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Who Even Am I? The Temporary Baby Bubble

The baby bubble — it is Mother Nature’s way. It’s primal. It’s how babies survive.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s common to feel like things that were previously vital to you and your way of living have suddenly faded away into the background, now that your bub has arrived. Often, a shift in priorities occurs and things that were deemed important suddenly don’t seem to be at the top of your to-do list anymore.

And among all these shifting emotions and priorities, your sense of “you” has undergone a significant change — suddenly, you’re a different person. I’ll never forget how completely un-me I felt after my first baby. I was in shock. I felt unrecognisable. My body, my brain, my confidence all seemed horribly unfamiliar.

But, trust me, that’s not a bad thing, and it’s completely natural.

You will get “you” back after your baby arrives

Let’s put something out there, as in really take it in and believe it: a happy mummy equals a happy baby.

I know it’s easy for me to say but looking after yourself is rule number one, and probably one of the most important there is in parenthood. If you’re paying attention to your own needs, you’ll be happier in yourself and you’ll have more patience—which will come in handy when you’re changing your fifth nappy for the morning.

If I feel positive, I’m able to take delight in my baby, just as any parent should. You’ll cherish all those new moments of parenthood that make it worth it when you tend to yourself.

Finding your feet after introducing a new addition to the family doesn’t mean you need to dramatically change your approach to everyday living. It just means giving yourself the time and patience to return back to all other aspects of your existence that you enjoyed pre-pregnancy. However, remember that the baby bubble isn’t a negative space of isolation; it simply means you have been focusing on different priorities while you’ve entered this new stage of your life. And that’s okay, but gradually you will remember all the other things that form who you are as a person. That baby bubble will slowly merge into your life bubble and normal service will resume.

Three key steps to think about

1. Reconnect with your friends

And not just other new mums and parents. I strongly recommend catching up with pre-baby buddies and see how their lives have continued while you’ve been in the bubble. They’re probably going to be excited to hear all about your new addition, but please remember to ask them about their lives too.

This will help you persevere when you’re feeling tired and emotional. After seeing pre-baby friends l find I’m able to reflect more peacefully on the world at large, despite how I’m feeling in those small hours of the morning.

Ultimately, perspective is a wonderful thing that helps you deal with those inevitable trying moments in parenthood.

2. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect miracles

Remind yourself that you’re doing your very best. I know it’s easy to say but you’re doing a great job. You are new at this and like your baby, you are learning new skills every day. Even though I did all the research to work out what the most functional stroller was and what car seat was the safest I continued to doubt myself. No point. No need. With all that worry, thought and agonising I put into my choices, I realised I could relax in the knowledge that I made the best decision for me and bub at that time. So don’t use that valuable energy for worry, just enjoy your little bundle. Don’t keep stressing over choices already made. Don’t think, “I wish I’d bought this” or “I wish I had done that differently.”

And beyond that, don’t put yourself under immense pressure to get back to your pre-baby body. It’s important to let nature run its course and for your physical and mental health to restore itself, before you head into strenuous workouts.

Sure, the dusting needs to be done, washing folded or ironed, dishes cleaned and vacuuming done. That’s fine. One day it will all get done. But for now, it’s okay to let a thing or two slip. It’s also okay to accept help from your wonderful friends who offer. Take it while it’s going, and do NOT feel guilty Trust me, people love to be useful.   

Remember that your body has just been under a whole lot of stress, and your mind is getting its own workout, so be kind and patient to yourself from the get-go.

3. Self-care and downtime

Give yourself some “me time”, even if it’s just 15 minutes every other day.  Do at least one thing you enjoyed doing before the newest addition to your family arrived. This should be something that’s solely for you, and you alone. From reading a book, lounging in the bath, meditating, going for a run, sipping on a cappuccino or heading out for a shop—feeling good is the main aim.

Caring for yourself means going back to basics. Sleep at every opportunity, eat regularly and get dressed every day, despite how you’re feeling. These are simple, little things that many of us wouldn’t otherwise spare a thought on, but they’re also vital steps for getting you back onto the road of finding yourself after entering the baby bubble.

Only you will know when the time is to head back out into the wider world, so don’t stress about it. Trust that everything, in this very moment, is exactly how it should be.