In the Celtic calendar Halloween is the New Year festival of Samhain. It marks the time of death and rebirth, of letting go of that which no longer serves us and celebrating our new intentions. With this in mind I have been appraising my life and where I'm at in the grand scheme of things. I have also found myself drawn to Kate On This Ice's 'Getting Your Groove Back' blog hop. I have read some lovely, inspiring stories of women rediscovering themselves and their love of life outside the remit of mother. One tale I particularly enjoyed was by Mummy Plum in which she described a wonderfully self indulgent day out in West London involving an eclectic mix of antiques, books, clothes and acupuncture.
So this has got the mental cogs turning. Who am I now? What are my priorities? What's happened to the ME in the last two years? I have to admit to feeling particularly out of balance. Additionally I've spent so much time on my website and blog recently that its threatening to consume me. That's not healthy. So I need to take a step back and reconsider what's truly important.
So on my quest for equilibrium I wanted to share a couple of **memories with you BLA (Before Little A). **I had originally included photos of myself but decided to omit to preserve my anonymity.
1. Circa 2007 I went on holiday to Italy with Younger Dad. I was happy and carefree. I remember spending an afternoon in a bar with Younger Boyfriend, as he was known then, getting drunk on Chianti and playing a game of truth and dare. I can't remember the last time I was that squiffy. Oh yes I can, it was on my wedding day. Since Little A came along I've hardly touched any alcohol which is no bad thing as we are still breastfeeding or enjoyed a decent night out.
2. I don't think I have ever looked more elegant, more glamorous, more bling than I did on my wedding day. But when I reflect upon this momentous occasion I feel a little melancholic. You see Younger Dad and I never really had the chance to enjoy life as a married couple and I find myself lamenting this fact. Because I was already 38 we cracked on with mission baby on our honeymoon finding ourselves surprisingly pregnant one month later. Pregnancy and acute antenatal depression over shadowed our nuptials and within the blink of an eye we had Little A. Suddenly from newlyweds to parents. A couple no longer.
3. I recall Christmas 2009. I'm eight months pregnant and blissfully ignorant of what lies ahead. When Little A arrived I threw myself into my new role of utterly devoted mummy. I can confidently say that I am a wonderful mum to Little A. But where I succeeded with my beautiful little girl I failed in taking care of myself, my needs fell by the wayside, and I lost myself in the process. My health suffered in every way. A split took place between my old life and new life as a mother and I have often found it a challenge reconciling both these aspects of my identity.
So its time to start reclaiming me and pay a little more attention to my needs. I hereby declare myself a grooving mum. In the spirit of the Celtic New Year and Kate On Thin Ice's call to arms here is a list of self indulgent things I could do to help renew my mojo and replenish my spirit. I only intend to take this one step at a time and will promise to report back with any successes I may have.
Older Mum's Grooving List .....
1. Rest, relax and indulge: Hot bubble baths, hot chocolates, nights in front of the TV instead of geeking out on my PC and blog, reading, meditation, facials and holistic treatments.
2. Get up and go: Swimming, cycling (I spent two years cycling around London back and forth to work and college), yoga, tai chi and lots of time spent walking outdoors in the fresh air. I am going to purchase a Zumba DVD; I read on a birth trauma charity website that it can assist healing the connection to ones body after physical shock.
3. Out with the old, in with the new: Not only do I need a haircut but my whole wardrobe needs an overhaul. I haven't bought any new clothes in over two years. Yes, I know. I am still wearing my now very misshapen maternity and nursing tops. You can only imagine the state of their crusty armpits. Yukkity yuk. Needless to say I am feeling very dowdy and in desperate need of an apparel adjustment.
4. You are what you eat: My current diet sucks. I used to be such a healthy bod pre baby. I'm eating too much of the wrong foods which I also happen to be sensitive to like wheat and dairy. I can see some kind of detox on the horizon. And I need to drink a lot more water.
5. Nurture relationships: Whether on the phone or face to face it would be great to see more of my friends and spend more quality time with Younger Dad. I think it would be a good idea to set myself a challenge of going out one night after putting Little A down to sleep.
6. Empire building: I am slowly returning to work as a counsellor but the process is taking longer than I thought. I haven't felt particularly ready owing to the birth trauma symptoms I have experienced over the last year or so. I am currently undergoing EMDR therapy specifically for trauma which is proving very effective and I'm starting to feel like the older, calmer me again. Once therapy has finished I intuitively know that I will be in a better place to start rebuilding my practise.
And now that I have made my intentions publically known to the task of walking the walk. I think I will start with a long hot soak in the bath .....