A friend of mine told me she was battling with Identity Loss through her postpartum journey and I honestly had never heard of this before (versus postpartum depression or anxiety which are more commonly heard of). It got me to thinking about how possible it was for that to happen: it's so easy to get loss in who you are when your whole world changes all of the sudden!
Not only after postpartum, but maybe after a breakup, after a job... so many life experiences can get you to the point where you loose yourself, loss of confidence, loss of direction... Everything below applies for any situation where you would experience this.
I did not experience this personally, but I really stopped to think exactly what things I did (during pregnancy and postpartum) for this NOT to happen.
1. Keep your friends. I understand through pregnancy you are extra busy, lazy, your interest may shift... but keeping friends (the good, that is) is so important. Some people are in their own world through pregnancy (I don't blame them) and then once the baby arrives it's even harder to leave that bubble! Which makes you less social, and can bring you a lonely feeling!
Having your friends around (in person or online) will remind you of who you are, and is a great way to maintain yourself, and have adult conversations. I know it may be hard, but even long phone calls, smoothies at home, lazy movie days... make plans with your good friends!!
My baby was born in the winter with the flu, I had a full time business to run and a newborn to take care of on my own, so for all of these reasons I did not want to see anyone for the first six weeks, however, I did tons of Facetime, texts, and truly felt like I was with them. I now make it a thing to meet at least two friends for social time twice a week (going with Sofia to a lounge, park, walk... anything!)
2. Make new friends: That share your new interest. Well, now you are a mom, be friends with moms! If you don't know where to find them maybe join a group, an activity/class or again, even an online community.
3. Know your hobbies and schedule them. Things that motivate and drive you as a person, they are part of who you are. For example the gym is part of me, I need it five times a week, so I have been going since week 4 pp (approved by midwifes). Did I want to go at 9pm having a newborn baby, interrupted sleep and full time momming alone and working? No! But I knew that going would help ME be me. Better my mood, and feeling like myself!
4. Have me time. I did a post about this "How to find time for YOU postpartum" it included things that I did to find time to be alone every day, to pamper myself at the same time to feel good, even if it was 30min. My fav tip was hiring SPA services from home (manicures, pedicures, massages, facials...) that made me feel pampered, relaxed, alone, without moving from home since I was postpartum, and, that made me be next to Sofia in case she needed me. I hired these services through PRIV (an app) you can use code BOSSBABE for a discount!
5. Arrange alone & quality time with your partner. Do things together that are not baby-focused, things you did before. As of today at 6m postpartum I still have NOT hired a nanny to do any of these and we still manage to do so much: walks, beach days, picnic at the park, early dinners, movie nights at home... it can all be with your baby especially when they are babies and can sleep in the stroller. Just have each others full attention. I know this is hard but sit down every Sunday night and figure out what day of the week and what activity you will do.
6. Keep your dreams. Yes you can: work, grow your business, start your business, travel... you can do it all while having a baby and even if you think your whole world is different, just search for good sources of inspiration like I hope this one is :)
7. Schedule social outings. It never gets easy to step out with a baby, but the more you do it the easier it will be! So be brave and schedule outings, start with walks alone, then lunch dates with friends, days at the park...
8. Don't revolve your life around the baby. Of course, the baby rules, but keep a balance: make sure she can sleep, eat and play well. And schedule things YOU need/want to do too (just know when to). Happy mom, happy baby. You can see when I do things with my 6 month old baby in her full schedule.
9. Pamper yourself. Again, use the app mentioned above and make it a weekly thing to get a treatment, your body went through so much it needs you more than ever. You need to feel taken care of to be in a better mood and take care of your baby the best way you can and with the best energy and attitude.
10. Eat healthy. The healthier and cleaner you eat the better you will feel. If you dont have time to cook (like me) get food delivered by a meal prep company like cateredfit that deliver meals that you love and are fresh and healthy, so you always have something to eat quickly (you can use my code PRBOSSBABE for a discount).
11. Try to cut off alcohol and caffeine. I know being a new mom, doing these two things may be hard (with less sleep and no alcohol during pregnancy) but try drinking/eating alternatives to caffeine, and without drinking, your mood will also be enhanced and there will be less risk of depression, plus, both things will help with postpartum body recovery. And, if your body needs sleep let it sleep, you don't need an simulator to keep you up, especially in the recent postpartum days where the baby sleeps so much!
12. Make your brain work. For me this was so important. I kept working full time postpartum and it honestly kept me sane, my brain was working as it did before (it wasn't 100% baby brain, I still had to think outside the baby bubble) and that kept my brain working as I did previously to birthing Sofia. I know you may not have your own business like me and you may have maternity leave. But going from working to not working, and going from no baby to baby can be a drastic change for your brain.... keep it excited!! If you have maternity leave, great! But maybe include some activities your brain will enjoy: take that time to enroll to an online class, do a workshop, read some books within your field of work, work on a project you've always been wanting to.... there's always growth to do!