I haven’t updated the blog for a while, because I’ve returned to work and in general found it hard to find the time to write anything of any value, until now.
It’s been three months since I returned to work, the first few weeks were hell, I was struggling somewhat but couldn’t quite pinpoint the reason. Well, in fact, it wasn’t just work I was struggling with – it was most things.
See since having a baby my mind doesn’t seem to be the same as it used to, I knew baby brain was a word but I always treated it as an excuse for people being thick. But now, I eat my words and I myself seem to be suffering from it. My memory is almost gone completely – I seem to struggle to juggle all the things I need to do and when – especially when my husbands memory resembles that of a goldfish so I often have to remember his stuff for him too.
It’s taken those few months of juggling work and motherhood to make me realise I am not as happy as I used to be…. I am not as CONFIDENT.
It all started a few months ago when I rejoined some gym classes doing personal training again. Before having a baby I was pretty fit! I didn’t realise it at the time – but my stomach was flat and I had definition, my legs slim and I was a comfortable size 8-10, under 10 stone. I lifted heavy weights and ran, went spinning and did military style bootcamps 5-6 times a week. It was my way of burning off anxiety and tension from a high pressure career. Imagine the feeling walking back into that same gym a good stone heavier in weight than my peak days, with skin flabbier and my bits Wobblier and lift a weight 3 times lighter than I had been able to before. Even trying to lift my own bodyweight was a strain and I found myself repeating over and over “I can’t do it” almost to the point I nearly cried with frustration.
That’s when my personal trainer offered my a book about re-wiring a brain due to depression. It got me thinking – what if I have PND?
I just spent (and still do spend) weeks comparing myself to what I used to be and what I used to be able to do, beating myself up that I can’t do it anymore and feeling embarsssed at being weak now.
Then theres my uber slim and fit friends, all of whom haven’t had children. Waltzing around in their designer clothes and size 8 bodies. Completely unaware of the strain of motherhood both financially and physically. Not to even mention mentally. Then you hear them mutter the words “I don’t want to look frumpy” or “I didn’t buy that because it made me look fat” and you think to yourself – what must they think of me, all flabby and frumpy over here in my size 12 jeans and boobs the size of 2 small planets attached to my chest, sagging to my waist now and not sitting pert like they once had. It makes you feel like SHIT. Utter shit.
The weight gain, the negativity – I needed to start a diet, so I did – but it’s so hard. No-one could explain how hard it is to juggle 48 hours a week working, a baby, a husband, keeping the house clean and respectable and then finding time to workout and eat well. I’ve baked some diet foods and tried to prepare meals from scratch but it’s still too easy to reach for that takeout menu or packet of crisps when you’re up against it.
Then the feeling of self loathing gets worse, your child is 15 months old and you’re still fat, you have no time to socialise and barely time to shave your legs. If you take that time to do those things then you end up feeling wracked with guilt that you should have prioritised playing with toot toot racers rather than applying that face mask (that you used to do weekly before the baby came).
As a result of the above lack of time, my confidence has taken a massive nosedive. At work I’d have been the one trotting around in power dresses from Karen Millen and heels, now I try and hide the flab in baggy shirts and struggle to walk in the heels as I’m out of practice. My skin keeps flaring up with spots as I don’t have time to cleanse properly, my hair a mess as I never get it coloured anymore and my brain is in as equal a bad state as my lady parts were after the forceps delivery – battered and broken!
My decision making and ability to direct my team at work was suffering, doubting my abilities and questioning my worth. Feeling paranoid no-one likes me anymore. I’m that useless boss who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
I’ve tried so desperately these past few weeks to not let it win. I’ve continued with the diet, I’ve pushed through af the gym and recognised that with effort I may get back to my old strengths. I’ve started wearing work clothes with more of a stride in my step and my head held high, I’ve begun to make more clear decisions and be more direct at work and give my team the reason to believe in me again.
However, things are not perfect. I’m still struggling, but I need to find ways to control the struggles. I need to recognise my body made and birthed a tiny version of my husband and for that reason it will never be the same again. The very tiny human brings so much love and joy to our lives that he was worth every lost brain cell and every lost piece of my confidence.