|Who is this woman?|
On more than one occasion I have gotten myself completely and hopelessly lost. A wrong turn here, a dead end there. I have a poor sense of direction and appalling map reading skills. Sometimes I drive for hours, often going around in circles, passing familiar landmarks again and again. But while I am frequently late, flustered and at times, panic stricken – I always find my way eventually.
For someone so used to getting lost, it took me a really long time to realise that I had lost myself in motherhood.
These are some of the things that happened:
I stopped being informed about the world. Partly because of the unbearable emotions that came with reading the news, do you feel it more when you become a mother? Every natural disaster, every war – I wept for those children and held my own baby closer. Then one day I switched off the radio. Tortured no more. Ignorance was bliss.
I didn’t recognise myself in the mirror. I gained a significant amount of weight during my pregnancy. I ballooned to the largest I’ve ever been; I had no chance of getting back in my clothes. My new wardrobe consisted of plain, functional clothing and I didn’t care. In fact I didn’t care what I looked like at all.
I was incapable of talking about anything outside the topics of birth, breastfeeding, development milestones or babies in general. I knew it was boring, but I didn’t care, I was simply not interested in anything else.
People started calling me ‘Mummy’. My baby girl, the only person who should have been saying it couldn’t talk, and yet everywhere I went people called me ‘Mummy’; The nurse at the early childhood centre, the playgroup staff, G’s swimming teacher. I didn’t even notice.
Motherhood is life changing, awe-inspiring roller coaster. It is all consuming. The mixture of overwhelming love and overwhelming responsibility is intoxicating. It was like a heavy fog, blocking out everything that came before.
All of this is normal. Eventually the haze clears and the path becomes visible again. Familiar shapes come into focus; the rest of the world is still there, beckoning…
I lost myself in motherhood, but that’s ok. For me, getting lost was just part of my journey. It wasn’t bad, or wrong, it was just another phase along the road.