Becoming a mother is a life-changing and beautiful experience that can really change the person we are. Sometimes this can completely change who we used to be, and can be a traumatic experience that can really impact on a woman’s mental health. Rebecca Fay shares with Love Her Wild the challenges she encountered during childbirth, her struggles in finding her identity again, and how there’s no reason you can’t be an Adventurer and a Mama at the same time.
Having an identity
Identity is a funny thing………often we aren’t aware of it until it changes. This can lead to uncertainty and for me, a sense of inertia.
My daughter entered my life two years ago. Prior to her arrival I was spontaneous, taking off at a moment’s notice – cycling through the Cairngorms, riding the coast to coast, an occasional foray on two wheels onto the continent. My daughter’s arrival was traumatic; for all of us. It wasn’t the NHS’ finest hour, and for around 18 months I lived life in a haze, functioning but not living.
Stuck in a moment
One of the most noticeable consequences was that I began to question my decision-making, which inevitably had an impact on adventuring. I was convinced that everything was my fault and I was clearly crap at making decisions.
My normally quite sensible risk assessment went into overdrive and I stopped doing the things I once loved. I acknowledged that I needed to get some help, and a wonderful charity called Petals helped me to process what happened. It took time but I started to emerge from a world of grey.
In search of my mojo
I didn’t know who I was. I certainly wasn’t a “Mumsy Mum.” I did try church coffee mornings (what was I thinking?!), but as lovely as they were, I knew I hadn’t found my tribe. Inevitably having a small person changes how you adventure. However (if you’re anything like me) it doesn’t have to stop you leading an adventurous life.
A Mama and an Adventurer
I am now the proud owner of a slightly smelly second hand running stroller and our ever-reliable Croozer bike trailer. Having a small person has opened my eyes to things I stopped noticing years ago.
This summer, we are planning a bike packing trip, squeezing our little tent into the trailer……inevitably alongside an assortment of books and (soft toy) friends.
I have a new identity, it’s different to the old me, but it’s no better or worse….I hope that I can show my daughter that adventures take many varieties. For me, the key to a successful adventure is self-belief and the right company. This year I have both.
Petals is a charity organisation that helps support women who have experienced traumatic situations during pregnancy and childbirth, such as stillbirth, miscarriages and antenatal anxiety. They focus on helping to raise awareness and provide emotional support through counselling and raising money. Please visit the Petals website if you would like to get involved and volunteer for the organisation.
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