This weeks topic was identity and how we face in to who we are now, who we were and who we want to be.
It’s maternal mental health week this week and what better subject to discuss than the person at the centre of it all, you.
The subject of identity comes up a lot and not just because it’s an emotive one, it’s because it’s ever changing, time consuming and illusive. As tangible as a snack that fills your kid up, an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Many of us admitted that the concept of identity isn’t one that was necessarily absolute pre-kids but that we had at least had more time to work on it. That our physicalities and emotions weren’t depleted to mere stubs and we had scope to work on aspects of ourselves, where there was space.
Those pockets of time post parenthood are now filled with chores, sleep, no-sleep, logisitcs, negotiation. Just the prospect of re-finding who we were has to be scheduled in with others and even when that does happen - are we truly present and living in the moment or are we worrying about the situation back home or keeping one eye on the clock? What about the paradox between thinking motherhood was one thing and we’d prescribe to a certain type of mum. The Goddess myth can be an incredibly damaging narrative even before we’re pregnant - the concept of being all to everyone, embedded in our very core.
And what even is identity? What does the word mean? Were we ever really sure who we were before? For some it was found in travel and adventure, for others quiet time working on art or engaging in exercise. Many of us discussed how we were able to care for others better, devote more time to careers and relish in ambition - whatever it was, it was time for us doing what we liked, when we liked, how we liked. Some of us had found ways to do it again, ensuring that a weekly bike ride was met rain or shine or a swim without having to pack a waterproof nappy. We discussed how to make the things important to us part of us again and how we did that alongside our kids - the essential nature of them seeing what we loved doing, enriching the communities around us and growing as individuals, not just as parents.
It was clear that the love we found as parents only added to who we’ve become as people. Our sense of identity as a mother was met with love, compassion and resilience and we found confidences that we weren’t expecting, sometimes more equipped to put boundaries in place in order to protect those we loved, something some of us struggled with before, but it was a confidence in ourselves that was left behind. Tommy's writes, ‘You may even find an inner strength and confidence that you didn’t even know you had’. Does this resonate with you and the choices you make for your family?
Many of us felt that us as people, as individuals had been left behind entirely and we’d forgotten who we were. Our goals for the future were deeply personal; from saying no more often to embracing change, finding balance and returning to work, we explored how we could find that person we were, we still are and grow with them.