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Identity – How to get Mum Back!

1
I remember the first few weeks and months of motherhood like it were yesterday. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. My first baby was a month early and I wasn’t expecting her at that time. But more than that….I wasn’t really expecting any of that massive emotional submergence in quite the way it happened.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d been doing my research about having a baby. I’d done NCT. I’d spoken to fellow parents. Some of my closest friends and family were parents with small children, it couldn’t be that alien, could it? It felt

SelfishMother.com
2
quite simple. We would have a baby where the labour would hurt. A LOT. After that the pain would be over, we’d fall in love with our baby, go home and live happily ever after. The end. Right?! That’s where I was wrong.

It was like jumping into a whole new world, and quite a scary one at that. It was a world laden down with all sorts of new responsibility and different choices that I had to make.

The car journey home from hospital felt like the most dangerous journey I’d ever made in my life. Oh my god, we are definitely going to crash! There

SelfishMother.com
3
is someone there going 2 miles over the speed limit…DON’T THEY KNOW THERE’S A GODDAM TINY BABY IN THIS CAR?! I became an exhausted irrational mess. Sleep! I just needed sleep! Fat chance of that with a teeny tiny baby in the house. During those first few weeks and months I totally forgot about the pre baby me. Everything felt so bizarre. I remember going for a walk and going a route I’d done a hundred times before. But everything just felt so DIFFERENT. I forgot silly things like what music I liked, how I liked to have fun, what food I enjoyed. I
SelfishMother.com
4
was in full on survival mode….or rather, full on baby survival mode. I was in no way prepared for this total confusion of self. If you are reading this and any of it resonates I have some tips, which I really hope you might find useful.

I wish someone had told me that all of this confusion and fear and wilderness of identity were NORMAL! Yes you may not have any idea who you are right now, but just KNOW that you will again at some point. Your mojo will return. You are exhausted right now and hormones are all over the shop! You just grew a new tiny

SelfishMother.com
5
human! Discombobulation is the new normal…at least for a while. You will be faced with many thoughts, and many will send you into a whirlwind of guilt. But rest assured EVERYONE has them. Should I have had a baby? Am I cut out for this? Do I love my baby? I already miss my old life! Totally normal. You are in adjusting mode. Let it all wash over you. Have a good cry. Probably daily! It really helps.
Indulge in a little nostalgia. Becoming a mother for me stirred something that made me want to reflect. It suddenly dawned on me that my own parents
SelfishMother.com
6
were people just like me before they had kids. It made me think a lot about that. What made them who they are? What aspects of my childhood did I cherish? What do I vow to do for my baby during her childhood? A little reflection on these things helped me to remember who I was and where I came from, and brought me back to my roots. It was cathartic to think about these things in such a time when the world felt upside down.
You cannot pour from an empty cup! You may have heard this before, but it really is true. As we are crashed into motherhood with a
SelfishMother.com
7
bump a new normal emerges where we are literally on call 24/7. You even sleep (when you are lucky enough to do so) with half an eye open. The days and nights blur into one. All your focus, quite rightly, is on this brand new beautiful life. But this really can take its toll. I’ve learnt that a teeny tiny time out from this a day is so beneficial. Even if its just 10/15 minutes purely and totally to reconnect with yourself. Having someone watch the baby while you take a stroll and get outside, for example, can work wonders for your soul. A bubble bath
SelfishMother.com
8
with no interruptions if you can manage it. A hot cup of tea in a room on your own away from the possibility of having to go to a baby crying. If you can find someone to help so that you can schedule just a few minutes of this a day, you may find it really helps you keep on top of things emotionally.
Music! OK, this one may be a little personal to me, but I’m hoping it may work for you too. Reconnecting to music during my lost period helped me massively. I suppose music is very emotive and personal. I can pretty much plot my life with different
SelfishMother.com
9
albums. Paul Simon’s Graceland can take me rushing back to being about 8 years old on my way to Cornwall for a family holiday. Massive Attack can zoom me back to my first year at University. Primal Scream reminds me of the night I met my husband. Indulge yourself in some music. Dance around your front room while baby is in the sling and rediscover some awesome memories!
Reconnect with your world. It’s easy to become quite insular during those first few months of parenthood. You get on the old “survival” treadmill and you can forget about
SelfishMother.com
10
talking to all those people that care about you. It felt a bit like no one else could possibly have felt as lost as I did as a new mum, but of course that’s not true. I reconnected with some old friends and it really helped me. Especially those with slightly older children. They’d been where I was. I found it really comforting to hear that they had felt similar to me too. So if you feel stressed and anxious, reach out to people. It’s amazing how lovely people are. I remember getting in touch with people I hadn’t spoken to in quite some time,
SelfishMother.com
11
because I knew they were experienced parents and I valued their opinion. I was nervous at first because I was contacting them and pouring my heart out a little. But their response was amazing and very comforting. Their immediate understanding and openness and sisterly love was really reassuring. It also helped me to remember what a kind world we live in, and how many lovely people I knew, which again helped me reconnect with who I was/am.

