Motherhood is a wonderful thing and we are all eternally grateful for the experience. However becoming a mother is a big deal in different ways. There is enormous adjustment to undergo for some people and for me this was the case. For others, they were destined to be a mother, their life before children seamlessly blended into their new life with children. Fabulous if that’s you, but for the rest of us, I don’t think the issue is talked about enough. Obviously most people are going to say congratulations and expect you to be beaming with delight that your a mother. So if you have any other feelings you better keep them to yourself right? Otherwise you will appear selfish and as if you don’t love your baby. Well that’s just not the case. You love and adore your baby throughout the whole process, it’s got nothing to do with your baby, it’s about finding yourself as a mother. What changes in your life now? Your social life, your employment, your family life, your own personal health and well being, the time you have to be you.. Everything before your baby arrived is sort of no longer, it’s all different now. So how do you deal with that?
Post Natal Depression is talked about a lot now and I think that’s great. But that is more defined by depression relating to anything at all within the first 6 months (I think?) post partum. There is little mention of the adjustment process that comes with motherhood. One of my best friends referred to it as surrendering to motherhood. Until you’ve surrendered your constantly trying to keep a toe in your old life. I love this because it really wraps up the situation.
If you are a professional woman working in a fast passed environment, interacting with people constantly, receiving praise for your work and out on the road constantly, to suddenly being home bound, stuck in bed and tired as fuck. Well you might have some feelings to deal with there…
Similarly if prior to your baby arriving you have a very active social life with friends who are not married let alone have children, you are going to find that you naturally drift apart somewhat, or you might not even feel comfortable attending parties, dinners, events, whatsoever because with you and your baby in tow it’s different now and they just don’t get it.
Then there’s those of us who are gym junkies or marathon runners, people that thrive on fitness. Well your going to experience some changes too…
For me, all of the above occurred and the adjustment process started the moment I got pregnant. I didn’t even want to be around our friends for Friday night drinks. Quite frankly I didn’t know how to interact with people while sober. I needed to relearn that. That could take a while. I checked out completely because it was easier and I stayed home. I began to reconnect with other girlfriends where I would meet for coffee and do more suitable things instead.
There were tears though at one point in my first pregnancy. About half way through I said to my husband, “who am I now? I am becoming someone else, I can’t be the person I was before and so who am I now?”. I was having an identity crisis. I feel that that continued on but lessened with time and as my daughters first birthday approached I was happy with who I was, I had finally surrendered to motherhood so much so that I was ready for our family to grow again. I had embraced the new me and I was excited to one day be supermum (picturing a cape here).
It’s a big thing and I feel for other mums out there going through an adjustment process finding their feet in a new world. But push on because you will get there. We grow, mature and become better people. What gave us joy before; running, the high of a sale (if you worked in sales like me), partying, getting dolled up, indulging in whatever you pleased for yourself. That all changes and what gives us joy now is seeing are children delighted, bursting into laughter or fascinated with a new skill or hobby. There is joy in building a family unit of your own and what that will bring in the future.
I now feel I am doing what I was meant to do, I have a goal, a mission, a purpose, my family is my life now and this makes me the happiest I could be.
The adjustment is real people! Support your friends or family if they are becoming a mother and talk about it.