From hero to zero – and back again

When you have a baby, you’re plunged into a world you know nothing about.

No amount of reading or trawling the internet or phoning other mums for advice will help. No matter how many supportive friends or family members come to visit, if you have a question at 1 o’clock in the morning, chances are you’ll have to work out the answer for yourself. Ultimately, it’s your call. Terrifying.

The thing is, I wasn’t used to feeling helpless.

I was used to being the confident one in the room. At work, I was bloody good at my job. I worked hard and I knew what I was doing. Considering I was at work more than I was anywhere else, my “work identity” was me.

And then I had a baby.

I felt like I’d gone from hero to zero. I was a “nobody”. Just another mum, pushing a buggy, worrying about breastfeeding and sleep. How dull.

Even though I loved my baby so much it gave me a pain in my stomach, I missed the old “me”. I missed the confident person who put nice clothes on in the morning. And I felt like I was being left behind.

It didn’t help that I was the first amongst my group of friends to have a baby. While I was dealing with dirty nappies they were off being promoted and getting new, exciting jobs.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like being a mum. I loved it. I dreaded the thought of going back to work. I wanted to live in my baby bubble forever. But then there were those constant nagging reminders of who I used to be. The old business card in my wallet. The conversations that started “And what do you do?”. I’d be right there again, in a cloud of doubt, feeling guilty for not being at work, worrying that I’d be left behind.

Idiot.

It’s now thirteen months since I went on maternity leave, fourteen if you count the annual leave at the beginning. And despite planning to take a full year off, it didn’t happen.

I made it to January before I cracked. The worry got me, that need to be “hero” again took over. I started doing the odd radio shift here and there, “to keep my hand in”. Then I started writing the odd article on a freelance basis. Then I set up a blog. Then I did more radio work, more articles and, before I knew it, I’d handed in my notice and decided not to return to the old job. I was officially a freelance journalist.

And now that I’m working again, I look back and kick myself for wasting the last precious months of my maternity leave worrying. It all turned out OK in the end. Balance has been restored. Why couldn’t I just have relaxed and let it play out without trying to chase the end of the story before it was even written?

I’ve come a long way in the last year. I’ve had a baby, furthered my career and will be getting married in just over a month.

Turns out I was never zero. I was a hero all along – I just didn’t know it.

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11 Comments

Filed under Baby stuff, Family, Work

11 responses to “From hero to zero – and back again

  1. Awwwe. You are bloody awesome. So glad to now be your friend x

  2. mummymummymum

    I’m so glad it has all worked out for you! 🙂

    • Thank you – me too! Although I think I’m the type of person who’ll never feel it’s completely “worked out” and will always be striving for the next thing. I’m cursed with the inability to just “be”.

  3. Glad it’s not just me!! Perfectly put, glad the balance has been restored. Still working on it here but I have high hopes…: -)

    • Balance – that elusive thing. I think I’ve sort of cracked it, although the tiniest thing can tip the scales the wrong way! If I could do one thing differently in the last year I would spend less time worrying about what “might be” and just get on with it. Worrying is such a waste of time – and these early months slip by too quickly!

  4. Make peace with it and don’t waste even more time beating yourself up. Idiot 😛

  5. Even though you are across the pond you always make me feel like you are the “mum” next door and you make me feel less alone is this crazy new role as mommy! Thank you!

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