Since her birth I have taken time to ponder over the fact that I am more than this little one’s mother.
It is something I long struggled with, as I battled demons in the shape of anxiety, depression and paranoia. My identity then was not good enough. I struggled to believe that anyone could like me, all that I was, and so I changed it. Slowly though, God brought me back to him. I met some wonderful people at my mum’s church who welcomed me in. And because I was living with my parents, who I knew loved me regardless, I began to let myself shine through once more.
It was only when I moved to Lancaster, though, that I really learned to love myself. I was living with beautiful girls, really and truly, the most beautiful girls you could meet. They were kind, honest, funny, hard-working, prayerful and so much more. I got stuck in at our local church, throwing myself into living a life of serving others in our community. I eagerly took notes during sermons, and my own bible study came to life.
This weekend I travelled to York for a friend’s hen party. What a night! Aside from my keycard not working at midnight, and having to change rooms, leaving all of my belongings locked in the original room, it was a fabulous do. There was food, cocktails, bubbles, laughter, dancing and even a hot chicken slice. We had brunch the following day, and again much laughter and chatter. It felt wonderful to get dressed up in something that didn’t have a main function of being comfortable and accessible for breast feeding. It felt wonderful to talk about things like the EU referendum and inequality with someone other than my husband. It felt wonderful to let my hair down and be responsible only for myself and no one else. It felt wonderful to be me!
Then, on Sunday, we enjoyed time as a family at a friend’s BBQ, before I went to the evening service at our church. I was reminded once more of God’s goodness to us, and how he made each one of us special and unique. Before my daughter was born, the 7pm service was the one my husband and I went to; the service where I sang in the worship team; and the service which most of our immediate network attend. Obviously things have changed a lot, as we can no longer both go to this service, and we have to make more of an effort to catch up with friends at other points in the week. One of the things I have missed most is worshipping in the worship team at this evening service. I love to sing in worship to God, and love being in fellowship with the others in the team. Last night I got to join in, and I felt like myself again. I felt reenergised.
So, whilst I feel awful that my darling little one refused the bottle whilst I was away, I feel normal. I feel like me. Today has been easier – it’s far too hot, and she is teething – because I have had some time doing things I enjoy. It is surely an important lesson of the first time mum: do something for you, even if it’s small. It will make all the difference to your sanity and temperament.
You are more than a mother. And that’s ok.