It took me 1,221 days or 3.3 revolutions around the sun for me to find myself again after having kids.
After the birth of my first child I was lost. Precisely, I was a lost mess with a strange, new body and intense levels of anxiety.
In other words I was not myself. Not even at all. I was tenser and I was wider. You be the judge of which was worse.
As a new Mom I was overwhelmed as fuck and that’s putting it mildly. Everyday I walked (and walked and walked) to feel better but I was still tense and still wide. I sulked and wondered why I couldn’t shake off the feelings (and the weight) and at the same time I shoved chocolate chip cookies down my hatch.
The big truth is I was so distanced from who I used to be that the old me felt more like an abstract concept, or an idea.
The point though is this I am found: well and alive.
I feel like me again. Finally!
My body moves like me again which means I feel strong, healthy, and balanced.
I’m content and grateful which is a chicken and egg conundrum because I’m content because I’m grateful and I’m grateful because I’m content. Beautiful, right?
I feel joyful — not just happy. Because happiness is fleeting with it’s highs (such highs) but joy is rooted in something earthly; something one can savour.
I feel playful. I’m laughing at myself, at anything. I’m making jokes, too. Someone recently described me as funny as well so, yeah. Big deal around here…
I got my groove back and it didn’t take a tropical getaway to get me here. So, how did I metamorphosize and start feeling normal again?
Start with Self Compassion
Throughout my journey Mom kept saying, you just had a baby. Even if that baby was a year old. I love this. Everytime I felt I should be looking better than I did she’d say this and help me give myself the permission I needed to take more time. Because the truth is that time is what I really needed to absorb the impact of the change to myself, my life, my marriage. A kid is like an earthquake, with plenty of aftershocks.
Remember What You Used to Love
Can you recall how you used to spend your time before children? What did me time look like then? For me it was the gym. But with two high risk pregnancies seemingly back to back and doctors orders to limit fitness to a brisk walk I forgot all about it. But I tell you the minute I stepped into my gym it all came rushing back to me like a damn homecoming. I felt euphoria, connectedness, and peace. It was like that scene in Hook when the kid sees Peter Pan in adult Peter, “there you are Peter.”
Remember Who You Want to Be
It’s nearly effortless to get caught up in this one dimensional definition of self and limit it to just Mom. A true sense of self can slip away and before you know it you can’t recall who you were or who you wanted to be before you gave life to two other people. And sometimes it’s more fun to plan their lives and dream up their possibilities rather than our own. I got centred on who I want to be by centering my focus on my Core Desired Feelings and started thinking outside of my Mom self and started visualizing my own possibilities.
Give Yourself Joy (and Repeat.)
Finding my way back to myself wasn’t exactly an arduous process because I made it about joy. So often self-improvement becomes more about shame and suffering. I was not about to set goals and rigid rules in the falsified notion of self-improvement. I paid witness to the things that brought me real, lasting joy and put those things on repeat. The more I zeroed in on what brought me joy the more joy I felt. And then came crashing the feelings of gratefulness and content.
FInding a path back to who I used to be took patience and courage to explore my own possibilities and asking myself, how do I want to feel? The breadcrumbs are there. Follow them back.