I am officially 30 weeks pregnant and am all the combinations of overwhelmed, anxious, excited, joyful, and terrified. I am about to enter one of the most exciting and joyful journeys of my life thus far. It is also a huge change. We will be family of three now, not two. We won’t be free to just get up and go as easily (but I guess we weren’t really anyway since we are dog parents, right?). There have been so many things to think about, that thinking about yourself kind of gets lost in the paint colors, bottle brand options, and birthing classes. One of the things I have deciphered as a source of my anxiety is struggling with being able to recognize and conform to my new identity.
Everyone tells you “Your life is about to change so dramatically” and I get that, I didn’t think that it wouldn’t. Everyone also says that you won’t be you anymore, you’ll be mom, you won’t want to do all the things you used to enjoy, and you won’t have time to do them anyway. This is the part I am struggling with. Do you have to give up who you were just because you have a baby? Christ, I hope not. I in no way doubt that I am about to lose whatever free time I might have had for a while, and that all my priorities will change. This can happen in any major life change– which is why it is good to be flexible and be adaptable. However I don’t anticipate that I will lose interest in the things I like to do. I would expect that I would still want to celebrate Halloween with costumes and extravagance (and booze). That I would still like to go out dancing (with booze). That I would still like to take tropical vacations (with booze). Okay, okay, not everything in my pre-pregnancy life revolved around booze. I don’t need it to have fun. You don’t need running shoes to run either, but they are as hell help, don’t they? I bristle a bit at the insinuation that I will suddenly stop caring about these things and more simply because there is another little body in our house.
I agree that there will be new things that I love doing, too, and I’m sure most of them will be centered around the new little joy in our lives. I also recognize that I will need to add “mom” to the descriptive list of woman, spirited individual, wife, dog mom, artist, scholar, etc. But I also think women get into trouble when they throw themselves into motherhood and don’t leave anytime for themselves. From my experience, when I throw myself into anything and neglect self-care it takes a physical and emotional toll. I soon may not have the flexibility to take care of myself the way I used to, but I also don’t agree with the fact that you just can’t anymore. Making a little “me time” is important in any aspect of your life. It’s important in relationships, when you’re in school, when climbing the corporate ladder, or dealing with heavy family issues. The best part of you is you, and it is important that this identity remains throughout.
I can hear some of you moms right now. “ARE YOU KIDDING,” you are saying, “Just wait till you’re a mom and see how much time you have for yourself.”
I hear you. I’m listening. I’m not going into this new journey blindly optimistic. I am anticipating the tiredness, the selfless giving, and that time will fly by before I know what is happening. I have heard stories. All I can tell you is that this mom-to-be is going to try her best to keep all of these things in mind, and attempt to find some kind of balance between self-husband-baby. There are going to be three of us soon, and I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to evolving into my new identity, a complex being of many roles, but still being the best woman that I can possibly be.