Unfortunately, loss of identity and being a new mum seem to go hand in hand. Yet, considering the tornado like change a baby brings, it’s really not surprising.
First your body starts changing and your previously cool/sexy/ sophisticated image starts unravelling at the seems. Then, as you start looking further and further away from your former self, you begin to feeling further and further away from your former self.
I had hoped that once my son arrived, I would step straight back into my former identity. That the uncomfortable sense of self I had when pregnant, would magically disappear along with my now empty bump but it didn’t. I had created this amazing human being, who I was immensely proud of, I should feel proud of myself but I didn’t.
My 3 day labour had left what felt like a permanent scar on my body and mind, my colicky son didn’t stop screaming and I would often sit there questioning how I had somehow swapped the glamorous life of a fashion magazine editor for a new role as human dairy cow. I felt uncomfortable in a body that I no longer knew and unsure of this new role I had made for myself.
Exercise became my way of reasserting my identity. More than getting my body back, it was about proving to myself (and others) that yes, my life and its priorities may have changed but I will not be retiring into unidentified mum oblivion. It was a time of goals, challenges and achievements but most importantly exercise was my time where if it all got a little bit too much, I could take a step away, think in peace and appreciate just how lucky I am.
If you’re struggling with loss of identity since having a baby, try to book in 1 hour or even just 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week with your partner/friend/crèche/ipad (don’t judge me), to exercise. Not only will it keep you fit and provide a sense of achievement but the powerful endorphins released during exercise will lift your mood and clear your mind.
Exercise was and is my physical, mental and emotional saviour, it could be yours.
Are you or did you struggle with loss of identity following the birth of your child? Share your story in the comment box below.