Saturday, 21 February 2009

Identity=Community? or Community=Identity?

All is well at the homestead. The last couple of weeks have whizzed past. We have had a pretty busy social calendar, seeing friends we hardly see, including a bunch of old friends that are pregnant. It has been nice.

I seem to know an enormous number of pregnant people right now and it has changed the playing field a little. Women who were down right critical of my choices a year ago have now shut up and are now asking me for advice. I can't help but be a little bitter. Some of the choices I have made as a mom are hard and not with the mainstream and as a result seem to need to be defended regularly even to my children's pediatrician. One of the simplest being that I refuse to give my children bottles or sippy cups of milk (cows). Why I am treated like a evil dictator for this I'll never know.

Since having kids I have been struggling with a sense of identity and community. Some days this feels like an impossible task, other days only like a growth spurt. The interesting thing is people that don't have children don't understand this at all. They don't realize and will argue with me to the contrary, that much of your identity is what you do for a living. This is deeply questioned when you go on Mat leave and become "mom". Think about it, what is one of the first things that people ask when they meet you. "What do you do?" And telling them "I'm a mom" they look for the rest of the answer, like that couldn't possibly be ALL you do.

I think that the only time this isn't such a struggle is when the new mom has quite a successful career or loves their job and never questions whether they will be returning at the end of the year. This loss of identity doesn't happen to new dads. They return to work after a couple of weeks and continue where they left off. Their work relationships the same, their friendships the same. They just don't have as much free time.

There are also the changes that happen to your body, it isn't just your body anymore. It's an incubator, a sexual being, a food machine, and completely unfamiliar after a pregnancy. And where is the time to do the things that are 'you'? AND then add in that all your relationships and relations to others change including your husband/significant other. So who are you now?

A few of my childless girlfriends could kinda see how this might happen but my guy friends..........**crickets** They just couldn't see it, the impact, the magnitude of the impact of having a baby.

So who am I now? I don't have anything left from the old life to identify with and I don't have a community either. I am not trying to sound morbid or sad, just factual. And I am not mourning my old life but merely trying to get comfortable in the new one. But what comes first the identity or the community???

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