I recently wrote an article for a magazine about how much my fashion-life has changed since becoming a mum. And it’s got me thinking. About motherhood and about life in general; about how much things change over time and how these things sometimes go unnoticed until something triggers a memory that suddenly transports us back to a time and place very different to the one we are in now; and how these changes are sometimes so sudden, and so enforced that they cause us to catch our breath.
In my life I have had many changes; of address (I have moved so often I could officially be called a Nomad), of career, of boyfriend (this includes a failed marriage), of hair colour, but throughout it all I have felt like me. I have sailed through these sometimes difficult changes with relative ease, knowing that each difficult situation is yet another lesson in life, and that eventually I will come through the other side. I have had varying degrees of depression, ranging from ‘none’ to ‘break-down’; I have had varying degrees of self-confidence, ranging from ‘none’ to ‘actually I’m not that bad’ (this scale is often travelled top to bottom most days); music tastes, fashion tastes and general interests have grown, evolved, changed and changed back again, but I have always been me.
Motherhood has changed this. Motherhood has changed me. It has changed me and sometimes I feel like it happened behind my back. I feel like I changed without consenting to it.
But of course I did consent to it; I consented by becoming a mum.
As I was mourning the loss of clothes that I can no longer get into (all of them, by the way, apart from maternity clothes and a couple of very voluminous tops), I was actually mourning the loss of much more. Not just the loss of my pre-pregnancy figure, which was actually really rather lovely and I wish I had appreciated it more at the time, and not even the loss of a social life which would necessitate another large wardrobe full of pretty clothes, but the loss of my mind.
This is not another post about the state of my mental health (not specifically anyway). I mean the loss of the way that I used to think. My actual thoughts, my trains of thought, my priorities, my standards, my responses to situations; and equally the situations I am now in which require a response, my lifestyle as a whole; they have all changed. They now all centre around one thing: The Baby.
This is not something that I consciously did. In some ways I never even noticed my thoughts changing from ‘Me’ to ‘Us’, or ‘Her’, never realised I was no longer an ‘I’ but a ‘We’, never acknowledged that life had irrevocably changed forever. It happened so naturally because I never questioned my wanting to be a mum. Yet in many ways, it has all happened so quickly, so forcibly, and so dramatically that I have noticed it all.
My old clothes are now of no use. They are not practical for my life as a mum. They no longer fit my body as a mum. Just as my old thoughts and priorities are no longer practical and do not fit my life as a mum. Becoming a mum changes everything. Everything. There is nothing I can do, nor do I want to, to change it. But sometimes I need to catch my breath.