This was never the plan and although I know I have a lot to be thankful for I can’t pretend that my soul doesn’t ache for parts of my former life.

When I was 17 and in hindsight barely out of childhood myself I gave birth to my eldest son. He was and will remain always the light of my life. I missed out on a lot of my teenage and young adult years and with that the freedom and opportunity to go out there and make mistakes. As a mother that wasn’t part of my destiny. I studied for a career I never actually wanted as a means to make something of myself and build a life for my child. Over the years I either worked or studied. As a habitual over thinker I’m better off busy.

By the time I fell pregnant with my youngest son I was finally in a job that I loved. A place that I thrived in and felt that I belonged. I was to happily take my maternity leave and focus on my family whilst living with the comfort I’d have my little piece of normality to go back to at the end of it. But that’s not what happened and three years later I’m still at home.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, part of me actually feels sick writing this because I know I’m going to be judged. I don’t hate my life. I adore my family. My children are the best thing to have ever happened to me and my partner is beyond supportive, loving and caring in every way possible. I’m fortunate to have these incredible people in my life. To have a home, bills that are always paid and food on the table. I can’t help but silently mourn though, because in the process of building this life I have lost myself and I miss her.

She was fun, I was fun! I was confident and funny. I’m not those things anymore. I’m a shell of who I used to be and I don’t know how to break free of these chains that I have wrapped myself in. The prospect of going back to work now absolutely terrifies me. To have to start from scratch when I feel so unqualified to do anything more strenuous than the school run.

Putting together a CV with such a big gap is daunting. I’m scared to put myself out there because the rejection isn’t something I feel I can mentally handle right now. I wish I could turn back the clock and ask the old me for advice. She’d know what to do. She always did.

Whilst I know I’ll fight my way out of this funk it’s clear to see that it’s going to be a challenge. I know I’m not alone and there will be many more women in my position. I wish I could tell them all that it’ll be ok, you’re still amazing and worthy of the life you used to have, but how can I when I can’t even convince myself?

My god, if being a mother has taught me anything it’s that I am stronger than I think.

Maybe I just need to fake it till I make it, we all have to start somewhere right?

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