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How I'm Starting to Feel Better

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Picking lemons in our sunny backyard, its the simple things...

When you become a mother, your identity changes. Instantly. No one seems to mention this enormous fact when you're pregnant.

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:
In Buffalo, The first time I left Lavinia with my Mom so I could go out to lunch, it felt completely foreign. I felt odd without my baby but it also felt wonderful. I remember thinking “I don’t miss my baby....and I’m completely okay with that.”  I didn't worry about what it meant because there was wine!

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.





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35 36 37 38 Kangaroo Spotting: How I'm Starting to Feel Better

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How I'm Starting to Feel Better

Picking lemons in our sunny backyard, its the simple things...

When you become a mother, your identity changes. Instantly. No one seems to mention this enormous fact when you're pregnant.

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.
  • Writing.
  • Therapy has helped me to step outside my head when I’m having anxious thoughts (work in progress).
  • Homeopathy.
  • And what I believe to be the most significant reason.... reconnecting with myself. 
In Buffalo, The first time I left Lavinia with my Mom so I could go out to lunch, it felt completely foreign. I felt odd without my baby but it also felt wonderful. I remember thinking “I don’t miss my baby....and I’m completely okay with that.”  I didn't worry about what it meant because there was wine!

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.





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9 Comments:

At May 15, 2014 at 8:06 AM , Blogger Jillian said...

Love, love reading your posts and hearing your thoughts. It's like you're just in Buffalo and I'm in Virginia. We all need a little home now and then and sounds like it did you good! Missing you, but so proud of your journey and thrilled that I got to bond with sweet V!

 
At May 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM , Blogger thomas denecke said...

I want to know how much joy you spread while you were back in the B-lo to your friends and family. Just by being here with baby Lavinia you touched many of us. She is a precious little soul with an unbelievable smile. Grama Nell still wonders at her stamina. You needed Buffalo and we in Buffalo needed you

 
At May 15, 2014 at 11:18 PM , Blogger Patrick Denecke said...

I recently heard this simple idea for keeping a parent's sanity. "do no harm".....use it as a focus to relieve yourself of over analyzing.

 
At May 16, 2014 at 7:46 AM , Blogger drdale80 said...

Damn you have become quite the insightful person! And you don't suck at writing. Being smart has its perks. I have added you to my "people to go to when I need good advice" list.

 
At May 22, 2014 at 3:42 PM , Blogger Dawn Rieniets said...

She was thrilled with meeting you, the photos of the two of you together are so sweet!

 
At May 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM , Blogger Dawn Rieniets said...

Haha, Thanks D. I don't know much, but am probably better at giving advice than taking it.

 
At May 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Dawn Rieniets said...

"Do no harm," I like it. Sounds just like the Hippocratic Oath: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath

 
At May 16, 2015 at 1:36 PM , Blogger Peachy Keen Mumma said...

Hey Dawn, You might have covered this in other posts ...did you have PPD, like me?
I have a HORRIBLE memory and didn't realise you and Kangaroo Spotting were one in the same. Have you considered commenting on people's blogs with your blog name so people can find your blog more easily. I googled your name to find you ;) hehe.
You're really great at writing.
I took my son to Canada when he was 2 months old. I felt a little nuts for doing it. It really feels like a blur because I was so sleep deprived and we were having so much trouble breast feeding.
I love Melbourne. I wish I lived there!! My Canadian friend Natalie does, with her partner and baby boy. I should send you on a mommy-blind date with her - haha!

 
At May 16, 2015 at 5:05 PM , Blogger Dawn Rieniets said...

Thanks for finding me Jess- I should change my Google profile to KS so people can find me more easily- good suggestion! I did have PPD which was really difficult, especially with the added isolation of being an expat. I think being a new mother is hard regardless. Luckily I was able to drag myself through it. I'm worried about going back for number two!

 

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