4. New Mum follows all the advice, here’s what happened…
Hiya, we're four blogs in now and I feel we're becoming friends, I'm so glad you decided to return for another piece of me. If you saw the title and thought 'that looks interesting' but you weren't quite sure what you'd clicked on, welcome to my blog series ‘Pieces of Me’. Subsequently it’s also the name of my album that I am currently writing, co-producing and self-releasing in 2023. In this episode I'm going to be talking about a track off the album called 'Automatic Love'. Basically, it's about the endless advice you will get, have had, or even shared yourself. We've all done it!
Picture the scene; you're in the delivery room and you've just pushed out something the size of a watermelon through the hole the size of a lemon (yep, totally stole that line from 'Look Who's Talking') and feel like a grand piano has just landed on you from a great height. You're handed, quite possibly, the biggest responsibility of your life and expected to get on with the job. So far, so standard.
After the initial shock of having my first child wore off, I went through a very strange period of time. I had absolutely no idea this was going to happen as it didn't appear in any of the parenting books you find online, or Mummy blogs that saturate the internet. Breastfeeding (or formula feeding, I don't judge!) baby in the early hours of the morning is a dangerous time for Mums. The things we Google! Anyway it was during one such night-time feed that my mind started wandering and I thought to myself 'who am I? I certainly don't feel like me anymore and I don't know who this new person is!'. It was terrifying.
The days and nights merged into one big early-days of motherhood fog and I could not see the wood for the trees. I functioned and got through it by the way so if you're about to slam the laptop shut or throw your phone out of the window, it does pass. I promise. And if you feel it doesn't - SPEAK TO SOMEONE. Do not keep this to yourself. You're not crazy, you're not insane, you ARE a good mother. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. I can only conclude that the expansion of my world - physically, mentally, emotionally and literally was an awful lot to process in a short space of time. My Mummy brain kind of broke down, needed a re-boot and upgrade before it could comprehend the new world I was now the nucleus of. I mean, come on people, it's a seismic shift from being a single entity to now being responsible for another human life. Dad's play a part too - of course they do so I'm by no means excluding them from the conversation but my songs are about the women and what they go through because WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT ENOUGH.
What came next was, for me, the most terrifying and that was the loneliness. Despite having support (I would be lost without it), and despite having friends in similar situations, and despite having a husband who was very much in the trenches of parenthood with me, I was lonely. Really, really lonely. I had lost every sense of being myself and I didn't recognise this new version that just appeared one day. There was no 'working on myself' or 'taking time out to regroup', it just happened. Overnight. I felt invisible even though I was very much in the centre of the action. When people came to visit, naturally they want to meet the baby and be part of the event. It is so lovely to be able to share that kind of joy and see it light up other people, but look beyond the veil and there was nothing there. I was empty and totally alone.
Some call it baby blues, some call it post-natal depression or post-natal anxiety (that's another story!) but I think it was something more. Like I said, I could function and get through the day and even enjoy some of it. I felt love and tiredness and all the usual things you feel when you're a new mum but this sense of having lost myself was hard to shake. For all that Mums talk and share intimate details of their pregnancy and motherhood journeys, I didn't hear a lot of this kind of chat. It's only now, when I talk to other people about my songs and what my album is about, I find that there are others out there who feel the same way. Even women who haven't had kids or gone down that road. It was amazing to me to find others who needed to release this part of their lives to move on, healed.
I'm not sure when it happened, but there did come a day when I felt back in control and in charge of my life again. That was the day I decided to document this snippet in time, this shift, transformation, evolution - whatever you want to call it. We need to talk about it more so that women who come after us know that it's totally normal and we can do something about it to ease them through - talk, share our stories and know that we will get through it to meet the expansive version of you that can hold motherhood and who you are in one place.
If you liked what you read/heard then don't keep it to yourself, share far and wide! I'll be back with the next piece of me soon but until then keep the heid, you’re doing great.