When I imagined what my life might look like with a baby in tow, my fantasised rose tinted glasses version was definitely far far from reality. Like galaxies and universes away.

So let me tell you all about my fantasised family life pre-baby…

I day dreamed about wearing smart casual clothing every day with all of my outfits paired nicely together.

You know the one’s like in magazines…joules striped t-shirt paired with some khaki linen trousers, some white pumps and a floral anorak to match your changing

Anorak…maybe showing my age a little there!

I was going to be THE supermum.

Everything would be organised within an inch of its life as I was always very organised pre-baby so why would that change? (pah!) and straight back in my size 12’s because I was hoping to breastfeed after all.

“The weight will drop off you” I was repeatedly told. I would be pushing my lovely pram with my sleeping baby in it, glowing with happiness and a costa coffee in hand.

"I was going to be THE supermum"


Well. A bloody far-reached fantasy it certainly was. I literally laughed out loud while writing this.

Now I’ll let you in on my very honest reality of becoming a mum for the first time…

It all started with a nap that went wrong and was followed by a large gush of water… more like I had pissed my pants than any romanticised movie scene version and well.

And it just wouldn’t stop.

When you see all those movies with waters breaking it’s all so exciting and the
woman is panting and everyone is rushing to help etc, etc, you get the picture.

What no one tells you is that it’s not just one gush…

it’s one gush then it just keeps on going.

And going.

So there’s me standing water dripping from my nether regions, with a husband who then comes in, looks at me and immediately says “oh shit” when he sees me and announces he needs to go and fit the car seat.

But not before throwing some bath sheets on the floor… you know to preserve the carpet!

Fucking wonderful, just what I need to hear when I’ve been asking for weeks if you know how to fit it, which I was assured: “of course, there’s not much to it babe I’ll sort that in a few minutes”.

Well, now seems like the opportune sodding time HUN! Oh and by the way… I’m fine thanks for asking.

Totally over it as you can tell…

Anyway a stint in hospital overnight with high blood pressure, and the following evening I gave birth to my perfect baby boy.

I had an amazing midwife Denise who was just wonderful, and explained to my husband what was happening all the way through and broke all of the rules to make sure I was informed and comfortable (as can be expected anyway).

I at this point did not give a shit as long as I had gas and air and this damn baby was evacuating my body.

In fact I don’t know if I liked her that much after being stabbed in the leg with injections during contractions on a few occasions!

My first post-birth thought was “thank bloody god that’s over”… quickly followed by “I am a fucking bad ass!” I had just literally birthed a watermelon-sized human being out of a rather
small exit.

I felt so proud of myself and my body for what I had managed to achieve.


I was now responsible for a new life in this big bad world. My body grew and birthed another human being.

This was also very quickly followed by… “bloody hell you really don’t get a break do you” after being thrust into the toilet and shower after several stitches and minutes after giving birth, blood dripping as I went.

Why they were so shocked that I nearly fainted is still beyond me.

There really was no dignity in postpartum, something I would have been so embarrassed about before.

It certainly broke down any remaining boundaries in my marriage that’s for sure.

When I first woke up after a couple hours of sleep, I had literally forgotten that I had given birth to a baby just hours before believe it or not.

Nearly shat my postpartum pants when there was a tiny human lying in a cot next to me.

And this was just the start of my journey into motherhood… What on earth had I got myself into?

This was nothing like the movies and magazines would have you believe.

That one moment changed my life forever, in more ways than I could ever have imagined.

It’s fair to say that my reality of being a new mum was not nice joules anoraks with matching changing bags as I had previously imagined. It was in fact pjs most days, massive knickers (the bigger the better), greasy hair and BO.

If I managed to wash I was winning, and dry shampoo was now to be (and still is) my new BFF.

It took me until Edison was 5 weeks old to
make it out of the house at all, and nothing fit me other than maternity clothes.

It is only now over a year on, that I am occasionally spotted in jeans and by jeans I mean jeggings (it’s all about the high-waisted stretch girls) that my body has started to return to it’s new normal.

Breastfeeding did not drop the weight off me at all, I was starving 100% of the time and also developed the worst sweet tooth known to man, so I in fact gained 2 stone.

I literally lived in leggings and hoodies with my hair scraped up and no makeup on, and I still do now.

I really struggled with this harsh reality of motherhood and my new identity as a mum.

But also as a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend… none of it felt the same or looked the same to me any more, but most of all I did not feel or look the same anymore.

It was when I was asked what I enjoyed doing that it really hit me hard. Someone had actually asked about me.

"As an individual person, I just did not know where I fit in anymore"

That was when I realised that I literally did not know who I was any more. All of the things that I had previously enjoyed just didn’t get my juices flowing any more, or I was too exhausted to do now.

