Did you ever have a defining moment in your life, when something metaphorically slapped you round the face to take notice? When my little girl was five weeks old, that's just what happened to me. I had a chance cup of tea alone with my sister-in-law and she asked the best questions I had been asked since the birth.
What's it like now not working? Do you miss living in London? Did you know what to do straight away?
As she asked me these questions, genuinely wanting to know, I realised how rare this was. And then it hit me. For 5 weeks everyone had been asking the same things: Have you recovered yet? How's her sleep? Above all, I realised that these ponderings hadn't even entered my mind. And as we had a chat about it, I sighed with relief that someone actually cared how I was feeling. Someone actually acknowledged me before telling me how beautiful my baby was.
I had completely and utterly lost myself to looking after our daughter without another thought in the world. It's like I had put pre-baby me in a little box - the one who loves to eat out, who always has to have fresh lime with her vodka and tonic, who loves to read a good book and chat for hours with friends on the phone. Just as I had automatically and without question said goodbye to those things, I felt like everyone else did too. I was now Mum.
I don't resent it - but during these early months, I missed the old me and wondered how long it would be before she returned. I longed for a day when I felt in control of things, and didn't realise that very soon I'd become an expert at winging it every step of the way! I had lost my identity and forgotten the girl that I was a year ago. To this day, my beautiful sister-in-law who is always thoughtful and kind, will never know what she did for me. On this day I was Bridget again.
A year on and little parts of me are creeping back in to say hello, but the truth is I'll never be quite the same again. Becoming a mum has changed and empowered me. Whilst I was initially filled with self-doubt, it has made me more confident in so many ways. It feels like I was always meant to be Mum. And as I watch our little girl smile from ear to ear with the excitement, I can't help but take a moment to acknowledge how far we've come. For the fractious moments, the tears and so many worries: whether her love for Bing and CBeebies in general is creating a TV addict, or if she's sleeping enough, eating enough, why she doesn't seem to be able to drink from a sippy cup - a morning smile or a belly laugh makes it all worth it.
This post first appeared on Bridie By The Sea