It was an obvious choice and a well-thought through decision. Nevertheless, that does not mean that even inside myself I immediately understood the consequences and the change that this choice will trigger.
Yesterday I was an ambitious rising-star in the intellectual property law domain, the youngest patent and trademark attorney in my country (and let me boldly assume that also in Europe and perhaps even in the world; I made it when I was 23 years for God’s sake!), fresh MBA graduate at 25 and even an aspiring PhD candidate.
Yesterday I knew how to make fried eggs… Well, most of the time. Except all those times when the eggs burnt down sometimes even together with the frying pan, but those are details, no? And one can always dine out.
Yesterday I was open to hop on the plane and go to any location in the world. I was young, ambitious, free, easy-going, well-educated, with over five years of an impressive career progress,…
I had it all.
(Today I have so much more, yet it took me a while to understand that).
My identity crisis started with becoming a mother. Yet, after my daughter was born I was still in denial. Yes, I was already a stay-at-home mother but I had plans to return back to the workforce; I subscribed myself to the course on commercial and civil mediation; I finalized my risk management notes into a decent report; I was planning on opening my mediation practice; I lectured on risk management in one of the business schools in Paris; I was in denial. Then, when my daughter turned 9 months and the start of the mediation course was rapidly approaching I found myself pregnant again. Still breastfeeding, already having all the “pleasures” of an early-pregnancy toxicosis, I was nonetheless performing outstandingly in the mediation course. And then my son was born.
Drowning in the deep blue eyes of my newly born child I realized that I don’t remember the first look of my daughter! With her I was so preoccupied with other things, so much living in the unknown tomorrow, building some sort of plans, even breastfeeding with my computer on. However, I still did not change significantly. Not yet. It was only when I lost my third child at 12 weeks pregnancy that it finally dawned on me. Done. I finally admitted that – I have changed. The only question remaining – changed into what?
I’d like to be honest first of all with myself. I am no longer a lawyer and patent attorney, no longer anything I used to reply when somebody asked me – what do you do? Even when already taking care of my daughter, I still was doing a lot of legal stuff, coordinating one of the mediation associations’ internationalization efforts, still advising old clients and new referrals on strategy vis-a-vis intellectual property protection. I could not let go. I still pretended to be what I no longer was. Why? It is immensely difficult to let go of what you believe to be your identity; to let go, what you always thought defined you. And when I finally did that I found myself in the very depth of an identity crisis…