Dear Mama - you're still there, though you may feel like you've been a bit lost recently.
Parenting is both wonderful and challenging and amazing and an ongoing unfolding - more than I think anyone tells you. More than you want to hear when you first start thinking you'd maybe like a baby, or when you're in those first early days of motherhood with eight feeds a night, endless crying and looking deep into those beautiful eyes that somehow came from you.
The mama only exists once the baby arrives. You don't have a manual and sometimes it feels like you don't have a clue. But you're doing it - you're doing an amazing job of raising your children.
And - it's ok that you think sometimes about the time before you had children, and the mama that you are now. And to ask yourself - who am I apart from mama?
Mama - you're still in there.
The seeds of who you are, are buried deep within you and you can find them. Those seeds come from everything that happened and which formed you today, both before, during and after you had your children. I know sometimes it can feel like that old you is gone. And maybe parts of "that you" are gone - for this time and this season.
But the true bits? The deep down in your soul, beautiful essence of you? That's most definitely there. You'll find her when you slow down to listen to the whispers of your soul that say "I'd love to do that". When you take the time to do something for you, rather than you-as-mama or you-as-wife/partner.
The truth is mama, as our child grows so can our confidence and trust in who we are now. Because you can forge a new truth for yourself. A new "you" with the best bits of the "old" and the "new". With things you've not even considered so far.
Just think about how far you've come as a mama. You've learnt how to care for that small person, how to feed them, change them, look after them, bath them and cut their nails. How to wean them, potty train them, and even more things that you just take in your stride every day because that's what being a mother is all about.
And the "you" that you feel you've lost a little of? She's waiting for you. She's there behind the everyday tasks, behind all the thousand and one things that "must" be done.
Ease into re-connecting with her. Make friends with re-discovering what it means to be you - now that you're a mama. Some bits will be the same, and some bits will be new.
Your strength mama, comes in making those small spaces in your life to delve into what it is feeds your soul. Because in feeding your own soul, you gain the energy you need to re-charge. To feel calm, to trust you're doing the best you can (because you are).
When we take care of ourselves, it makes it easier to care for those who need us and love us. When we love what we do, we show up in a better state of mind, with more energy and knowing we can do this.
It can be hard, mama, to find that time. I know this. Take small steps. Go back to things that you used to do. Look out for opportunities to do new things, that follow the threads of things you've been interested in before, but fit your new lifestyle. Ask for the time and support you need to make it happen. Even small amounts of time doing things you love - things that feel like you - enlarge your capacity to be the mama you want to be.
Do something for you today, mama. Even if it's only five minutes. Even if it's only just before you close your eyes at bedtime. Have that cup of tea in a beautiful china cup. Go for a day out with friends. Listen to music. Sit with your feet up. Close your eyes. Breathe more, worry less. Paint. Doodle. Learn how to crochet. Go for a walk just for fun. Whatever it is - take yourself with you. And have a lovely time. Your inner you is ready and waiting.