Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grieving the "old" you

In the last week I've had several moms talk to me about a common concern among women: losing their identity when they became moms. It can be rather traumatizing to be pregnant one day and have a baby the next. When you leave the hospital you arrive home with another person! From the get go your needs are put on the back burner. Since you have better coping skills than your infant your needs can wait. Unless we are careful we put those needs on hold indefinitely. Somewhere in the early years it's easy to lose ourselves in all that we must do for our babies. That loss can bring about periods of grief.

After my first child was born I did most of the things I loved but I did quit running. Why? I have no idea. She is now ten and I'm finally running again. I'm in training for my first half marathon. My kids aren't suffering because I'm running. If anything I've noticed that they are excited to see their mommy so happy about doing something she loves. They are rooting for me, they know the date of my race, what town it's in, and how far the race is, etc. For me, doing the thing I love best is actually making me a better mom.

When my kids were tiny babies I don't think I would've had the energy to run like I am now. But I do regret quitting altogether. There are numerous benefits to exercising post partum. It's good for our bodies and minds. I regret that I was sedentary for a few years. The science alludes me but I do know that exercising helps you have more energy and sleep better, it also improves your overall feeling of well being.

What do you miss about the "old" you? What did you used to spend time doing that now you've let go? What hobby do you miss? If you have a little baby, this season will quickly pass. I strongly suggest you keep up your hobbies or interests. Sure, you'll need to spend less time and energy on your favorite activities for now but keeping involved in them will do wonders for you. It's inevitable that you will spend some time grieving the "old" you...your body, your lifestyle, your activities, your interests, your pastimes. But don't let go of all of it, please don't. It's what makes you YOU. Yes, you are a mom now. But you are still you, too.

Be lifted!

Joel 2:25
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.

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Arlene Pellicane said...

Way to go Sue with your running! Cheering for you! Great post.

Kira said...

I've been following your blog for the last few months. My husband and I are having our 1st baby any day now, official due date April 9th! This post really hit home, I've been pretty emotional these past few days thinking about babies arrival and what will change. I am so excited to become a mom, but scared that my relationship with my husband will change and that I will never get back into shape. How do you get over these feelings!