It was like having to get to know myself for the first time.

At 31 years old, I did not know who the hell I was as an individual… and that made me feel so sad, embarrassed and ashamed.

My whole world had literally changed overnight.

My routines were different (none existent), my friends had changed, my job didn’t seem as important as it had and what was important before just wasn’t important now.

My entire days and whole being was around this tiny little baby now, and THAT was the most important thing in the universe.

Nothing else mattered as long as he was ok.

That said, as Emily, an individual person, I just did not know where I fit in any more.

People who I regarded as close friends deserted me when I needed them most, as someone who was previously very organised I didn’t even know which day of the week I was on let alone what day and month.

I forgot people’s birthdays something I would never have done, my house was a bomb site, I didn’t know how I would ever be good at my job again, something I always took a lot of pride in.

My relationships with my family were different because I didn’t have the same time to see everyone, and my marriage was different.

Not necessarily for the worse, we just did not have the time or energy for much any more.

Even holding a conversation was hard work so it’s fair to say any extra curricular activities were off the cards… you know like bingeing a netflix series, or a cheeky game of cards.

"I really felt such a sense of failure and inadequacy."

My routines were different (none existent), my friends had changed, my job didn’t seem as important as it had and what was important before just wasn’t important now.

We were just surviving, and on top of that I felt very lost.

Some of this I think is down to this fantasy that I had built up in my head of what being a mum was really like, but also due to what is portrayed in the media.

Celebrities constantly pushing ‘snapping back’ to size 10’s and working out every day, it just did not help my mental health or my expectation of myself as a mother and a woman.

I really felt such a sense of failure and inadequacy.

All these other women seemingly looked amazing, had their shit together etc, and the one thing I was put on this planet to do I was not only failing at, but had lost all of my sense of self along the way.

It is only now that I can see that NOBODY HAS THEIR SHIT TOGETHER girls.

Despite what people might have you believe, try to remember social media is a snap shot not the whole picture.

Everyone is winging it, and I don’t think I will be the first or the last new mum to feel that they have lost them self beyond being a feeding, bum changing, winding, rocking machine and trying to be everything to everyone else.

I decided I had to try and use this as an opportunity for a completely fresh start, with the help of my counsellor.

Don’t be fooled into thinking I did it alone, because it would not be happening without her help.

We moved house when Edison was 3 weeks old (believe me it was not supposed to happen that way) and I decided to take a promotion in a new team while still on maternity leave.

I used this as an opportunity to let go of the things and people that did not serve me or my mental health any more, and I have to say it has been one of the most positive and empowering things that I have ever done, but equally one of the scariest and most overwhelming things ever.

It’s a shame it took for me to have a baby to realise the things and people that were toxic in my life, and be able to make that change.

It has not been without having to address a lot of difficult issues in my life, and a whole lot of anxiety for show but I have had to do this in order to move forwards and be the best version of myself for my little family unit.

I have, through gritted anxiety, started to try new things recommended by other people.

Yoga for example has been a total find for me because I do not have the energy to do a HIIT workout at 6am as I did pre-baby.

And that’s ok.

It’s just not what my mental or physical health needs right now, it doesn’t mean I won’t again.

Yoga leaves me feeling relaxed, and calm but at the same time having moved and stretched my body so I feel I have worked.

"The most important lesson that I learnt the very hard way is that self-care is a necessity not a luxury."

I have got back into reading again something which I previously enjoyed. I started with light and funny books (I highly recommend The Unmumsy Mum by Sarah Turner , and Tired and Tested by Sophie McCartney) to get back into it because I struggle to keep up with a story if I don’t have time to read regularly, and what I enjoy reading has changed.

I needed something I could relate to, and that could make me smile again.

The most important lesson that I learnt the very hard way is that self-care is a necessity not a luxury.

I know now I NEED to take that time out to rediscover myself, and I am a better wife, mum, daughter etc for doing so.

I had a hard time with the old mum guilt around this, but I now think of it as a necessity for me to be able to continue with my many roles, which it absolutely is.

One hour a day, that’s all you need. Even if that is to wash your face and change your pjs, that one hour will do you more good than you think.

So, if you are struggling with your identity right now and just don’t quite know where or how it all fits in… you are not alone. You might not be able to see it now, but with the right help you will in time see how those things can come together.

Or maybe like me discover changes that perhaps need to occur in your life for you to be the best version of yourself.

Do not underestimate how much of a huge life change having a baby really is. There is nothing anyone could have told me that could possibly have prepared me for it, but it is by far also the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Change is scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing unless you let it.

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