A personal message to the men in this world

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It may take a year, it may take 2, it may be a matter of months… but men, if you decide to have a baby be prepared to wait for your wife or girlfriend to return – metaphorically speaking!

From my own experience I can wholeheartedly say that I and most, if not all women, change when they have a baby. For some those changes may be more subtle than for others. For me, they were dramatic and I’m so grateful for an understanding and patient husband. So many men are not prepared for how a woman changes when she goes from being ‘me’ to being ‘mummy’.

Aside from the obvious physical changes of bigger OR smaller boobs, stretched skin from the bump, stretch marks (tiger stripes, love lines whatever you want to call them) heightened or lowered sex drive, all of which are difficult enough to bare, there are also deep emotional changes. The one I want to focus on for this post is the feeling of no longer knowing who you are. A woman losing herself as such.

What men often don’t realise is once a mother always a mother. Women don’t switch off during the 9-5 working day to be Directors, Receptionists, Doctors, Cleaners, Solicitors or any other job… They just fit more into their minds. I never stop thinking about my children but over time I am learning to push those thoughts aside; to focus on work, or the job at hand, or maybe even my sex life! This however, in my opinion, is a learned skill which takes time.

I’m certain it’s not just me that feels I’m often pulled in a million directions! Although, this feeling is often self-inflicted nonetheless, it’s there. My children, my husband, my career, date night, wine with the girls, time for waxing etc. I’m sure I used to do all of these things but without the emotional baggage of always wondering if I had chosen to do the right thing that day.

With my first child I’m not sure when I became ‘me’ again or really if I ever did! There was the odd glimmer, on the odd occasion of the old me, but I often used to push my buggy along the street wondering when would I return. Where has Emma gone? Would I ever feel like ‘me’ again? The answers to those questions are: THAT Emma has gone and no I will never be the old me again. Why would I want her back? Why would anybody want her back? I have developed, moved into another chapter of my life and I’m now so much more than what I was. I’ve built onto my old foundations and I’m settling into my many new roles.

But that ‘bedding in’ period, so to speak, takes time and more than that really… It’s taken baby number 2, a second return to work and drawer full of new underwear to finally feel more like ‘me’ again and in some ways I’m still getting to know the new me. That’s more than 3 years of muddled searching for Emma!

I’m comfortable now as Mummy, wife, radio presenter, wine lover and constant weight loss struggler. I’ve done it and all women do eventually. I’ve muddled through the changes and now my family is stronger, closer and ready for anything. We know what we stand for, who we are and what we want. Many of those things have been decided as a couple, some as individuals, but always with patience and a mutual understanding that our lives are evolving and changing all the time.

So men, don’t EVER expect things to ‘be the way they were’… no matter how much you want it to be. You created another person and now they will, and if they don’t they should, factor into all your decision making. Don’t abandon your loved one because she has changed. You helped make those changes when you decided to have a baby. More fool you if you go elsewhere. After having a baby and when the time is right (feeling more like herself) a woman is stronger, sexier and more determined than ever. And believe me it’ll be your loss if you choose to break up your family.

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13 thoughts on “A personal message to the men in this world

  1. I remember a time at a wedding, max must have been about a year old. I felt completely lost, as my friends (who had no children at the time) had a great night drinking, dancing, etc along with my husband who was loving a night out, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I went round the hotel on my own found a seat and sat and shed a few tears, it was like saying goodbye to the old me! I went home sortly after, and gave my son a kiss and hug hug!

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  2. Hi Emma, I read this earlier and I’ve pondered on it much of the day. I’m a new dad, a devoted dad and I’m a very patient and caring to my partner. Much of what you describe about women changing has entered into our conversations and we resonate with that. However, I can’t get your title out of my head. “a personal message to the men of the world”. The vast majority of the new fathers I’ve seen, spoken to and have experience of, have never, would never take their partner for granted, leave them, or be disrespectful of the challenges of motherhood. I think mothers are amazing! I just wanted to ask, where this is aimed? Men aren’t all bad. The vast majority of us are kind and caring. Your chosen title doesn’t settle well with me I’m afraid. Feel free to enlighten me about this. Men get a horrible rap when it comes to supporting pregnancies, birth etc. Just think the reality is very different than is perpetuated in the media and especially pregnancy / parenting magazines.

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    • Hi Ed, firstly congratulations on becoming a new dad!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I’m glad you found it thought provoking. The title, really is what is says on the tin, so to speak… it’s a message and a personal one, for men.

      I agree with you that many men would not leave their partners or be disrespectful of the challenges of motherhood. But, do they understand it and were they prepared for it? Did you expect the changes you’ve seen in your partner or realise that it could take such a long time for her to feel more like herself? My husband is patient and caring and loves our kids with all of his heart but there have been times over the last 3 years when we have argued because I felt he didn’t understand me or the emotions and changes I was experiencing. By putting pen to paper and hopefully writing a reasonably accurate account of what many women go through – men who are perhaps more selfish or not as understanding and sensitive as you are, will have a better grasp of what is happening to their wife or girlfriend and therefore their relationship.

      Thank you again for commenting – it’s great to get feedback. You sound as though you and your partner are very strong and it makes me happy to know that you are talking about these things! That is where so many couples go wrong.

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  3. I think you’re absolutely right Emma – it is difficult for us women to understand and come to terms with what’s happened to us so it must be even more difficult for the men in our lives no matter how kind caring and considerate they are. Even after five years and two children I’m still trying to find a way back to me and sometimes I think that all encompassing feeling of never being able to switch off from the mother role makes us resent the men in our lives a bit because they generally aren’t quite so completely and utterly caught up by it all – they are still able to come and go with more freedom (both mentally and physically I think). I think Julie Delpy’s character in the film Before Midnight really tells it like it is. X #sharewithme

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