Monday, August 01, 2005

How Mama Got Her Groove Back

Having a baby and taking care of him is hard, it's the most difficult thing I've ever done, and that's by far. Sure there are amazingly happy momments and good days and fun, but there are also weeks that are so trying you think you'd be better off on the next plane to Timbuktu.

The hardest thing for me I think is not the addition of Noah so much, but more the loss of me. I'm just not myself anymore and I don't like who I've become. Between diaper commercials and The Learning Channel's "A Baby Story" , you'd think being a Mother is all about joy and snuggles and wet wipes all in front of a soft focus lense. To me though, it's also been a lot about sacrifice, anxiety and loss of self.

I don't want to sound selfish or bitter. I knew going into being a Mom that you do make HUGE sacrifices for your child without even thinking. I knew that life from now on would be Noah first and gladly. Somewhere along the way though, I lost sight of who I am and replaced me with a dowdy, anxious, older,lonely,tired, spiritedless self. It really makes me sad. I sometimes act all happy and peppy on the outside, but that's just so you won't ask me if I'm ok.

I'm not sure how this all came about, but I suppose it might have been the whirlwind time we have had recently. I became pregnant right away, so Jon and I didn't have much time as a young, married couple. One month into our marriage, when I found out that I was pregnant, the stresses and realities of life started to weigh on us and the newlywed bliss vanished out the window. We bought a house, I got bigger and tired and then Noah came and we've been exhausted ever since. And I guess now's a better time than ever to be totally honest, so I'll tell you that pregnancy really played with my chemistry and hormones and left me a person with some pretty big anxiety problems. It was really bad while I was pregnant, being anxious that I would die or something would go wrong everyday, every single day. After Noah was born it got worse and I had panic attacks and finally decided to get help. To tell you the truth though, 8 months postpartum, I'm still not the same as I was before. I miss all the time, the old, carefree, happy- go- lucky Lauren I used to be.

I look at our wedding photos,from less than a year and a half ago and see that I looked so much younger. I looked alive! I think back to before and remember laughing with friends and always grabbing a coffee with Jon, I remember crafting and making art and going to the movies and taking a drive in my car. I remember liking myself and where I was in life. I was just so different, both in and out.

For the last 8 months my life has been the same. I get up early and take care of Noah and go to bed and do it again. Diaper, bottle, breakfast, diaper, nap,botttle, diaper, lunch,nap, diaper, bottle,diaper, dinner, diaper, bottle, bed. Throw in a baby that is hard to take places much of the time, add some lonliness and a good helping of anxiety. That's my life.

So! Today I decided something! Today is the day that MAMA GETS HER GROOVE BACK!!!!!!!!

Yep! Today I realized it's time to get ME back. I'm better for it, Noah's better for it. What sparked this decision was a feeling I got. It was a feeling that I hadn't felt in a number of years. It was the feeling of freedom, riding around in a convertable. Tonight Jon and I took a car ride while my Mom watched Noah. He was driving my stepfather's car. It gorgeous and fun and we just drove. I waved my hand in the wind and remembered how much fun I used to have in my beloved Snowball. That's what I named her, she was my white stallion. Snowball was a little Volkswagon Cabrio, given to me by my Father as an early college graduation gift. I thought she'd be with me forever, but it wasn't the case. I will tell you though, the years of memmories I had with her were amazing! The epitomy of my freedom and youth.

So with the wind in my hair this evening, I decided something needs to be done. I'm just too young to give up. I have had little luck with child care, so I will try new avenues and find a great person to watch Noah once in a while. Then I will use that time well, to write a book or take a class or clean and fix everything I have wanted to in our new house, but never had the time for. I will make a corner in our basement for me and start crafting and doing art again. I will finally use my spa gift certificates and get a massage or paint my nails. I will say "F-You" to the babysitting room where I used to workout and since they won't watch Noah andI will fix my bike, hook up the baby trailer and take bike rides for exercise. I will eat better and put effort towards losing my baby weight and then some. I will care enough to dye my grays and actually get a haircut. I will say "You're ok" when I look in the mirror in the morning instead of "Oh God, you are so ugly". I will read and go to bed at a decent hour. I will not resist them raising the dose of my medication if the doctors think it is best for my anxiety. I will be open to finding God and I will clean the Guniea Pigs cage a bit more often. I will call my brother once in a while and I will go to Target less. I will go outside more and learn to relax. I will walk and I will breath. I will return e-mails more promptly and I will spend more times browsing Borders. I will make sure Jon and I talk, like a couple at least 3 times a week and I will find some way that we can have date night two times a month or more. I will, I will. I will be me again, even better.

Dear Noah, I love you. Mama's getting her groove back!

I've decided to get my groove back!

Before, when I used to have a groove.

My white stallion, "Snowball."

Snowball 2
Originally uploaded by How Bourgeois.


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Jonathan said...

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This is an interesting post. Having a kid is definitely tougher on the mom from the standpoint of personal independence, no question.

Kendra Lynn said...

Wow, Lauren! What a great post! I totally agree that having a baby really takes a toll on a mommy's personality.
I remember feeling that way after Kelsy...just so tired and dowdy and stressed.
I think I'm making a comeback as well...its kind of nice to go out with Merry and Kelsey and realize that OCCASIONALY guys still check me out! (even when I'm toting my kids!)
But most importantly, I am feeling happier and sexier and more like the me I used to be.
I'm glad you are feeling that way as well.
I love you lots.

Laura said...

Good for you Lauren! Sometimes we all need a wake-up call. I'm two years+ into "mommyhood" and I still haven't found myself yet. I try to do something just for me every now & again, but it's hard. Weight loss is a goal for me too. I wish you much success and happiness on your quest to get your groove back. By the way, I don't think that us moms will ever be our "old selves" every again...parenthood leaves a permanent mark. ;)

Judy said...

I love your post and was rooting you on, right up until you said something about going to Target LESS. LESS???? Really? You can do that?

I'm there AT LEAST once a week, if not more. The cashiers know the boys by name and have even taken Travis to help with the sales stickers once.

I will roar, too, but it will be while I am at Target!

You wrote a beautiful piece, seriously...thank you so much for sharing!

Lauren said...

Oh my gosh girls, thank you SO much for your comments. You really put a smile on my face. :) Love ya!!!