nothing will make you feel like you are closer to who you once were than those you feel most comfortable around. Make time for them. Chances are, they are just waiting for you to be ready. Not only will being with them rejuvenate and inspire you, but it will remove any possible guilt you may feel about neglecting them (even though you aren't; you just had a major life change!). It should also be noted that your husband is one of those friends you should not neglect. Don't forget about him. You are not the only one that just became a parent. Make a weekly or even monthly date night with him. It is easy to get wrapped up in your baby; that's what makes you a good mom. But be careful to not forget that you have other people in your life that you need and who need you.
Stick to it. Maybe you never wore a lot of makeup or worried about your hair before you had a baby. That's fine. Just try to stick somewhat to the same routine you had before, even if that just means washing your face nightly or plucking your eyebrows every once in awhile. If you like to go to a salon and get the full package, do it as much as time and funds allow. You are important. It's amazing how great it feels to get a fresh haircut, manicure or even a massage. You don't need to worry about going all out; simply do similar things to what you did previously.
Write in a journal. Meditate. Do whatever you need in order for you to discover yourself. After all the advice of getting a gym membership, hanging out with friends/spouse and getting out, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to accept that you are never going to be who you were before; at least not completely. And, guess what — that's OK. Self-reflection will give you the insight and quite possibly the foresight on who you are now after your pregnancy and becoming a mom. You can take parts of the girl you used to be, along with who you are as a mom, and accept the amazing person you have become.
Being a mom can be hard. Don't forget to take the time for yourself and to be yourself. You deserve it.