There’s no getting away from it, motherhood throws you in at the deep end. There are highs and lows and at times

SelfishMother.com
12
it can feel all too relentless. It definitely changes us, and this is all part of the process. Now my children are heading towards 2 and 3 I feel a changed person, and all the better for it. I also feel much better connected to the person I was before I had children. But it did feel for a long time that I was stranded in that large gulf between the person I was before children and that person I was to become afterwards. For me, and I believe many others, it takes a while to adjust. For all those in that gulf right now, be kind to yourself and know you
SelfishMother.com
13
will return!

Sally Bunkham is founder of www.mumsback.com , a social enterprise that provides yummy gift hampers for new mums, full of all the tasty treats they’ve not been allowed whilst pregnant, like wine, cheese and pate. £1 from every hamper goes to www.pandasfoundation.org.uk to help support their important work in perinatal mental health conditions.

Mum’s Back are currently running an offer where you can get 20% off, for more information please go to https://mumsback.com/product/launch-hamper/

SelfishMother.com
Sally Bunkham

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- 3 Apr 17

I remember the first few weeks and months of motherhood like it were yesterday. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. My first baby was a month early and I wasn’t expecting her at that time. But more than that….I wasn’t really expecting any of that massive emotional submergence in quite the way it happened.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d been doing my research about having a baby. I’d done NCT. I’d spoken to fellow parents. Some of my closest friends and family were parents with small children, it couldn’t be that alien, could it? It felt quite simple. We would have a baby where the labour would hurt. A LOT. After that the pain would be over, we’d fall in love with our baby, go home and live happily ever after. The end. Right?! That’s where I was wrong.

It was like jumping into a whole new world, and quite a scary one at that. It was a world laden down with all sorts of new responsibility and different choices that I had to make.

The car journey home from hospital felt like the most dangerous journey I’d ever made in my life. Oh my god, we are definitely going to crash! There is someone there going 2 miles over the speed limit…DON’T THEY KNOW THERE’S A GODDAM TINY BABY IN THIS CAR?! I became an exhausted irrational mess. Sleep! I just needed sleep! Fat chance of that with a teeny tiny baby in the house. During those first few weeks and months I totally forgot about the pre baby me. Everything felt so bizarre. I remember going for a walk and going a route I’d done a hundred times before. But everything just felt so DIFFERENT. I forgot silly things like what music I liked, how I liked to have fun, what food I enjoyed. I was in full on survival mode….or rather, full on baby survival mode. I was in no way prepared for this total confusion of self. If you are reading this and any of it resonates I have some tips, which I really hope you might find useful.

