Motherhood: now I am lost

There were delays on the Northern Line when I found them. I’d shoved my arm into the depths of my handbag; I was in up to my elbow, and rummaging around for my headphones. But I pulled out Jasmin’s Finding Nemo knickers instead. And at that moment, which was the same moment that the tube pulled in and I realised I’d need to push my way on because of the delays, I also felt like I was in pieces.

There are no more nappies. Not stuffed into drawers in the hall, in the bathroom, in the bedrooms, in the lounge, in the emergency bag in the car, in the nappy bags, in the nursery spare clothes bags.

I should be glad, I know, that we can pass on the 200 or so size fives I’d bought and never needed. And, I imagine, I will be once I appreciate how much easier life is without a nappy bag to pack and carry around. For now though, these signs that show me how much my children are growing up have knocked me a little off balance.

Milin, without us noticing, has stopped taking his beloved bunny to bed. He’s not been able to put himself to sleep without it since he was eight months old. Until this week. What will we do with those seven, faded, threadbare, bunnies? I always put one in the washing machine each morning. But this week, there hasn’t been any need.

I can’t, at the moment, escape the big and little markers such as these. They are the objects and forms and events and actions which are tangible proof of life with a two and four year old. Jasmin is doing an extra session at nursery each week, Milin tells me about the rallies he and his friends can manage at tennis, they can both dress themselves. We’ve accepted a school place for Milin, Jasmin will move into the ‘big children’ class in September. They are not babies.

But it is these two big milestones that have thrown me. Saying goodbye to nappies and to bunnies has made me realise – I might not be new to this thing that is motherhood anymore, but I will still be shaken by it, every day, as life changes and we grow.

I’m still able to be left feeling bereft when they barely say goodbye at the nursery door. They’re too busy, ready to go and have fun. As I watch them feed and dress themselves I want to delight in their independence – but instead I’m alone. I wish I would celebrate that they are growing and becoming braver. But each new feat brings a longing for what we’d come to know.

It’s around five years since I found out that I was pregnant with Milin. In those five years, life has revolved around my children – it always will, but our positions are shifting. Soon, I’ll add on an extra half day at work, they’ll add on hours at school and nursery. They’ll become more of their own people. Without me. But this is not just about their independence. Because really, every day of the last five years has involved a crumbling of the pieces that hold things together.

Motherhood has left me grappling at what’s left (of me). As much as I embrace that I am a mother, as much as I know that my identity will forever be intertwined with the existence of my children – I am lost.

With Jasmin’s Finding Nemo knickers in my hand, I stood on the tube platform this morning wondering, searching. I couldn’t find the stable ground. I am a mother who misses her babies but is overjoyed at her growing up children. I am a woman who no longer has the drive or career that defined the decade before her pregnancy. I’ve come to fear mortality, worry about the future, stress about stability, question myself endlessly. I’ve lost confidence in what I know, what I can do, and what I am.

Five years ago, life was lived in a naive state of optimism, of excitement for future achievements. I had ambition, dreams – I still do – but the successes are harder, the battles are not mine alone. They feel beyond me, too big for me and far outside my reach.

Motherhood did this. I was just getting to know who I was when everything changed. Five years on, it’s still changing, and I’m just about keeping my head above water, grabbing at the strands that resemble the things I know. They’re moving though. Now, they always will.

Milin and Jasmin

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11 Comments on Motherhood: now I am lost

  1. Emma
    May 10, 2016 at 9:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful post, Kiran. I completely connected with what you’d written. I was so emotional at Flora turning 1 and how quickly it is all passing. Sometimes I look at Isaac and wonder how he is suddenly so grown up. I guess we just try to make the most of this time! Love to you all xxx

  2. Natasha
    May 10, 2016 at 10:26 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful post and I can totally resonate. Yesterday I signed up for a talk entitled “introducing math to an under 4 year old” totally forgetting that my “baby” turned 4 in March. As much as I’m enjoying him being more independent, I lose a small part of me each year.

  3. Sarah MumofThree World
    May 11, 2016 at 8:56 am (2 years ago)

    Such a moving post and so true. We go through these feelings so often with every little change. At the moment I’m struggling with my ‘baby’ starting puberty. How is that even possible? I’m not ready for her to be that grown up.

  4. honestmum
    May 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Such a moving post Kiran and so, so true, motherhood changes us and endlessly and at different juctures- but it also gives us new dreams, drive and greater purpose (and worry-I like you worry endlessly, I just want to be there for my kids and be the best parent I can be). I totally relate to your feelings and miss the baby days. I have actually taken Xander out of nursery for 2 days a week as I want us to spend more time together and he’s such a Mummy’s boy, he asks me every day to stay together, crying when I drop him at nursery, but never when Daddy does. He doesn’t start school for another year but part of building my business to the extent I have was always about being able to free up more time for me. It’s an endless juggle as it always is but it’s worth it. I think we all feel lost at times and I know you’ll find your new ground and what makes you happy. Sending love and hope to see you soon x

  5. Complicated Gorgeousness
    May 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm (2 years ago)

    Gosh – beautifully written as always. The shifting landscapes of motherhood – my oldest boy found out how babies are made last week yet still sucks his thumb in his sleep, my girl is sassy as hell but will cry if you are stern with her. What are we going to do with these little people. Just when we get comfortable they change it all again. Loved this Kiran xx

  6. amiecaitlin | findingourfeet
    May 11, 2016 at 9:06 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow, Kiran this is a fantastic post. So raw and so, so true. You’ve had me welling up on the train home!

  7. You Baby Me Mummy
    May 11, 2016 at 9:47 pm (2 years ago)

    It is so painful isn’t it. I am feeling some of this already. It is so hard to even remember who I was before I became a mum, it totally changed me and now it it changing again and I am not ready either. Lots of love huni xxx

  8. Molly
    May 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful, beautiful post Kiran. You’ve pretty much nailed exactly how I’m feeling at the moment too!

  9. Plutonium Sox
    May 13, 2016 at 8:45 pm (2 years ago)

    A gorgeous post as always. I’m reading a lot of reminiscing posts at the moment, people being sad about their little ones growing up. For me, as much as I will look back fondly on the baby days, I’m loving the little people they are becoming. We have such a good laugh together now and I’m very much in the ‘these are the days’ camp, loving every minute and every milestone.

  10. Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama
    May 13, 2016 at 11:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Motherhood changes you deeply. Proof? The fact that you’re missing the days your kids were in diapers.

    I’m guessing, though, that you’re not missing the nappies per se, but rather what they mean: A reliance on you as a mother, a tie to babyhood.

    You expressed this imbalance perfectly. Thank you.

  11. Natalie
    May 25, 2016 at 10:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh gosh I feel the same – my youngest turns three in a couple of weeks and I can’t believe it. Being a Mummy completely defines me I’m not sure what il do with myself when both my girls are school if I’m being honest it scares me.. Lovely post x


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