New baby, new identity

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

For the past few weeks, I've been struck with relentless pangs of nostalgia. Looking through old photos and blog posts, it's hard to remember life as newbie parents and even harder to remember life without kids.

It's a pretty significant moment in motherhood for me - having a new baby to start all over with, plus seeing my first baby go off to elementary school, and my emotions have been taking me through some very high highs and very low lows. There are so many questions and doubts I have about the future and tons of wonder and regret about the past; all of which has been occupying my mind in the most aggressive way lately. I think the most compelling part of this whole journey of parenting has been the severity in which my transformation from an individual to a caretaker has impacted my self-image.

It hadn't dawned on me until after having Loden that I would, once again, be giving up any treasured independence I had regained since Avienne had started preschool two years ago; the time I had to focus on myself, my interests, my well-being; time I had completely taken for granted over the past couple of years. So, after the newborn daze and sleepy haziness of bringing a brand new person home had faded, I realized that any goals for myself  I thought I would have time to achieve with a newborn in tow, were laughably lofty and certainly off the least for a few years. And, that hasn't been easy to process.

Leading up to Loden's birth, I decided to close Petit Fauve knowing I would not have the freedom to travel on buying trips late in pregnancy and with a newborn. The business had reached a point of inflection, where I needed to ramp things up and grow significantly or take it on a completely new direction. In the end, closing made the most business sense because I simply could not fathom letting people down with slower, impersonal service and committing less time and interest to my products. I'm happy with the decision, but it definitely left me feeling a little lost at first; if I'm no longer Petit Fauve, what am I?

From what I've heard, this is a familiar feeling for many other parents, so it helps knowing that the distress of searching for a new identity after having a baby is not an entirely isolated experience. After a few happenstance occasions, and some massive bouts of contemplation, I feel like I'm making headway on figuring things out for myself. Someone very wise recently told me to just work on living in the moment, not staying focused on sorting out the future, and those enlightened words are now running on repeat in my mind. Such simple, sage advice that somehow makes life feel a little less messy right now.

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