Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Changed Woman

I swore up and down I wouldn't change. I'd stay in touch with my
friends. I would keep my "priorities" straight (i.e. sewing, knitting,
fashion). It seemed completely reasonable to expect I could be the
same person I was and just add a child- kind of like an accessory or a
pet. Yeah, that wasn't realistic. Or even remotely close.

Six plus months post partum I grappled with what felt like an identity
crisis. Who was I? Was I a lame mother whose sole identity is her
child? I didn't want to be that woman. Was I the cool party girl who
has nice dinners with friends and tried to maintain a fun and
fashionable lifestyle? That no longer felt like me, if it ever did.

In the last year I've struggled to varying degrees with who I am and
what my priorities are. I've come to a firm decision more than once
only to have my latest identity thwarted by my new circumstances. But
one thing is certain: I am not the person I was 3 years ago.

I can't tell if part of my coming to terms with my new persona was
brought on by age or my child or both. Maybe I would have eventually
turned into some modified form of the person I am now. Maybe I would
have eventually realized that I really don't like partying and going
to clubs that much any more. Maybe I would have calmed down my need to
DIY and realized I'd never accomplish everything on my list. But why
would I without a catalyst or distraction to keep me from all those
other things?

Having a child clearly threw me into this identity switcheroo. But the
postpartum depression fueled it even more. A double whammy personality
changer and all of a sudden I'm unrecognizeable. Sure I'm still fun
and goofy and wacky. Sure I'm talkative and creative and crafty, but
how would you ever know? I have trouble staying in touch with friends
and family, something I never would have let slide before AJ. I can't
make time to see my friends because I feel like I can barely keep up
with work and a child. I rarely go out at night and I don't like to
stay up past 11 if I can help it because of a rigid routine mandated
by my ppd and a baby who wakes up at the same time I used to go to
bed. You'd never know me because you never see me!

All the pieces of my life that I once worked so hard to carefully
craft as my identity are gone. I no longer go out. I no longer make
clothes. I no longer have a DIY list a mile long. I've had to
significantly reduce time spend with friends or doing anything I once
considered a mandatory activity. But the weirdest thing about this is
that I don't mind it. At all. I used to be terribly bothered that I
wasn't making enough of myself, doing enough, or getting the most out
I life.

Now, I can relax. Now, my life is simple: work, child, eat, sleep. And
I love it that way. I can see how mothers can get lost in an identity
that revolves around their children because my life revolves around my
daughter. Because she is fun. And amazing. I had no idea. I was
totally unaware that I would enjoy her so much and I am thankful to
her for teaching me how to dramatically alter my crazy lifestyle for
one that matters. I am forever grateful.

I know that someday I'll pick up my hobbies again and be with my
friends or find new ones. But the precious years of my daughter's life
are already flying by so quickly. I want to savor every minute. Thus I
am who I am now and I make no apologies. I love her and I love me and
I love our new life together!