The most overlooked aspect of motherhood would have to be the actual mother. That may sound crazy, but you’ll see why that is. When we discuss motherhood, we often discuss the implications of having a new baby around, our new role in the family, and the new responsibilities we take on. But how about us?
Walking into motherhood can be quite daunting. You take on an entirely new role that some of us have little to no experience with. There is 9 months of growing a little human (or humans) only to be thrust full-throttle into motherhood. You go straight into this new role, from the moment you take that pregnancy test and it becomes who we are. Motherhood changes your life in ways you expect, but also in ways you don’t expect.
Many moms walk into motherhood with zero experience. It may even feel like a role that you’re ill-equipped for. Your first experience with changing a diaper may be with your newborn. Your first experience burping may be with your newborn. Your first time even holding a newborn may be with your own newborn. It can be so much to learn in so little time.
For the most part, a lot of it comes to us naturally. Waking up in the middle of the night soon becomes normal (even though we might not love it). Changing diapers became normal. We moms don’t really have any other choice but to pick it all up fast. These tiny humans depend on us for literally everything. And that right there is where many moms start to lose their own identity.
Between breastfeeding, safe sleep, no sleep, car seat safety, learning your baby’s cues, and literally everything else that comes with motherhood ⸺ it’s so easy to lose your own identity. With cold seasons, avoiding germs with your newborn, and anxiety, many moms find themselves at home for the entirety of the first couple of months. It’s easy to lose contact with friends while trying to acclimate to this huge new role. These things can lead to the feeling of isolation. Diving head first into motherhood isn’t a bad thing at all, but it can be a slippery slope which leads to a loss of identity.
Finding yourself in this new role is such an important part of becoming the best mom you can be. Feeling like you’ve lost yourself to motherhood can be quite confusing and difficult to understand. Many moms think their worth solely lies within their role as a mom. Society slaps various characteristics and standards on motherhood, and we struggle to live up to them. Many moms spend very little time away from their babies. Fathers aren’t looked down upon for getting a drink with friends after work before coming home, but moms aren’t given that same opportunity without judgement. We’re told we have to be home at all times to fulfill our role to the fullest. But once you spend some time apart from your child, you’ll end up learning that this actually creates a stronger, healthier bond for you and your baby.
During pregnancy, some naively think that they will be able to be the same person, but that’s not really the case. It’s just not realistic or feasible. You’ll no longer be the same person you were when it was just you, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be the same person, and quite honestly, you may end up being glad that you’re not. You’ll grow so much through becoming a mom, and motherhood will probably change you for the better. You’ll gain qualities and characteristics that you may think you’d never have, and you’ll be proud of the new woman that motherhood changes you into. Embracing and loving these new qualities can be so eye-opening.
Many times, our interests and hobbies change while we venture through motherhood. It can be difficult for friends to understand. It’s so important to keep people around who understand and appreciate who who you are now. These people should understand when you can’t make it out to dinner, and will understand why you may just be too tired to attend certain events. They won’t make you feel bad for having to cut out early or stay home with your sick baby. Your life has changed in a huge way, and these are your new priorities, and that should be okay. When you spend time around people who don’t understand this, you’ll feel guilty for the new changes motherhood has brought. But when you’re surrounded by friends who embrace and love these changes, you will too!
You need to find ways to do things for yourself. Even if it’s something as simple as writing at the end of the day, it will help you feel like you have time just to yourself. It’s also important to find a way to get out of the house to partake in an activity you enjoy. If you enjoy dancing, use an hour away to take a dance class. Partaking in activities you enjoy can be very therapeutic. It’s important to take time to do something that you thoroughly enjoy.
Staying inside the house all day can be counterproductive. It’s hard to feel like you’re still your own person when you’re inside taking care of someone else all day. Getting out of the house and partaking in activities together can be so beneficial and fun! Maybe you can try out a gymnastics class, or go to a mom group. You get to talk to other moms, and your baby will get to socialize with other babies. Not only will this be helpful for your own identity, but it will also be helpful for your baby’s identity. While you work on finding who you are now, your baby will be finding his/herself through play!
Many people think you lose yourself through motherhood, and consider it to be a bad thing. But it doesn’t have to be. Motherhood will often change who we are in a very positive way. You’ll obtain new qualities, insight, and characteristics that strengthen the woman you are! Try out some of these things listed, and see how you can find your new identity!
If you’re trying to prepare yourself for postpartum, be sure to check out our blog post about the ways to get yourself ready for all that postpartum brings!