RECLAIMING A PIECE OF MY IDENTITY
Disclaimer: This picture is OLD. But I will get there again!
When you're pregnant, everyone jokes that once the baby comes, no one will care about you anymore. People say it lightheartedly, as a funny inevitability. I knew that there would be some truth to this. That all of the gifts we got after the birth would be for Avi. That people would come over to visit and want to hold and snuggle him. And while it's probably not fair to say that no one cared about me anymore, the change in identity from Sandy to Avi's mom was surprisingly difficult. I'm not complaining. Of all of ways I've identified myself in the past - runner, singer, student, wife - MOM is the identity I'm most proud of and that gives me the most joy. But was I prepared for the fact that the first question would always be 'how is Avi?' Or that people would come to my house and immediately go for the baby - saying hello to me second. Or that I would even lose my name. "How is Mommy today?' 'Mommy will be right back.' Even at the doctor's office, 'Mom, please put Avi on the scale.' As I said, I love being Mommy...but what happened to Sandy?
And it's not just how other people perceive us. We get so wrapped up in this new identity of Mom that it's easy to forget about ourselves. We put our own needs aside. I'm not even talking about our needs to socialize or exercise. I mean the very basic needs like eating and sleeping. What new mom hasn't marveled at the fact that they haven't eaten in 8 hours and didn't even notice. Or is shocked to find that they can function on with two hours of sleep a night. I remember in the those early weeks not knowing what to do with Avi when I had to go to the bathroom...so I just didn't go. And that sage advice to sleep while the baby is sleeping? HA! What about the laundry? The dishes? The emails? We're so busy being Mommy, and trying to do it perfectly, that we forget about our needs, our interests, and our desires.
One of the reasons I love being a working mom is that I get to have an identity outside of being a mom. People see me as an adult, a professionals, and a contributor. Mom is just a slice of that identity. Now that our little family has settled into a bit of a routine and now that the weather is warming up, I'm reclaiming a part of my personality that's been lost for over a year. An identity that was so important to me before I got pregnant. The identity of RUNNER.
I took two plunges this past week to get me back into running. I signed up for a 10K and I created a Facebook group of moms with babies around the same age as Avi who will support, encourage, inspire, and motivate each other. We've got over 20 incredible moms in the group - some will run the race together and some will just use the group for motivation, but we all have the same goal. To carve out a little time to take care of ourselves and to reclaim a part of our old selves. I can't wait to dive in.