Do you sometimes find yourself missing the “old you?” You know “the you” before kids entered the picture; before life got crazy busy, you are now endlessly doing all of the things.
I think it’s safe to say that anyone with a passion for horses has a deep sense of independence in their being. We crave freedom, flexibility, the outdoors and are proud of our courage and confidence to do things alone. Then all of a sudden, life gets flipped upside down when you start having kids.
Finding freedom feels impossible; independence? What’s that! This child needs me 24/7. Flexibility vanishes and is replaced by structure, nap times, play dates, sports, school and more. It’s exhausting to simply not go crazy and manage everything the family needs. You feel endless guilt for wanting a bit of the “old you” back when the decision to ride or not was entirely up to you, and it didn’t require endless planning and rescheduling to make happen.
I’m here to tell you that this is normal. The feeling of frustration, loss, and confusion of how to deal with this does not mean you are a terrible parent, and it most certainly doesn’t mean you love your horses more than your children! I felt this so much after having my children, but I would never say anything because I felt so horrid about these thoughts. The guilt weighed heavily on my heart, and while I can’t know for sure it was the cause of my postpartum depression, I know it contributed to it. The more I speak of this topic, the more I hear how we all struggle with this. So this is me, telling you that all of these feelings are normal!
If you look back at every major transition in life, you will remember these same feelings surfaced, even if they weren’t as extreme as now, like when you graduated high school or university and got out into the real world. Suddenly, the ease of school, classes, and a simple routine seem heavenly over the stress of a job you most likely didn’t like and bills that wouldn’t stop. Moving can also create these feelings of loss and confusion; being uprooted and starting brand new in a strange place isn’t easy. The sad thing comes down to that feeling all these confusing, resentful, and depressing thoughts based around these circumstances don’t also fill you with guilt.
Guilt is the destroyer of all things good. We feel less than when we feel guilty, and when we feel less than, we lose the belief in ourselves; we are no longer worth it. We sacrifice that piece of ourselves so that the guilt will go away. But that isn’t the answer. You cannot merely shove guilt aside by feeding it a sacrifice; what happens when guilt gets hungry again? You keep sacrificing and giving yourself to make the pain go away. Pretty soon, the guilt will be replaced by things like resentment or depression.
I want you to believe deep down in your soul that missing the “old you” is a normal process we all have to go through. I also want you to know that there are ways through this that start to give you back your hope and freedom. I have a free challenge coming up on January 11th that I created to help with this. Once we get started, the challenge will be kept inside the group, meaning you are always welcome to come in and participate.
Join me for the free 30-day challenge, Chomping at the Bit: Transition from Guilt to Freedom inside BACK INTO HORSES AFTER BABIES