Have you ever met those moms who seem to bounce back to their former selves so effortlessly after having a baby? They look the same as they did pre-baby, they’re sleeping the same amount as they did pre-baby, and they have somehow figured out the ever-mysterious work-life balance - not missing a beat at the office and pretty much just crushing the game.
Yea, I’ve seen those moms too. And until recently, I was fully convinced I would be one of them.
But, here we are...almost four months after the birth of my second son in two years, I can assuredly say that I am NOT that mom. In fact, I feel like a completely different person in almost every way. Let me be clear, though...it’s not in the “oh-my-gosh-I-love-my-kids-so-much-they-have-changed-my-life-forever” way. It’s in the “my-brain-literally-can’t-go-back-to-the-way-it-used-to-be-no-matter-how-hard-I-try” kind of way.
Let’s take a step back to about two years ago. I was happily married, a proud dog mama and a workaholic. And, I don’t mean workaholic in a bad way. I loved to work and thrived in high-pressure, tight-deadline situations. These traits always served me well and I had a great job at one of the biggest PR agencies in the world, traveling around the globe, offering counsel to CEOs and other executives at some of the biggest brands out there. Admittedly, I was killing it.
A family on top of the killer career was always in the plan for me, so while pregnant with my oldest son, Noah, I had every intention of going back to my great job after maternity leave. Just as I was getting used to new-mom life, I found out that I was unexpectedly pregnant again. As my mom says, “we make plans and God laughs.” Well, God must have been laughing so hard that she spit [breast]milk out her nose, because having two babes less than 15 months apart is no joke...but, I digress.
Shortly after my second baby, Teddy, arrived, it became very clear, very quickly that I couldn’t have it all. I couldn’t have the same intense job being on call 24-hours a day for clients, while also doing drop-off for Noah’s first year of school, pumping eight times a day, building my consulting business, and being present enough to notice all of Teddy’s tiny, but major milestones, all while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life. The struggle and guilt I felt each and every day during Teddy’s first few months of life were completely and debilitatingly overwhelming. During this “fourth trimester” I really struggled to reconcile my new reality with my very recent past on a daily basis.
If I’m being honest, I have spent the past four months mourning my former self. ‘Mourning’ is a term my therapist used to describe my feelings (shout out to mental health counselors everywhere) and, at first, it didn’t sit right with me. Surely, I am being super dramatic. I just brought two delicious, perfect, healthy babies into this world. No one died. But she is 1,000% right. I am not the same person I used to be and I’m not sure that person will ever come back. So, I had to say goodbye.
If this story leaves you with one thing, let it be this. I love my boys more than I ever could have imagined and am BEYOND grateful. But I also miss my old self more than I’d like to admit most days. And that’s okay. I’m thankful for the person who I used to be and think of her fondly. After all, she made me into the driven and compassionate mom/wife/friend/sister/daughter/boss I am today.