  1. I wish someone had told me that all of this confusion and fear and wilderness of identity were NORMAL! Yes you may not have any idea who you are right now, but just KNOW that you will again at some point. Your mojo will return. You are exhausted right now and hormones are all over the shop! You just grew a new tiny human! Discombobulation is the new normal…at least for a while. You will be faced with many thoughts, and many will send you into a whirlwind of guilt. But rest assured EVERYONE has them. Should I have had a baby? Am I cut out for this? Do I love my baby? I already miss my old life! Totally normal. You are in adjusting mode. Let it all wash over you. Have a good cry. Probably daily! It really helps.
  2. Indulge in a little nostalgia. Becoming a mother for me stirred something that made me want to reflect. It suddenly dawned on me that my own parents were people just like me before they had kids. It made me think a lot about that. What made them who they are? What aspects of my childhood did I cherish? What do I vow to do for my baby during her childhood? A little reflection on these things helped me to remember who I was and where I came from, and brought me back to my roots. It was cathartic to think about these things in such a time when the world felt upside down.
  3. You cannot pour from an empty cup! You may have heard this before, but it really is true. As we are crashed into motherhood with a bump a new normal emerges where we are literally on call 24/7. You even sleep (when you are lucky enough to do so) with half an eye open. The days and nights blur into one. All your focus, quite rightly, is on this brand new beautiful life. But this really can take its toll. I’ve learnt that a teeny tiny time out from this a day is so beneficial. Even if its just 10/15 minutes purely and totally to reconnect with yourself. Having someone watch the baby while you take a stroll and get outside, for example, can work wonders for your soul. A bubble bath with no interruptions if you can manage it. A hot cup of tea in a room on your own away from the possibility of having to go to a baby crying. If you can find someone to help so that you can schedule just a few minutes of this a day, you may find it really helps you keep on top of things emotionally.
  4. Music! OK, this one may be a little personal to me, but I’m hoping it may work for you too. Reconnecting to music during my lost period helped me massively. I suppose music is very emotive and personal. I can pretty much plot my life with different albums. Paul Simon’s Graceland can take me rushing back to being about 8 years old on my way to Cornwall for a family holiday. Massive Attack can zoom me back to my first year at University. Primal Scream reminds me of the night I met my husband. Indulge yourself in some music. Dance around your front room while baby is in the sling and rediscover some awesome memories!
  5. Reconnect with your world. It’s easy to become quite insular during those first few months of parenthood. You get on the old “survival” treadmill and you can forget about talking to all those people that care about you. It felt a bit like no one else could possibly have felt as lost as I did as a new mum, but of course that’s not true. I reconnected with some old friends and it really helped me. Especially those with slightly older children. They’d been where I was. I found it really comforting to hear that they had felt similar to me too. So if you feel stressed and anxious, reach out to people. It’s amazing how lovely people are. I remember getting in touch with people I hadn’t spoken to in quite some time, because I knew they were experienced parents and I valued their opinion. I was nervous at first because I was contacting them and pouring my heart out a little. But their response was amazing and very comforting. Their immediate understanding and openness and sisterly love was really reassuring. It also helped me to remember what a kind world we live in, and how many lovely people I knew, which again helped me reconnect with who I was/am.

There’s no getting away from it, motherhood throws you in at the deep end. There are highs and lows and at times it can feel all too relentless. It definitely changes us, and this is all part of the process. Now my children are heading towards 2 and 3 I feel a changed person, and all the better for it. I also feel much better connected to the person I was before I had children. But it did feel for a long time that I was stranded in that large gulf between the person I was before children and that person I was to become afterwards. For me, and I believe many others, it takes a while to adjust. For all those in that gulf right now, be kind to yourself and know you will return!

Sally Bunkham is founder of www.mumsback.com , a social enterprise that provides yummy gift hampers for new mums, full of all the tasty treats they’ve not been allowed whilst pregnant, like wine, cheese and pate. £1 from every hamper goes to www.pandasfoundation.org.uk to help support their important work in perinatal mental health conditions.

Mum’s Back are currently running an offer where you can get 20% off, for more information please go to https://mumsback.com/product/launch-hamper/

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Sally Bunkham

Founder of mumsback.com and mum to 2 lovely daughters, born 1 year apart. Daisy is nearly 3 & Ruby is nearly2. Sleep thief survivor! PND warrior. Passionate about raising money to help families with perinatal mental health issues. I also love wine, chocolate and occasionally running. I flit between Stamford, Lincs & good old Sussex by the sea, Brighton.

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