Saying goodbye to my pre-baby life
I recently read a study of 5,000 mums concluding that the older a woman was, the less likely they were to scold or hit their children. This resulted in less behavioural, social and emotional problems in their children later on in life. Finally – some evidence swinging the favour of being an older mum!
I gave birth to my first child at 36 and am due with my second at the age of 39. I’m classed as a ‘geriatric mother’ in medical terms, I’m the oldest in my mother’s group and I get questioned (a lot!) on why I didn’t want to start earlier.
Why did I wait?
So why did I leave having kids till later? Well it was a mix of climbing the career ladder, enjoying a social and well-travelled life and if I’m honest – I really didn’t want children when I was younger. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it was with some reluctance that I decided to try for a baby as I knew I would have to kiss goodbye my old life.
And boy did life change! As most new parents experience, the first year after having a baby is a shock to the system. I think many new mums like myself are too scared to admit that they struggle to adjust to parenthood. On the one hand, it was amazing to watch this tiny human grow and develop, but on the other hand it was one of the most testing times as I battled with the huge changes to my life – on barely no sleep or time to myself.
Desperate to gain a bit of the ‘old me’ back, I started a demanding job and quickly became recurrently ill and stressed trying to ‘do it all’. I think I spent a lot of that first year trying to establish my new identity before finally realising that my priorities had changed and so should my approach to life.
How did I finally adjust?
I think it took taking some time out (a visit to the UK) to reassess what makes me happy now. And it turns out I wanted mainly to be a mum to my daughter and a have a good family life. I even started wanting another baby – something that really surprised me!
And just like that, I stopped pining for my old life of late night bars, weekend trips away and sleep ins. I started a new family-friendly job which I love and the hours suit my ‘other job’ of a mother. I think the old me of a few years ago would have shuddered at the outcome, but I couldn’t be happier.
Don’t get me wrong – a good night out with friends or my husband is always good fun (maybe minus the horrendous hangovers!) and I sometimes look back wistfully at my old spontaneous life, but I have settled into a new stage of life. If you’re new to parenthood and wondering what the hell happened to ‘old you’ then don’t worry – you’ll figure it out.
Going back to that study I mentioned earlier: One of the researchers, Professor Dion Sommer said “We know that people become more mentally flexible with age and thrive better emotionally themselves.” I’d agree with this, I might have struggled settling to find a new identity for myself at first, but I’m glad I waited to do all the things I experienced in my 20’s and 30’s before starting a family.
I now feel ready to stop looking back and enjoy looking forward into this next stage of life.
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