10 years ago everything changed. July 2008.
Not only did I become a mum for the first time, but ironically I also lost who I was.
It was the first time I didn’t believe I could do something that I ‘should’ have been able to do naturally.
I felt like a failure. The biggest failure of all time. Alone. Just me. I realised I was carrying around the feeling for years that if I can fail at being a mum, I’ll probably fail at everything else. This realisation was the game changer for me and my businesses.
Post natal depression is hard to describe.
That feeling of hopelessness. That nothing I could do would ever be good enough. The anxiety and worry every minute of every day. The huge responsibility that was often too heavy to bare. The dark cloud that followed me around. The fog.
But looking back it also had a profound affect on me. It made me reassess what I really wanted. What makes me tick. And not what I thought I ‘should’ be under the pressures of society.
It taught me to listen to my instincts.
That when I listen, really listen, they are super specific and usually spot on.
They know. I know. What’s really best.
Accepting that working and making a difference to other people’s lives is in my blood. I needed it like I needed the air I breath.
Not because it was satisfying some empty void, but because it was a sense of purpose. A determined purpose to make things happen. To create change. To unlock potential. A purpose I’ve felt deep inside since I was a little girl. Knowing I needed to aim high no matter what. To do the things that can’t be done.
Because of this I didn’t think I could be a good mum. Because I didn’t crave to be with my children every minute of every day and I wanted to work instead. That feeling this way was bad. That I was bad.
But I proved myself wrong.
By listening to what I needed, I could be EVERYTHING to my gorgeous baby girl.
I see her today. Strong willed. Fiercely independent. Oozing confidence. A sense of belief in herself that she is capable of anything she sets her mind too. And she is.
I see me. The real me.
The me that was once crushed by this sense of having to do the ‘right thing’ whatever that was. That I wasn't good enough if I didn't do what was expected of me - to stay at home and care for my children for all of the hours in the day. The pressure and guilt associated with choosing to go to work instead. I say choosing because I was. I wanted to build a business from scratch and I knew that would take up a lot of energy and time. Time away from my family.
Do I regret working so early on when she was little? No.
Do I regret not spending more time at home in the early days? No.
Do I think she’s lost out because of the decisions I’ve made? No.
Because I know that I had to find me before I could be the best mum to her and her brother. They are my world.
When I look at them. I mean really look at them. My heart stops and they sum up the sense of purpose.
To not only teach them, but show them everyday that they too can do the things they may think they can’t. That they can be, do and have whatever they want.
I couldn’t have planned or predicted the last ten years and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m more of the woman I had hoped I’d be. An inspiration to others. Doing things that scare me. Making a difference. Taking risks. Trying things that others wouldn’t try. And things they didn’t want me to try either. Being the change I wish to see in the world.
Am I still scared? Of course.
Because if nothing else the last ten years have shown me that curveballs are around every corner. Waiting to test you. Waiting to teach you. A look. A comment. A loss.
Those feelings still show up. But I spot them coming now. I know them really well because I decided to get up close to them. To see them for what they are.
Every experience we go through defines us.
The good, the bad and the ugly. Look for the lessons and embrace it by believing in yourself and how much you are truly capable of getting whatever you really want.
**Gemma Stow works with female entrepreneurs who are introverts and are ready to take themselves and their business to the next level. To find their fierce and take that all important action. As well as private coaching, she runs a membership called Club Fierce that gives that personal touch to women who are looking for support, accountability and an environment that breeds self belief and results. More info HERE. **