Me, Myself and the Mum
Somewhere in nine months of pregnancy, 36 hours of labour, and weeks of learning how to keep my tiny human alive, I lost myself.
I packed myself into a box and put it neatly away on the nursery shelf next to children’s books smelling of fresh ink, and the bookends that didn’t quite work but cost me a fortune because they “look so cute.”
When I became a mother, I became a stranger.
I threw away all the traits that made me, me. I was afraid they were traits not fit for a mother.
I was the square-shaped toy trying to fit through the round hole. My edges were too sharp, dangerous. I didn’t fit the mould. This was a new world and the old me didn’t belong.
So I let her go.
I wore my new label like a badge pinned high on my chest, delicately balanced above the deep purple scar sliced across my stomach.
I became a shadow that followed the “mum” me around. I watched her take part in conversations about things that did not interest her with people that did not interest her.
I watched her struggle with her new frame, ashamed and weighed down by the extra 30 kilograms instead of being proud of a body that created life.
On summer days when the sun threw shadows across my path, I caught a glimpse of the old me but I quickly turned the stroller and hurried away, content only to window shop on my former self.
Perhaps it was the daily book taking from the nursery shelf, or the over-priced bookends that I later sold on Gumtree, but at some point that neat little box tumbled to the floor.
Slowly, I started to unpack myself and dust off the pieces of me I once owned and loved.
I am a best friend. A daughter. A sister.
I am a writer. A traveler. A dreamer.
I have learned there is no such thing as how a mum looks. Or lives. Or thinks. Or dresses. Or talks. Or behaves. I don’t have to look like a mum, because I am one.
Some days it’s the bags under my eyes that show motherhood. Other days it’s the sparkle in them.
I am a mother first, but first I was me and I cannot be a mother, without being me.
I thought I had to become a different person. A “better” person.
But here I am. I am still little old me. Just an updated version.
And that’s OK.
Come with us x