Monday, 7 January 2019

Motherhood + Me - Georgina Howard

Well, I'm officially on maternity leave right now but over the next few months I have a collection of beautifully written blog post from some amazing guest posters. There will still be the usual Pearls of Wisdom but written by someone else perspective, posts on confidence and wisdom, plus my HER WISDOM series and I'm also introducing a mini guest poster series which I'm kicking off with today.

Motherhood + Me is all about the identity of women surrounding their experiences with becoming a mother, it touches on infertility, pregnancy, new motherhood and maternal mental health. 

Today I'm introducing the first part starting with a brave and beautiful blogger friend of mine Georgina Howard who is sharing with you her journey of trying to conceive, infertility and how they impact on her identity. Having issues with infertility myself this is a subject very close to my heart and I'm so honoured to have Georgina write her story here too.

Will I ever be a mum?

“I don’t know what I want to do with my life, all I know is that I want to be a mum.”  

I vividly remember saying this to my then-boyfriend and now-husband when I was at a tricky juncture career-wise a few years ago. I’d just come out of a job that wasn’t for me and I was struggling to know what was next.

Family is the most important thing to me. I love home. For me, home isn’t necessarily a physical place, it’s that feeling of true belonging I get when I’m with those I love, both friends and family. I can be totally myself and it’s times spent like this that really do make my heart sing.  For this reason, I’ve always felt excited about the chance to take this to a whole new level by growing my own little family.  The trouble is that this hasn’t happened.

We’ve been ‘trying’ for two and a half years now. It’s been a twisty, turny road so far with various appointments, tests, an operation and results to decipher and get our heads around. During this time, on the most part, I have actually been OK. People are always saying “you’re doing so well George” and I really was.  Of course, I had my moments but on the whole, I really was doing ok.

I’ve felt a shift lately and it’s hard to pinpoint. I think that much of this shift is tied up in my identity. A few years back, before we were married, I had a good, hard think about the kind of life I wanted.  I journaled, I doodled, I made vision boards. My mission for myself was to create a life and career that fitted around my family. I got myself the steady 9-5 so I could work on my side hustle which eventually I would either do part-time or full-time around my family. I am a planner through and through, always prepping and getting organised for what’s coming next. It gets tricky though when that thing that’s ‘coming next’ doesn’t actually happen.

By the time we were ‘trying’ some of my friends had babies and this made it really exciting at first. That could be us! It did feel exciting and in the early days it was quite a thrill waiting to see if this was our month. The months and years have ticked on by and now I look around at my friends, some of whom are actual grown-up mums with actual fully formed families! How did that even happen?  Their identities are so intrinsically tied up in ‘being mum.’  Where does that leave me? What’s my identity?

In the past year I’ve fully thrown myself into my side hustle. “I’m a bridal coach.” It’s quite a fun thing to tell people.  I explain what it is and how I’m working on it alongside my full-time job. Maybe that’s my identity?  Identity is important and it’s something we all strive to carve out for ourselves in one way or another. Of course, all of our identities are multi-faceted but when we expect our identity to be largely based around one thing (i.e. being a mother) it can get confusing and disorientating when that doesn’t happen. I think that’s where I am now.

I’m a self-confessed personal development junkie and I am very reflective and in-tune with myself. Strangely though, it’s like I’ve been in a fog over recent months. I’m working on getting my head around my identity being somewhat different to what I thought it would be at this point in my life. I’ve seen the error of my ways in some respects too. I’ve thrown myself hook, line and sinker into shaping my identity as a bridal coach that I’ve not given the energy or focus to other parts of myself that lately have felt like they have been dissolving away.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve struggled to grapple with my identity, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I think it’s something women struggle with a lot and I’ve no doubt that some mums who are reading this may be feeling that their whole identity is wrapped up in being mum and that, I would imagine, comes with its challenges too.

So how do I re-frame my identity? I now realise that it’s not about giving myself a new identity by fiercely throwing myself into my side hustle and blocking out everything else. It’s about remembering what’s already there. It’s about getting back to the crux of who I am. Who I was before I’d even met my husband.  The silly friend that makes everyone laugh (at me, not normally with me!), the writer, the drama queen, the girl that has big dreams. 

One way I tap into this part of me is through meditation and visualisation. I’ve found guided meditations in which you meet your ‘inner child’.  I find these meditations really emotional because it’s a chance to really connect with the purest version of me. The me that exists and thrives outside of this whole new world I’ve found myself in which, at times, feels like its revolving around that massive question, ‘will I ever be a mum?’ 

I have no choice right now but to live in the present. It’s all any of us have. When there is something you want so badly in life, it’s easy to spend your whole life living in the future. Will this be our month?  

It’s no wonder that my identity, at times, feels confused if I’m constantly living in the future. It’s a powerful thing when we connect back to who we really are and find ways to give that part of yourself energy to thrive again. Remembering what I enjoy doing and carving out time to do these things, to spend time with my inner child, helps so much.  My focus now is to follow my own advice, do what feels good and be as present as possible. It’s all any of us can do. 

Georgina is a qualified life and bridal coach who works with brides who need a helping hand to plan their big day and enjoy the experience along the way. She lives with her husband in Birmingham and you can find out more about Georgina by visiting her website and on Instagram.

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