I WISH I WAS A BIRD, SO I COULD FLY AWAY.
After becoming a mum, one of the hardest things to come to terms with, for me, was not having any time for myself anymore. I still have not come to terms with this. I still find this hard almost every single day, and it’s not like I haven’t had time to get used to it, as Scarlett is now 3 and a half and Josie is 7 months old. I love my girls so very, very dearly, but does wanting time for me, make me a selfish person and a terrible mother???
I struggle with postnatal depression and anxiety. This was particularly terrible for me after I had my first baby when I was too embarrassed to talk about it to anyone. I would often think to myself, “I wish I was a bird, so I could just fly away…to be free, without a care in the world…not forever, just for a little while…” People probably think I’m crazy, I didn’t want to complete suicide, but I think I just desperately needed time to myself.
I still remember the first time I ventured out by myself after having my first baby. At this stage, my Mum and Dad still lived close by and my Mum was actually the person who wanted me to get out of the house by myself for a while. As I backed the car out of the garage and down the driveway, I remember nearly doing a ‘happy dance’ in the car as I was excited to have time to myself for the first time in weeks. I had nowhere to go, so I went to Target and bought 2 pairs of large shorts. For some reason all my old clothes had shrunk!? Who knew that popping out to the shops by yourself could mean so much?
The little things that I used to take for granted, like going to the toilet and showering by myself; sometimes I creep off like a ninja just so I don’t have an audience when I do these things. If I happen to be lucky enough to make it in and get the door closed, it’s either little fingers poking under the door, or I hear a little voice say, “I can see your feet”. As I emerge, Scarlett is laying on the floor straining to peek under the door. I have to admit, if my husband is home I do get a shower by myself. I think he knows that I need that few minutes alone; but if he’s not at home, it’s like the toilet in our ensuite is the grandstand. “I’ll just sit here and watch you”, says Scarlett.
If I do take time to myself, I feel guilty; I feel like I am being selfish and not being a very good mother. I’m not sure if this is just a mother thing or an Erin thing? I have to try to stop this thought process. It’s a vicious circle of needing time for myself and guilt.
Erin is a regular contributor for The Postnatal Project's blog. If you would like to follow Erin's postnatal journey, follow @just_being_erin on Instagram.
Time for yourself is so important to recharge your batteries and "fill your bucket"; you can't pour from an empty bucket. How do you take time for yourself?