Losing My Identity

Sep 4, 2019

How quickly do you lose your identity when you become a mum? Is it immediately. Is it when you start going to mummy groups? Is it when your child starts school?

To me, it feels like immediately. You stop being Maria and you become Lea’s mummy or Louka’s mummy. That’s it. In an instant, it’s as though your identity has been erased just to be replaced by being mummy. It’s as if you as an individual have had your life reprioritised. Your needs have been replaced by the needs of your child. Yes, your baby is dependant on you but where is it written that your needs no longer exist?

The first time it happened to me was probably baby weigh in. It was always busy at baby weigh in and so we’d have to wait. Which is fine. But then when it was my turn, the health visitor would call the name of my baby. This is at a time when my baby is not even old enough to acknowledge they have a name! What about the option of calling out Mrs Newman?

Then there are baby classes. It’s all about the baby. So obviously, I’m taking on the assistant role. And so, quite rightly, I’m referred to as the mummy. I suppose this wouldn’t be too bad if they were one offs. But they’re not. I’m in it for the long haul. Which means I’m going regularly for at least 6 months. But I’m still called mummy.

After baby classes comes nursery. Same type of commitment. Regular attendance. But we get a slight promotion. We’re now referred to as just mum. Although what does make me laugh is that the children start joining in too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived to pick up one of my kiddies to hear one of their friends announce Lea or Louka your mummy’s here. To be fair, they’re too young to know my name.

The funny thing is, when I’m volunteering at the hospital I even do it. Yes, this might be slightly different but it’s become the universal protocol. Well, it’s less formal than referring to people as Mr and Mrs.

And then there’s how we do the same to each other. As mum’s, we’re so used to referring to each other as Billy’s mummy or Eve’s mummy that it can be months before it dawns on us to ask the mummy, or in fact the daddy, their actual name. There’s this awkward dance trying to find an appropriate moment to ask someone their name. If that doesn’t happen then there’s always the detective approach. Listening out to someone else calling their actual name. Or waiting for a birthday invitation. Or becoming a stalker on social media. Maybe that one is slightly extreme?

If we don’t do this soon enough then we’ve gone past the point of no return and you will be known forever as Billy’s mummy. Because to ask after this point would be embarrassing. Wouldn’t it?

Becoming a mummy is obviously a life changing moment. We become the keeper of a precious and helpless being. We get thrown into new situations, although we join a well travelled road. We hit a period of ‘figuring things out’. One of which is who are we now.

That’s ‘losing your identity’ according to Mummy on a Break

Have you lost your identity?

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