What About Me?
3. "I'm Afraid of Losing Myself"
You've begun your third trimester, and life has never felt so demanding. There are layette checklists to review, baby accessories to buy, hospital forms to complete -- and your calendar is filled with doctor appointments, childbirth classes, and interviews with potential pediatricians. Suddenly the full impact of this 24-7 project hits you, and you wonder: What's going to happen to me?
It's perfectly normal to worry that adding a new person to your life will mean that something's got to go. But if you're feeling this way, just take a look at the mothers you know: Most of them have found a way to resume at least some of their favorite activities. "It's true that life will change after your baby is born, but not so drastically that you'll have no time for yourself," says Diane Sanford, PhD, co-author of Postpartum Survival Guide (New Harbinger). "Try to continue the things you did before the baby was born, especially the things you really enjoyed." You can arrange periodically for a caregiver, but also keep in mind that babies during their first year are pretty easy to take along, whether you're going to a friend's house, a museum, a restaurant, or a shopping mall.
Sanford also points out that motherhood, rather than a route toward losing yourself, is often a path toward finding yourself -- and a doorway to personal growth. "As the months pass, you may find that you have a far greater capacity for gentleness and patience than you ever imagined. Spiritually, you may also start to get a new sense of being part of a bigger purpose in the universe," she says.