Lucy’s post last week about dealing with a baby struggling with wind pain and difficulty sleeping was so informative, and I love that lots of commenters shared their own stories and solutions too. Just one of many wonderful things about the blogging world.
This week Lindsay is discussing a topic extremely close to my heart.
When my Son was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with Antenatal Depression leading to severe Postnatal Depression. You might expect me to say that PND been my biggest parenting challenge. It’s been hell, it’s been dark and lonely, frightening and exhausting. It’s probably been my greatest personal challenge. But my biggest parenting challenge has to be adjusting to being a Mum.
Some of that might be due to PND but even so, it’s an area I have had to work really hard on, and I think I will for some time to come, even though I am recovering from PND at the minute.
So, what do I mean when I say adjusting to being a mum? Well, very simply, I just did not find that I had a natural instinct for being mum to a little baby. It seemed so foreign, like a new job I hated and could not get my head around, but had no choice to continue with. This was a big surprise – I have spent the last 10 years of my career working with Children and Young People, for the most part loving it and actually being quite good at it! I had no clue that I’d feel, or respond, in this way.
From day one, I compared myself to every other mum I met, passed on the street or watched on TV. Considering everything from the outfit I had dressed Reuben in; the type of travel system we had bought; and the bottles we used as an expression of my ability as a parent. In every comparison I came in last. I spent hours researching every single thing – the type and amount of formula I had chosen; the bed-clothes I put him to sleep in; the type of yogurt I should buy to feed him; even what age I was allowed to put him on a swing!! I never ever believed that I should trust in my own abilities or instincts, as far I am was concerned I didn’t have any!
Turns out I was wrong. In recovering from PND I am now beginning to believe that as Reuben’s Mum I do know best for him. He believes it. I’m not a parenting expert but I am the expert on my own child – accepting that is liberating and fun!
But that isn’t the only battle in adjusting to becoming a mum, I have faced and am still facing. The question I have asked myself, since Reuben was born is, “where do I fit into my own life now?” I feel like the tattoo of ‘wife’ and ‘mum’ is forever on my forehead, with nothing of me left. I am having to re-learn who I am, what I like and what matters to me. For months I have been trying to fit myself into my own life – like an extra tag on, but only if I find the time. That’s not how it’s supposed to be! I am trying to embrace that fact that becoming a mum doesn’t mean I have to lose myself, I just have to find my new groove!
I need to allow myself freedom to explore my future, always allowing my own opinions to hold as much weight as anything else – I don’t have to squeeze myself into the mould of what others assume I should be as a mum.
In adjusting to becoming a mum I have had to believe that this it is not the end, it is, instead, the beginning of a new chapter. A chapter that is to be enjoyed and not endured. This hasn’t ‘happened to me’, as if I have no say over where my life is now heading. I can instead embrace this season, learning what it means for me to be a Mum. Not just any mum, but Reuben’s mum. I might miss who I was before motherhood, with all the opportunities of not being responsible for a little one that afforded me, but I am choosing to believe that “There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind” (C.S Lewis). The same has to be true for me with motherhood!
Lindsay is married to Gavin and her son, Reuben, is two years old. They live and work in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lindsay’s blog – Have you seen that girl? – includes tales of life, motherhood and recovering from Postnatal Depression. You can read it here and also follow Lindsay over on Twitter.
31 comments on “Adjusting To Being A Mum – Guest Post by Lindsay Robinson”
This post is amazing I love your honesty. Adjusting to being a Mum is a massive life changing and overwhelming thing! Your strength is immense xx #KCACOLS
Thanks so much for your kind words for Lindsay x
Thank you for your lovely comment! I don’t feel strong, most of the time, but I’m also aware that that’s only with hindsight that sometimes we realise how we truly have responded to things – here’s hoping 🙂 x x
Thank you so much for sharing this and your incredible amount of honesty. This must have been a very dark part in your life and I hope sharing your story is helping 🙂 #kcacols
Thanks for your kind comments – it’s a great piece from Lindsay x
Thank you for such kind words and for reading the post xx
I know what you mean about needing to rediscover who you are after having a baby. I feel like being a mum takes up so much of me that there’s not much left sometimes – but now that she’s a bit older, I’m trying to reconnect with old interests and make time for myself It’s hard to get the balance right sometimes! #KCACOLS
It is really tough. Thanks for reading x
Waiting requires a refined peitvecsrpe. Typically we have the order of events already decided in our minds: first this should happen, and then that should happen, etc.But that is looking at things from our human perspective. God may rearrange the order because He knows best. So we have to keep trusting in His superior knowledge. That is hard to do when we give Him credit for giving us pretty smart brains!
Too right! I am still trying to learn how to balance it every day. Thank for the encouragement and I am definitely finding it easier than I did a year ago 🙂
Such a beautiful post. The funny thing is, I never really thought of myself as having PND, maybe because I was already from my own demons, but the things that Lindsay talks about – over analysing, googling everything, never trusting yourself – describes how I felt to a tee. And again with the comments about losing yourself, I have felt that strongly too. My exact reason for starting my own blog.
Blogging can be so therapeutic, can’t it? Thanks for reading x
Thank for your thoughts and for sharing – lots more stories of what PND looks, like from other people, on my blog, if that helps too! x
It does seem like you lose a huge part of who you are when you become a mother. It took me a long time to realise that part of me wasn’t actually lost, just a bit hidden under the sleep deprivation and fear of doing everything wrong. #kcacols
Absolutely. Thanks for reading x
Such a brave post, thankyou for being so honest. So many people suffer with PND so it’s important to raise awareness so that those who think they might be suffering can get help. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
Thanks for reading and for your kind words x
Love your honesty.This must have been very challenging for you. I am sure sharing this post will raise awareness and help those facing the same situation.
such a beautiful honest post and I’ve never though about being a mum as being my children’s mum and being the best I can for them – not comparing myself to others – It is a wonderful way to put it and we should all try to parent that way #BloggerClubUK
Absolutely. Comparing ourselves to others never feels good. Thanks for reading x
Great, honest post. You never know how you are going to feel when you become a mum and the fear of getting it wrong can be overwhelming. Finding you in your new chapter is so important, but often hard. x #BloggerClubUK
Thanks so much for your kind words, Lindsay’s post is so honest and awesome 🙂
Beautifully honest post! Thanks got linking up to #justanotherlinky xx
Thanks for reading x
What a beautiful post and so honest too. Well done. Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky
Thank you, I’m so pleased Lindsay shared with us x
A real honest post. I think we all lose part of our identity when we become a mum because we are so focused on keeping our babies alive and well!
Thank you so much for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on 2nd April when the linky opens again x
It’s part of motherhood that people don’t talk about that often so I’m really grateful to Lindsay for speaking up x Thanks for reading x
I am sure this will help a lot of mums going through the same thing, it took me a while to trust my instincts and know the decisions I was making are right for our family even if they are different from others. I am just about to go through it all again and friends that are now on their second child say that its is so much easier this time round as the doubt has gone. You just know. Great honest post from a very strong mummy xx #BloggerClubUK
I look forward to that second time around too. Thanks so much for reading Lindsay’s post x