How I Rediscovered ‘Me’ After Becoming a New Mother

A trip to Amsterdam helped me re-enter society as a whole and complete woman again

Emily Primeaux
3 min readAug 24, 2021


The author in Amsterdam (2019)

Stepping out alone into the brisk autumn air in the city of Amsterdam in late 2019 was a victory. And no small feat. I’d left my seven-month-old baby with my husband and my mother back home in Austin, Texas, for this much-needed trip to help save my sense of self after battling postpartum depression for months.

I’ve written before about the struggles I faced after the birth of my son. Struggles that are not at all uncommon for women after giving birth. I had my son in March of 2019 and by fall my prolonged “baby blues” were under control with the help of a fantastic support system and a wonderful drug called Zoloft.

I was loving this new role—mama—but I still wasn’t quite back to my old self. Sure, I’d settled back into work and felt like I (finally) had this new mother thing well in hand, but something was amiss in the puzzle that is “Emily.”

I think a majority of new mothers will understand this missing piece. The independence. The selfishness. The vanity. Poof … suddenly another human being enters your life and their survival depends entirely on you, but you—the woman, the person, the individual—become entirely irrelevant in many other ways.

I had re-entered society as a completely new person who suddenly didn’t know exactly who she was anymore. Was I Emily the mother? Emily the professional writer and editor? Emily the supportive wife? Emily the fun-loving, wine-drinking friend? I was all of these things, and I love being all of these things, but I felt like a fraud when I tried to enter each space separately.

And so an idea took root that summer which I proposed to my husband. He watered that idea with encouragement. From there I sent the idea to my best friend in Europe and she fertilized it. And by October 2020 the idea was now a full-grown plant and I don’t know where this metaphor is going but I do know I was on a plane en route to Amsterdam.

A trip alone. Freedom. Space. Time to re-find myself. To re-enter society as the woman I was pre-baby. Only six days away, but enough to let me take a big, deep breath and let myself relax (only a…



Emily Primeaux

World traveler, writer, editor, kitty-handler, missing the European life