Having a Baby Gave Me An Identity Crisis

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I have a confession to make. Since having a baby, I feel like I’ve lost something important.

No, it’s not my appearance or my once flat tummy that I’m concerned about. It’s not even my sex life that I mean. In fact, it’s something way more important to me. It’s something that I used to wake up to every day, and something that after 36 years of life, I finally felt content knowing.

What I’ve lost, is my sense of identity.

I feel caught between feelings of success as a mother, but failure as an individual.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love my baby with every ounce of my being. However, between nappy changes, feedings, entertainment duties, housework, preparing dinners,  trying to fit in a shower and feeding myself (and more!) I just seem to run out of time to be… well, to be ME.

Identity Crisis: I Miss 'Me'

Is it wrong that I miss ME? I miss the motivated ‘me’, full of  goals and aspirations. I miss the creative ‘me’, constantly inspired to create by the beauty around me. I miss the sexy ‘me’, full of sexual energy and eagerness. I miss the confident ‘me’, wearing tightly fitted clothing and ready to take on the world.

I feel as though I’m walking a shaky tightrope of identity, and I just don’t know how to find my balance.

I’m having an identity crisis of sorts.

Wondering: Can I Have it All?

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I find myself asking “Can I be ‘me’ again?”  several times a day. Is it possible to find my balance among the new duties and responsibilities that come with motherhood?

I had my attempt at ‘having it all’. I tired, and it didn’t quite work. To not affect my time with my daughter, I would wait until she was asleep and work on my goals, exercise and time with husband all past midnight. Did I succeed? Well, yes and no. I was exhausted beyond belief, and I felt like rubbish and run to the ground. Having it all came at the sacrifice of my health, and it didn’t make me happier.

I realised that I can’t really do it all. Something had to give, and I didn’t want it to be my health.

Balance: What They Don't Teach You'

I sit here realising that I can’t be the same ‘me’ any more; not in entirety anyway. I want to be the best mother I can be, and that ultimately means sacrificing some of the things that I used to identify with being ‘me’.

I know that I’m not alone. I’m sure this feeling is felt by many mums and dads alike.

My husband keeps asking “But you KNEW what having a child meant, right?” Well yes, of course. I was ready for my child and I wanted my child more than anything. I went through 3 surgeries and a miscarriage to get here.

What I wasn’t prepared for though, was having to accept that maybe I couldn’t be the same ‘me’ for an indefinite period of time, and how to strike a balance to handle that. They don’t teach you that in prenatal classes. They don’t prepare you for the isolation that you might feel from YOURSELF.

So here I am asking you other mums and dads out there… How do I push past that niggling sadness inside when I miss those things that I just simply don’t have time to do any more? I feel caught between feelings of success as a mother, but failure as an individual.

Will this pass?

Author and Managing Editor E Fegan

Eleni Fegan is the founder and Managing Editor of DearBub Blog and Magazine which began from a personal journey of research and healing. Her motivation for DearBub is beautifully summarised in her Editor’s Letter“I realised that there is beauty to giving voice to our experiences, and raising an awareness that we are not alone in them. I realised the immense power that ‘sharing’ had in transforming our sense of self and being through creating connection”. 

#Content in this article has been by contributed by E Fegan. Please apply credit if referencing this article.

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6 years 2 months ago

You’re not alone. I suspect that’s why so many new mums are eager to go back to work, have a hobby, or start a business. You start feeling like nothing more than a milk machine and diaper changer, and there’s more to each of us than that! I think we get scared of forgetting who we are amongst all the motherhood stuff. I dont have an answer for you yet. Still figuring it out myself.

6 years 2 months ago

Schedule time in to get out of the house and do your own thing, even if its just 1 hour a week. Makes a difference in my experience. x