A Guest Post By Victoria Jaeger
I have always put myself first. Not in a cutting-in-line, wildly uncompromising, stealing the last piece of fruit cake kind of way, but in the important sense of the word that I have always looked out for number one. In a life that had often been unfair and with no shortage of childhood trauma, stepping up and doing what needed to be done to take care of myself has always been a kind of survival technique. I’ve been called a cunt, and you know what? Maybe I was. But, I survived.
Fast forward to January 2021. I’ve grown, pushed out and fallen in love with my very own little human, Harry. Short of running out the door to get his name tattooed across my tits, I can safely say I’ve entered a whole new world of previously unexplored selflessness and devotion. Whilst I’m sure my cunty old self still exists, buried somewhere not so deep below the surface, I’ve undergone that miraculous change familiar to any new mother; for the first time in my life, someone else needs to come first.
Looking back on my previous life as a super fun, spontaneous and outgoing media manager (who was also a weapon on the sesh), it’s hard to know what happened to, well… me. When your personality is so tied up in climbing the corporate ladder, the buzzing yet turbulent world of Ad Land and ‘wines with the girls,’ what happens when everything that defines ‘you’ disappears in the space of 9 (heavily bloated) months? You find yourself stripped bare, flat on your back with your feet in metaphorical stirrups as the midwife extracts everything you used to care about and unceremoniously dumps it into the bin next to your placenta.
For the first few post-baby months I wondered around home looking like a pre-Andy Serkis sketch of Gollum, in awe of my miraculous little human but grieving for the person I thought I was. Without my clients, boozy Friday lunches and late nights with my girlfriends, who was I?? Would people still like me if I didn’t get a photo with this years Bachelor?? I was still on call, but my client was smaller, louder and frequently shat himself.
The answer is simpler and more wholesome than my pre-baby mind was able to deduce. I am not my job, I am not boozy lunches with my mates, and I am more than just the sum of my parts. Especially any part that no longer resembles a neatly folded pancake. In removing most of the things I thought defined me as a person I created space to understand the void that they were inherently filling. I was so caught up in what I thought life was, I’d forgotten how to live, pursue things I love and how to end each day feeling whole.
Harry is 8 months old now, and beside the baby swim lessons, sing alongs at the library and endless hours of Cocomelon, I’ve been using my (very limited) free time to rediscover myself, and the results are something I never would have expected.
Aside from my new physical endeavours (if you told me 2 years ago I would cycle regularly and have my own swim instructor I would have laughed in your face), in my rare moments of peace I find the greatest joy in bringing our family together, making home cooked meals and spending days in our garden watching the spring buds form on flowers we didn’t know we had. I feel reborn, alongside darling Harry, and together we’re growing into our roles of mother and son with endless love in our hearts.
I look down at my gorgeous boy (currently firmly latched to/asleep on my booby) and marvel at his perfect little cheeks, his tufts of pure white hair and the curl of his impossibly long lashes. Never mind the sticky snot trail creeping from his cute button nose, slowly crusting onto my right boob and (when his nap comes to an end) peeling off like a crusty sock. He’s changed every inch of me and I owe my life to him. Whilst I still have time for the occasional glass of wine with my closest friends, I’ve gained incredible freedom in the opportunity to be be unapologetic about the people and activities I still have time for. Time is your most valuable commodity and Harry has taught me to use mine well.
Victoria Jaeger is a client manager at Wavemaker Global, currently taking a break to spend time with her new baby boy. Victoria was a 2020 B&T 30 Under 30 Finalist in the planner/buyer category, as well as the Australian winner of the Wavemaker Globetrotters competition in 2019. She has too many weird quirks to count, most notably, a birth mark on her elbow that is shaped like a dick and balls.
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