Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most

I have a lot on my mind so bear with me as I verbally vomit.

Something that worried me about becoming pregnant and motherhood was the loss of my identity. That’s kind of an abstract concept, so I hope I can explain it well… what I mean by loss of identity is losing sight of myself – who I am, what I love, what has shaped me and what makes me unique. I feared/fear becoming a talking bobble head who only talks about her kids, drives a minivan (no offense to minivan drivers, but I love my 4Runner!), and is basically consumed by her kids’ lives. I have feared losing my passion for my husband, running, my job, my hobbies, etc. and so of all the hundreds and hundreds of talks that I had with my hubby before we took the plunge, maintaining me was at the top of my list.  Thankfully, I married a rock star of a husband who listens well and we worked through how I could maintain my identity, because frankly, it would affect him too. And I know he also wants to maintain his identity, which involves doting on his wife (ha!), fixing cars, riding dirt bikes, going to happy hour, and keeping so many of his passions that shape who he is. I am a firm believer that a healthy person makes a healthy wife/mother/employee/etc.

We’ve done a good job of that so far, the two of us. He hardly blinked an eye when I suggested joining the gym again, and encourages me pretty regularly to go because he knows it makes me happy. We’ve talked a lot about me going back to work part-time after six weeks of maternity leave (I would work from home for 12 hours and work in the office one day) mostly because I love my job and have invested a lot in my career, but also because I know it would help me to get out of the house and do things and be around adults. We’ve talked about each of us taking half a day to do whatever we want, by ourselves, once the baby is here so we can both enjoy our hobbies. That may be unrealistic (it probably is), but it’s it’s a naive nice dream to have. :)

What I didn’t anticipate is how much other people would forget that I am more than the talking bobble head. That I have a lot more going on in my life than preparing for this baby. Like figuring out my maternity leave, which the thought of juggling it all stresses me out. Or how, because I am paid on a monthly basis and it’s a month behind, how we are going to swing being a one-income family for a bit while I’m on leave. Or that I have a 10k in just over a week, or that I am really seriously considering the San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll MARATHON 11 months post-partum. And considering all of the trepidations I had before I got pregnant, well, they rear their ugly head from time to time, and it takes the wind out of my sails wondering if we did the right thing, I like my life the way it is, and why did we have to go and change everything?

What doesn’t keep me up at night is finishing painting the nursery, what we’re going to name the baby, or where we’re registering for the millions of ridiculous and superfluous things that a baby apparently “needs” according to Babies R Us and Target. But that’s what everyone else wants to talk about. And while I don’t want to rain on their parade or be a damper on their excitement, sometimes it’s just too much to handle! And then I get all anti-mommy and shut down for a few days and don’t want to talk about anything baby-related. I love my little growing runner, no doubt. But I am struggling to find a balance between what everyone else wants to talk about, and what’s going on in the other 99% of my life, you know?

I don’t know that I’ve come to any conclusion other than I needed to get this out because other than my husband, there’s no one else that really understands the struggle I’m having maintaining my identity. I know it will change and conform when the kiddo arrives, and I expect that and am open to it. But at this point in my life, there’s definitely a lot of other exciting things going on, and I miss people taking an interest in those things instead of asking for the millionth time if I know what I’m having yet… you know?

Anyone, anyone?


Karen@WaistingTime said...

Love the post title, Anna. And I get it, but I think I was different. I was probably more into the focus on all that stuff. And then I joined the legion of women who, horrors, share their labor and delivery stories over dinner! Eek. One thing that I do remember clearly is telling my husband that I wanted him to remember about me after the baby was born. Pregnant women get a lot of attention... which suddenly shifts the minute we pop that cutie out.

Yes, your life is about to change forever. But you still be you. You just might have to work at it harder and squeeze it in between diaper changes and feedings:)

Ironically, I am at the other end of the spectrum with my nest about to empty in 5 weeks and I am wondering how I will define myself then.

robin said...

I'm there. Expecting #2... just when #1 started to be manageable and I started to get some of those things back (3 years later, I might add.)

I work full-time during the week and my husband travels most weekends - which means things like gym visits, happy hours, etc... I just don't get a chance to do those. I had a pedicure a few weeks ago and realized it was the first pedicure I'd had in over a year. An analogy for the amount of time I have to myself.

I fear for what life with #2 will be like - just because I remeber how hard the beginning was with #1. The sleepless nights, the pumping at work, the managing a colicky infant while my husband was away for days at a time.

But, ultimately you make it work. Really, you do. Sure, it's different but you adapt and while there are still really, really hard times, you get through them.

I know it sounds cliche and I know it is one of those empty promises that I can't back up with firm evidence but, coming from a woman who is about to have her second child, still drives a 7-year-old Passat, still exercises (although not as often or competitvely as before), has a who shuns children's music in favor of Vampire Weekend or Bob Marley, hasn't once watched an episode of Barney, and who still occassionally goes to see a concert or two, I promise you can still keep your identity.

Renee @ MyKitchenAdventures said...

Really and truthfully, it changes, yes...but not to the extreme that you loose yourself and who you are in the process. Kind of like marriage. It didn't change who you were really just because you became a Mrs. It just expanded who you are. You will still be you...just more...that's all. And like kids are getting bigger now and the whole empty nest thing scares me to if I can give you one bit of advice...don't sweat the small grow up way to fast, and just when you think you can't possibly do it anymore ( when you are tired and the kids are fighting and you want to just escape) you find the inner strength to carry on and just as quickly as it all comes, it leaves take the time to enjoy the present and don't worry so much about the future.

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