Column: When I suddenly realise that I’ve lost myself


As I drive to my first meeting with the team, I think: are these people going to like me? Am I going to fall out? Or not? Am I going to carry something or even say something? I’m full of stress. What if this goes wrong, what if people think I’m boring? Because I’m not, am I? At least I wasn’t. 

I used to be the loudest at the table, the one with the best jokes and the sarcastic remarks. Next to that I found gifts to take everyone into my spontaneity and I had many girlfriends. Receiving lots of invitations every day to go out or have a drink where a part of it as well. But this was before.

Then I became a mother

Since I became a mother a big change took place. In the way I started to live, the way I look at things and especially the biggest: my personal change. Becoming a mother didn’t give me an extra role, it made me change as a person and I was at peace with that. My life revolves around my daughter, she is the center of my existence. Outings are child related and my conversations are often about her as well. 

Although I find self-care very important, I realize that I have lost myself along the way. I have become richer as a mother, that’s for sure. But there is a part of my personality that I have lost.

That meeting with my new team, that uncertainty I had about myself made me realise that I am in peace with my new ‘I’. But it also made me realise that I sometimes miss my old ‘I’ and there is nothing wrong with that. And then I wonder;

Where along the way did I lose myself? 

My social life was full, nice and busy. An evening at home was a lost night. Every night I had something planned. An evening at the cinema and preferably the last movie, a sleepover with the girlfriends where the mattress was put in the living room and we saw Netflix all night long, the late nights at the cafe… When my daughter is in bed I can enjoy my couch, my glass of wine and today I’m already happy to make it to ten o’clock in the evening.

Bye social girl, bye?

Where is that spontaneous young woman who thought up trips without thinking any further? Who decided to take the camping tent to the sea in the evening? Who spontaneously went through life without any responsibility. The person I am today thinks every outing five times in her head. Is it even possible? Is it convenient to do this or that with a child?

Today I prefer my safe cocoon at home, where I have everything in my possession to keep control of possible scenarios.

And also, where is that social chick with all her girlfriends? The one who had a laundry list of social contacts? In my previous life, I was social. I saw my girlfriends almost every day. And now it’s like I only see or hear them through social media. If there was a party I was there, I was often the one who organized it. Gave me a place and an hour, I was there.

Now I organise birthday parties for my child. I make plans with friends who have children of their own. Because that makes me happy. Seeing my daughter play with others. And with a little bit of luck I can have a normal conversation with the other mom, if my daughter lets me?

Richer experiences

At this stage of my life I walk around like a headless chicken. I know all the themes songs of Baby TV and I often have a piece of crushed Samson cake hanging on my sock. And I have no idea how or when I got to this stage, but honestly I’m loving it!

When those flashbacks of the past flash through my mind I look back with a warm feeling and sometimes a bit homesick. I didn’t enjoy the moments on the terrace where I enjoyed a cocktail and a meal without having to share them with my daughter.

My life doesn’t look the way it used to. I’m not the same woman I was before I became a mother. That woman I’m still a little bit. That woman who’s hiding under the leggings, the agenda full of appointments for my child and organising a school day. 

So no, I’m not that social young woman I used to be. But since I became a mother, I’ve had richer experiences. I don’t put myself in the spotlight anymore, because in my eyes my daughter gets that place. And I’m probably going to have a hard time positioning myself in front of new people because I’m not a hundred percent sure who I am now. Unknown people don’t get to know me as the social Stephanie I once was. But maybe there’s nothing wrong with that?

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