I keep seeing this post on social media over this past week and every time I see it, I can’t help to think back to a time in my life when I felt so absorbed in my role as a mother, that I completely lost that individual part of myself.
I remember that time so clearly, I had a 3 year old and a newborn, I was newly postpartum, I felt so overwhelmed and anxious. I was in total denial of it at the time – I was clearly experiencing postpartum anxiety. I was irritable all the time, I was losing my patience over every little thing, I was yelling at my daughter, I was withdrawn from my husband, I felt like I was on the verge of tears all the time, I felt like I lost all control of my life. I went from being the most patient and positive person to feeling constantly miserable.
I felt so helpless, but I also didn’t want to let anyone know how I was feeling, still putting on the brave face, pretending like everything was fine – when in fact, everything felt like it was spinning out of control.
I finally went to my doctor and was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication, a part of me felt so ashamed that it had come to this, I never let anyone know that I started taking these meds, not even my husband. I started to feel better with my moods, but my energy level was non-existent. I couldn’t keep going like that, not with tow small children and having to go back to work.
So I decided to start exercising, hoping that it would help with my energy level, release some endorphins. One evening I put my son down to sleep, went downstairs to my basement, popped in a home workout DVD and spent 30 minutes exercising. I did again the next day and the day after. Days turned into weeks and before I knew it, this became a daily habit. Eight weeks into it, I lost all my baby weight, I felt better physically and had more energy.
But it wasn’t the physical transformation that kept me going, having these 30-40 minutes to myself every evening became my safe haven, it was the one time throughout my entire day when I forgot about taking care of everyone else and concentrated solely on taking care of me.
I finally began to feel like I was finding myself again, that person whom I lost as I transitioned into becoming a mother – she was starting to make a come back. But it wasn’t the same person, it was a different version of myself who was able to find a balance between being a mother, a wife and an individual.
Finally understanding the importance of self-care, that self-care is NOT selfish, it is necessary. Not only for my own sake, but for the sake of everyone around me.
So if you are at a place where I was a few years ago, if you are struggling with knowing who you are outside of your role as a mother – I’m here to tell you that you deserve to be your own person, you MATTER.
If you’re not sure where to start – let me share with you this Morning Self-care Guide