Inspiration

Meet Yourself Where You Are: Mourning My Former Self

Lauren Kwedar Cockerell
By Lauren Kwedar Cockerell

This is for the women who are struggling with accepting who they are with respect to who they used to be.

I spent a good part of the first year of my daughter’s life mourning my former self: the woman who worked hard and played hard, the woman who traveled through Italy by herself for a month, the woman who had a chic, high-rise apartment filled with beautiful, slim-fitting clothes and the highest of stiletto heels. That carefree, bold woman was long gone. Or it felt that way, at least.

I kept wondering: where did that woman go, and who am I if I’m not her? I fretted when my daughter was sick and had to stay home from school, meaning I often stayed home with her and missed work, or cobbled together the critical moments of my day with my husband’s schedule. I grappled with getting enough rest but needing some alone time, which was often only available late at night. I looked at pre-baby pictures of myself and hurled insults at my now-softer body. I unfairly treated the blessings of my life like stones weighing me down. But the only thing actually crushing me was my white-knuckled grip on the past, and for this, I apologize to who I was that year.

At some point – after many conversations with some close friends in similar situations and a few extra hours of sleep each night – I stopped wondering, simply relaxed with what is, and I met myself where I am.

I am who I am supposed to be in this season of life.

There will be a time and a place where it will be time to hustle and slay in my career once again. Showing up to my job each day and doing 8 to 9 (okay, sometimes 5, 6, or 7…) hours of good work is perfectly acceptable to my role and where I am right now. There will be time and funds in the future for me to travel far afield again, this time with my husband by my side. There will be an appropriate time to hone my body again, once it’s done playing host and life source to small humans.

There are many seasons of life ahead, but I will never be the same me again, and that’s okay. As I’ve learned through becoming a wife and mother, there are and will be many versions of me in this life, some more beautiful and remarkable than I can ever imagine. The key is to meet each season with grace, and to honor that version of me.

I will always be loyal and loving. I will always want to help others. And I will always suffer from incurable wanderlust. Those are the bones of me, but I’m learning that if I allow myself to evolve with where life leads me, this ride is a lot more enjoyable.

Today, I am focused on my family and our well-being, on staying present to enjoy what I have and who we are, and on improving myself so that I’m ready for whatever comes next.

Introduce yourself to who you are today. Get to know her, and be kind to her. You don’t want to look back on this season of your life with regret.

Lauren Kwedar Cockerell
Lauren Kwedar Cockerell is an explorer of words and worlds. As a communications executive, she loves writing, reading, learning something new every day, social media, and helping others. As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend, she is a community volunteer, a health and wellness devotee, an enthusiastic but messy cook, an iPhoneographer, and a voracious consumer of podcasts. She would very much like to go everywhere and do everything. She and her husband have a toddler, a baby on the way, and two precocious dachshunds.
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  • Denise Daly Semple

    Excellent points and reminders that I need daily. Your a wonderful writer!

  • Kristel Carter

    How well you described this motherhood journey…nothing prepares it for you yet you are learning that life is filled with the right you for the right time…your family is blessed by your love and care and st the end, this is the priceless legacy…as I prepare for my new chapter as a grandmother, your insights are true for all generations…onward sweet Lauren~

  • Nicole Queen

    I love this and when I converted to Islam and then became a Mother, I struggled with the same emotions. How to live as this new Woman that I know in my heart I wanted to be.

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