I used to think I was quite a confident person before having my daughter. I’d get in my car and drive anywhere, in the dark, in the rain and the snow (which was not always clever). I’d go anywhere, get up and speak in public without batting an eyelid; in fact I thrived on it and loved it. But I just feel I have lost that confidence.
I did have quite a long maternity leave; 14 months and I think during that time you are in a total bubble. It is you and your baby, your family, your Mummy friends, the television and copious amounts of tea and cakes. Going back into the “real world” can be quite a shock to the system.
I question myself constantly now. Things I would have jumped at take a lot of deliberation and I have to talk myself into a lot of things. Don’t get my wrong, I do them but it takes a lot more effort. Thing is, I KNOW I’m capable. I know I can do these things but once a little seed of self doubt is planted, it is hard to weed it out.
I think people tend to think I am confident as well. I talk a lot and I do find meeting new people a breeze but sometimes I’m a little squiffy underneath.
Here is some examples where I have totally lost my confidence:
- Driving in the dark…on the motorway…in the rain. I had to make a trip out one evening last week. Not far at all but it was pouring, dark and I had to use the motorway to get there. I ummed and errred about this more than where I was actually going!! In the past this would never have bothered me. I had a very scary experience driving in the snow and dark once. Now I wouldn’t dream of driving in the snow on a motorway.
- Public speaking. I’m always nervous. Aren’t we all? But the nerves are much worse and I need to plan and prep and talk to myself a lot more now. I haven’t done as much public speaking since coming back to work as previously but have done some. I just want to get back to how I felt before and I’m sure I will in time.
- Pushing myself to do new things. Opportunities come and go and it is so easy to think I’ll just stay the same and hide under the duvet! I can’t and I know I need to push myself. This all seemed easier pre-baby. I guess change is scary when your routine is so set.
- Flying. I love getting away with work or on my own but I’m always a bit more scared going on my own now. It’s that irrational fear.
I hate the fact I’m not as confident as I was before. I know it takes work and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Self-doubt is a slippery slope and I don’t want to find myself half way down it so I’ll keep cracking on. I find talking my worries through with people is a massive help. Also just talking to myself! Someone needs to help me build that confidence back.
How about you? Did you change in a similar way after children?