Has Someone Stolen My Life?
When I had my son I used to use the phrase “I feel like someone’s stolen my life”. My husband and I fell out about this the first time he heard me say it! I think he thought I meant I regretted having Ronnie or something. When actually I was trying to say nothing about my life was the same as before, not in a bad way but in a way that was going to take some getting used to!
Everyone in the family feels an impact in their life when a new baby arrives. Siblings can feel like they’ve lost a bit of attention. Daddies are affected to varying degrees depending on how ‘hands-on’ they are or how much their job allows them to help with everyday duties. Mummies, well the impact on mummies lives can sometimes reach a whole new level.
For me (and I appreciate every women’s situation is different), pre baby, I had a full time and reasonably well paid professional career which meant I contributed 50% to the mortgage each month as well as running my car and having cash to spend on myself for clothes, going out socially, holidays, luxuries, gifts and gym membership etc. I was a keen Ironman triathlete, like mental crazy keen, like it engulfed a lot (read most) of my non-working time. I’d cycle on weekends, sometimes all day, and often in the evenings during the week. I ran several times a week as well as organising and leading a running club. I went to the gym most mornings before work to either swim, lift weights or do classes. I could easily knock out in excess of 20hours of training per week on top of my full time (sometimes 6days per week) job! Even though at the time I didn’t appreciate it (and that’s another story!) I had a six-pack and an athletic physique. I had a clean and tidy house, I had a clean and tidy car, my garden was just so and lovely, even I looked clean and tidy, well presented, stubble free and manicured (yes I know I have OCD tendancies). Little did I know all these things were about to change!!!
I went into hospital on the morning of the 19th Feb 2015 and came out a mummy to our little son. Happy days! He was healthy and I was healthy. Boom!
Pretty quickly I realised there were few similarities in my life to before. I no longer had a job or an income. As I was previously self-employed so I had to rely on the pitiful government maternity allowance. Meaning I couldn’t contribute anything towards the mortgage. I became a kept woman overnight and I wasn’t used to lack of independence. My spending money was tight, in fact non-existent after I’d paid for my ongoing professional fees, car, petrol and phone! My sport and training came to an abrupt stop as I had a caesarian section and had many weeks of little mobility, in fact I couldn’t even just jump in the car and drive somewhere for weeks! My body did not look even remotely what it once did, my belly was still big, with a huge wound across it, my boobs were HUGE and extremely sore, leaking milk and bleeding, my joints were unstable from the hormone relaxin running through my body, I looked tired, I felt tired, in fact no, I actually felt numb somedays, mentally and physically because I was soooo tired! Let alone the excess weight I was carrying. Pretty quickly my house was far from resembling the usual tidy and clean show home, I looked a little less manicured and my garden, well that developed a wild meadow feel to it withing the first few months.
I genuinely did not feel even remotely like the person I once was. I actually felt like someone had stolen my life and replaced it with someone else’s. Now don’t get me wrong I was expecting to have some changes. People say your life will never be he same again. But they don’t say nothing in your life will resemble anything that it once was! Haha!
I don’t regret having Ronnie, I wouldn’t change him for the world (apart from maybe his dad’s stubborn streak that he’s inherited!) and I don’t feel negatively about the changes that have taken place, they just took some getting used to! I would say about 6 months after he was born I started to feel like ME again (I am sure many other mums don’t have such a delay in getting this feeling of identity back!) although my injury I had at this point possibly set me back for a few months longer. I have no doubt this links closely to having more opportunities to have some ‘me time’ and get back to doing some things for ME. I now don’t mind that my house often has tumbleweed drifting around on the floors, the garden is kept as neat as my time will allow, I have my hair cut maybe once a year and my car has enough broken crisps and raisins on the floor and in the corners of the car seat to feed a family of 5 through a month long famine. My body is a little softer nowadays and that’s OK, I know it is functioning just fine and possibly stronger than before, certainly I am mentally stronger than 3years ago, and my time will come again one day to push my body to its limits once more if that’s what I want to do. My job is no longer my ‘career’ but a way of getting adult interaction and to keep my brain stimulated from the cumulative hours of brain numbing Peppa Pig I’m subjected to each week.