Monday, 4 March 2019

Motherhood + Me - Emma Cottam

Today's post Emma Cottam talks about identity and being a new mum completing the Motherhood - Me mini series. She shares how pregnancy made her lose sight of her identity but her new status of a mum helps her to find a new one that felt more true to who she was.

Becoming a mum is tough and everything you once knew has completely changed overnight. Your priorities change, your lifestyle changes, your body changes. 

Since having my daughter Isabella last December I struggled with my new identity as a mum. I struggled with who I was, what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I wanted. It felt like overnight everything about me had changed and I felt like I lost myself and I no longer knew who I really was. If I am really honest I think I felt like I had lost a lot of my identity when the sickness during my pregnancy started as I was no longer able to do much for myself. 

Along with not really knowing who I was I also struggled with the changes to my body. To me my postpartum body looks nothing like my pre-pregnancy body and I definitely did not feel confident in my ‘new’ body. I use the term ‘new’ body loosely as it wasn’t a new body; it was just different to the one I had known for the 26 years before I had Isabella. All that said I did feel proud of what my body had achieved. It grew and housed Isabella for 9 months, through incredible sickness, stress and anxiety. It birthed a healthy daughter and nourished her for as long as it could. 

Through all these changes and insecurities, one thing I did find in my identity as a mum was a new passion, a new drive and a new purpose. A wanting to talk about my experiences, no matter how vulnerable and scary they may be to talk about. I found something inside me, a voice that wanted to share my opinion, share my experiences and help others. 

What I have learnt and one thing that gives me confidence in being a mum is that there are other mums out there who feel exactly the same as I do. From this I’ve learnt to have the confidence to speak about my reality of parenthood, the hard parts and the good parts. By speaking up I do feel like I’ve found confidence in my own voice and in my own opinions. 

This is something I never felt before becoming a parent and for me that shift is massive and I didn’t expect to feel like I had found my voice. I have never been a particularly confident person and would always shy away from sharing my opinion.  Perhaps this is where I have found my true confidence and identity since starting my journey into motherhood?

One thing I have realised is that I am NOT just a mum now that I have become a mum. I am still Emma, I still deserve to do things I want to do, to quality time with my husband and my friends and to take care of myself. 

Emma works as a writer, editor and designer and is the creator of a positive wellbeing zine for mums. She lives and her husband and her one year old daughter and you can find her at Isabella and Us and over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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