In the ﬁrst year of my daughter’s life, I was also reborn.
Before Vivian’s birth, I was the stereotypical Type-A personality with a ﬁve-year plan, a regimented morning routine and a daily schedule that was so tightly packed my assistant had to schedule in toilet breaks.
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Yes, this really happened: in my former life as a high-ﬂying corporate engineer, my personal assistant had to schedule in ﬁve minute toilet breaks between back-to-back meetings to give me time to go to the toilet, eat, drink and do all the other essential things a human being requires.
But all this fell to pieces when my daughter was born. Babies don’t have a schedule, and they certainly don’t give a rat’s ass about your morning routine. Five-year plans? Pfft, you can’t even make a ﬁve-minute plan. This, you can imagine, was a shock to the system for a person like me.
On the outside, I was pretending I was still managing. I thought if I planned it all thoroughly and asked for help when I needed it, then everything would be fine. I was wrong. The pressure I had placed on myself to ‘have it all’, and look good while doing so, had turned my life into a pressure cooker waiting to explode.
This led to the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ incident. I was sitting down at my favourite cafe after a ten-hour day of work in a hospital. After almost a decade as an engineering manager, I had returned to study medicine, and was in the middle of a surgical rotation as a trainee doctor.
I hadn’t eaten all day and all I wanted was a green smoothie. Being 'the zero waste girl', I said to the waiter, "No straw please, I am trying to reduce my waste". He nodded and smiled. "Of course, we need more people like you."
I was an eco-warrior, the best-selling author, the happy mother, the diligent medical student. If you looked at the perfectly tiled pictures on my Instagram page, you’d think I really did have it all.