I am a mother to a beautiful 3-year-old boy, and being a mom is for sure the best phase of my life. Having said that being a mom is also a very tough job, especially if you are in a foreign country and when you don’t have any support system.
It was very hard for me to look at myself in the mirror. I just could not recognize myself. It felt like there was a different person looking back at me.
My body looked different. I had put on 5 kg extra weight, I had dark circles around my eyes, my face was dull, and my hair was in a mess, in fact, it would be right to say that I was in a mess. Every time I saw it, I told myself it is normal to look this way because I’m a mother now. Who cares if I can’t fit into those pre-pregnancy dresses or jeans, who cares if my hair is a mess, who cares if my skin looks dull and lifeless?
In the process, I always avoided getting my pictures clicked, and trust me when I say this today I hardly have any pictures of me and my son. It’s heartbreaking.
Anyway, this phase was not only a physically difficult one for me but also emotionally and mentally. I was going through a lot, with less sleep, that feeling of always being tired, and to top that the feeling that it’s me and my son against the rest of the world.
I started going into depression, but one fine day I told myself:
This could not be normal and if I don’t ask for help now I will lose myself completely.
What I had to do is change my outlook toward things. I told myself I am a mother now, but first of all, I was an independent woman, who was managing work, home, and life all by herself. Why can’t I manage these different roles now and also be myself? So the first thing I did was:
1. Talk to my partner
Trust me this is so important and it can make a huge difference if you share your feelings with your partner. The problem is most of the time we think: Why do we have to tell him everything, can he not understand? I just had a baby! Why is it so hard for him to understand that giving birth is so painful and now I’m also taking care of his baby? But we forget that in the same way, our life has changed after giving birth, our partner’s life has, too. Maybe not physically, but mentally. He too is dealing with this new lifestyle change and talking, letting him know how you are feeling, and asking for help will not make you look weak, but will make your relationship with your partner stronger.
Is the best love. Try to think of the time when you were young. You would try to put that extra effort to do a little bit of makeup before stepping out. You would try the new products launched in the market for your face and hair. Then what happened? Now suddenly all you are concerned about is the latest baby products. It’s very normal. I have gone through that phase where I have been thinking: I must get some good hair and face products and have ended up buying only baby products in the end.
It is normal to put yourself second when it comes to your child but in the process of being a mom don’t forget yourself.
While shopping for new baby clothes try and buy something for yourself, and try and pamper yourself at times.
Try to take out some time for a manicure, pedicure, or just a relaxing face massage. Get that hair salon appointment that you have been avoiding taking because you didn’t have time, change the color of your hair or just get a new haircut. Trust me when you come out of the parlor you will feel like a new person.
3. Me time
Something which I didn’t realize how important it was for me to feel normal again, but my husband pushed me from the start to have some me time. It’s basically some alone time with yourself and maybe in this time you can relax a little bit, take a long nap or a long bath, maybe read a book or just go and do some exercises. Just some time all for yourself, where you don’t have to think about feeding or changing the diaper of your baby. Trust me when you are done with your me time you will have so much more energy for your child.
4. Plan an evening out with your girlfriends
Again something that really helped me. Going out with people who don’t have kids will help you feel that nothing has changed and it’s still you.
Don’t misunderstand me when I say, you should try and plan something with your girlfriends who don’t have kids, because I am sure you are already on playdates where you meet your girlfriends who have kids. No offense most conversation topics during these meetings are the kids.
I feel, at times you need to go out with friends like during your old times and talk about other things. You will see you will also feel your brain is more active because for once you are not having conversations about babies.
5. Get back to some routine
If you have some routine for your child, try to make a routine for yourself. Taking care of a child without anyone’s support is very tough. You need to manage everything and hence it’s important that you give your body and mind enough rest. Making a routine will help you follow a schedule and not get lost.
6. Try to have a hobby
I am sure when you were young you had many hobbies, but as we grow up these hobbies take a back seat. I feel this is the right time to try and get back to your hobby. Something that you like to do and by the end of it you will also feel accomplished.
For example, maybe your hobby was to paint and then make a painting, if your hobby was to dance then learn a new dance form. Rediscover yourself through these hobbies.
This is something I always recommend doing. Every night before going to sleep take out 10 mins and just forget everything and meditate. This activity will help you in many ways. For example, it will help you relax after a whole day of running around with your child. Your mind needs to unwind. It will also help you calm down and get ready for a good night’s sleep.
These were just a few of the things that have helped me. I am sure there can be many more but one thing is constant and that is: You need to share your feelings and concerns with your partner. Keeping feelings inside and trying to look strong is the worst you can do to yourself and your relationship.
Because trust me, he is no fortune-teller who will know that you are in pain and need help. You need to ask for help.
As for me, I am still in the process of rediscovering myself. It is hard, but I am determined not to lose myself in the process of being a mother.