One year ago, I had a beautiful, healthy and adorable baby boy. It also marked the beginning of one of the most challenging times I’ve ever gone through.
Let me explain.
Like many women, I went into the whole pregnancy thing thinking that having a baby was going to change my life for the better and parts of my body for the worse. Immediately after my son was born, I distinctly remember being handed a very small and very slimy bundle and thinking “Oh boy, what have I done” followed quickly by “Um.. What do I do now?”. We spent less than 24 hours in the hospital and were home before we knew it- blissfully taken care of by both of our mothers. But, like regular human beings, they had to go home eventually and I remember spending the day they did between sobs and hormonally induced fits of illogic you wouldn’t even believe.
It took me a full 3-4 months to actually get myself mentally to a place where I felt somewhat like a human being again. I had a baby who luckily took to sleeping pretty early and well and I started to spend his naps reading books I’d been lent by friends, including The Making of a Royal Romance by Katie Nichol. I’d always been interested in Kate, but reading this book, I was intrigued by a passage which talked about how the couple had broken up because she wasn’t sure she could handle the changes which would happen to her life -and what she’d be giving up- if she were to marry him. When I was reading it, I thought that was also eerily similar to what I was feeling as a new mother: I loved the little baby which was in my life, but I was literally leaving my old life behind. If she could give things up for the man she loved and still be as obviously happy as she is with him, I could also give up parts of my old life to be the best mother I could be. It’s what inspired “What Would Kate Do”.
Over the last 6 months since WWKD has existed and my baby has grown into a curious, intelligent and happy toddler, I’ve asked myself “What Would Kate Do” more times than I probably care to admit. On days where I felt like yelling at my husband for leaving me alone with a baby I thought about how Kate is always so calm and composed. Times when I wanted to drop motherhood and go back to my (promising) career, I thought how Kate had turned her Royal Role not traditionally a career into one. When I wanted to scream and run away, I remembered how Kate had put on a smile during the Asian tour when topless pictures of her had surfaced.
It has been a challenging year, but also an incredibly rewarding one. I have raised a baby into a toddling toddler. I’ve met someone I know will be amongst my best friends for life. I made a new group of friends online through WWKD and GP that make me smile on a daily basis. My husband and I have spent more time together. I met new friends “offline” who can appreciate and share my stories of baby disasters. I’ve learned that I can’t control everything no matter how much I want to. I’ve learned more about HTML coding than I ever thought I would.
But the most important thing I learned is that while the old, pre-baby me is gone having a new me is an exciting prospect. I wish I had been told shortly after having the baby that while I needed to celebrate his arrival, I also needed to mourn the old me’s departure. It took me just about 11 months to realize, accept and come to terms with the fact that I’m someone’s mother – but still a vibrant, intelligent, dynamic, interesting and loving person who needs to maintain my identity outside of my role. For me, this realization and acceptance came thanks to WWKD and in no small part that means you, our readers, who encouraged us, loved us and were so welcoming to us.
I have no idea what the next year will hold (other than microwaved meals, rushed mornings, time at the office wishing I was at home and an exciting royal baby arrival) but I know that the new, post-baby me is ready and excited to see.