How I'm Starting to Feel Better
|Picking lemons in our sunny backyard, its the simple things...|
It's like you finally feel like you know who you are and it all shifts the moment your child takes their first breath. No amount of preparation, reading, or observation can ready you for such an immediate and overwhelming change.
My identity was crowded enough before shoving 'Mother' to the top of the list- daughter, sister, wife, friend, colleague and ex-pat...Now someone's Mom. The most important label, one I didn't even really earn.
The dust has settled after our trip to the US and once again it’s just me and Lavinia.
I worried about being alone with her again after having people around us every day for five weeks but there were only a few moments of melancholy on that first day Matt went back to work.
It’s as if being away in the US allowed me to hit the reset button. The light is different now and makes everything appear differently. I think this is mainly because I am different.
These are the reasons why-that I can pinpoint:
- Lavinia is easier than ever before. She sleeps through the night, she can sit up, she is fully weaned (freedom!)
- If I can survive a 24 hour journey across the world and back- I can scoot around Melbourne in my car and let anxiety take a back seat. In theory.
- I am continually receiving messages of support from friends and family members. This makes me feel less isolated.
- Therapy has helped me to step outside my head when I’m having anxious thoughts (work in progress).
- And what I believe to be the most significant reason.... reconnecting with myself.
It's so easy to forget who you were or what you did before baby. People tell you that in order to be a better Mom, you need to take care of yourself within whatever time constraints you have. I'm sorry but a bubble bath to treat myself during Lavinia's nap time was not going to cut it for me. I needed Buffalo. I needed my friends to tell stories about the old days so I could remember that I'm still someone apart from being someone's Mom.
I began to amalgamate my old identity with my new one. I hope, rather I know, this will make me a better parent.
Lavinia and I had a great first week back in Melbourne. I unpacked, cooked, and we even took that daunting drive to Mornington without any anxious chatter in my formerly unruly mind.
The last few days I have been feeling a bit flat but that's a step up from 'down' or depressed. Now I need to think about what else I can work on going forward. It's comforting knowing that a string of good days are achievable. More sunshine is penetrating our little world.