Probably one of the best pieces of advice I have heard came to me yesterday. From a stranger. Talking to a room full of people. But it was exactly what I needed to hear, and I want to record it for posterity. I may need to be reminded of it at a later date.
I was at my first moms and babies session yesterday morning. (I highly recommend this for any new mom, by the way. It is a great way to get out on schedule once a week, and it's a great way to meet new people, specifically other new moms in your community. Get support when you need it, and establish more good friendships. Good times.) We were sharing all our tips - best places to shop, best online resources, etc. We started discussing "best piece of advice we had received". (As an aside, thanks again, va1kyrie, for the tip on trying to do just one big thing each day. That has really really helped me out.)
Anyway, one of the moms said the best piece of advice she'd been given was to remember that "I was here first". And this really hit me. I'd forgotten. It's so very evident when you stop to think about it. I was here before the baby; this was how I functioned before the baby; life does not have to stop because the baby is now here; I was here first.
After J was born, I think a part of me felt that I had lost my identity - that all I was now was J's mommy. It's a worthwhile thing to be, and I want to be the best mommy that I can possibly be. But I think I'd temporarily forgotten that I was anything else - a person, a wife - anything. I didn't function apart from J. Suddenly, everything was all about J, and never about me. Being alone in the house with J, I spent all of my time focussing on J to the exclusion of all other things. Really simple stuff like having a shower was more than I could handle. (How is J going to deal with my temporary absence from the room? I can't hear him in there, so will he be okay? I'll just sneak it in while he's napping and pray that he doesn't wake up. But what if he doesn't nap well today??)
I feel strangely liberated in the sudden realization that I am still T. I am, first and foremost, T. And I will always be, first and foremost, T. I just happen to also be J's mommy now.
I haven't lost myself at all. I have added to the complex and worthwhile person that I am. I was here first!
Very helpful. Now, if I can just get enough sleep .... I may have been here first, but that does not help the crying baby to let me go to sleep. Ah, well. This too shall pass.