I used to blog mainly about dating and relationships and my love of baked goods. But recently I’ve been creating a different kind of content, mostly related to being a mom (and still sometimes with the baked goods).
When I decided to start blogging again with a new focus on young-mom topics, several people asked what I would “call myself” now.
See, while most bloggers use their names and faces for recognition, a mom blogger seems to need a shtick. All the big mommy bloggers use a catchy nickname. There’s Scary Mommy, Big Mama, Thrifty Nifty Mommy and Easy Green Mom, just to name a few. These ladies are all brilliant writers. People don’t know their real names.
I spent some time brainstorming mom-blogger name possibilities for myself. After a while (and, full disclosure, after I got frustrated because all my favorite name ideas were already taken) it started to irk me. I didn’t want to be a one-note mom character. I wanted to still be me… but that felt a bit selfish and wrong.
When we’re pregnant, new moms get a steady, subtle message. It’s never quite said outright, but instead with sighs and small defeatist snippets of how things will be “when the baby comes.”
When the baby comes there’ll be no time for cooking or watching movies, for going dancing, no hobbies or going to the farmer’s market. Or brushing your hair or showering. Enjoy it all now.
Because when that baby comes, if you’re a good mother, you’ll allow your baby to suck out your life-force, identity and personality and leave you as a mindless mom-puppet shell of the girl you used to be.
So after 9 months of this message it’s no wonder that for many of us, in the moments after our baby is born, we both rejoice in the world-changing heart-bursting love we feel for our baby, and at the same time secretly mourn the loss of ourselves. The baby… it has come. It is both a hello and a goodbye.
In the weeks that followed Beatrice’s birth, I had to learn to be okay putting myself second, or third or fourth. In some moments I felt used up, beaten up and unappreciated. I did lose free time, and lost sleep of course. Lost precious good hair days and lost my desire for late nights out.
But I decided to keep myself. That’s an option, you know. I thought I should tell you in case no one else has.
There was room for two of us in this world. Both Beatrice and me. Just as there was room for the two of us when I carried her inside me.
New moms, please take a moment and see the way your daughter or son looks at you. This little soul loves you madly, all of you. The lingering remnants of the silly girl you were at 16 and the woman you were at 21 who was so brave and a little bit wild. All of it. Your baby, more than anyone in the world, wants to know every little part of you. She thinks you are the most interesting and wonderful person who ever lived, and feels true joy when she sees you happy. If anyone wants to know you and to celebrate you, it is this little person.
Do not lose yourself for her sake. It’s a gift to her for you to stay whole. For her, work to hold onto yourself. Let her know you.
When your favorite song comes on, dance for yourself, not as her clown. Don’t apologize for your tears when you’re sad. Buy yourself flowers at the farmers market with her strapped to your chest.
Bea calls me mommy but I still call myself Brigitte. Please don’t forget your name.