Life after motherhood
I struggled frantically to get the blue drape down. There was no way I was going to miss her birth.The medically necessary c-section had robbed me of the opportunity to deliver her vaginally but I still wanted to watch her come out. Finally, the drape was down and there she was, my baby, looking at me straight in the eyes. I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that followed. Time stood still, the room silenced, and tears of joy silently slid down my cheeks. Life as I knew it was forever changed. Maybe it was even over.
Have you ever found yourself at a total lost when your baby isn’t in your presence?
It’s like you don’t know what to do with yourself (besides taking a much needed shower and getting sleep) if you aren’t breastfeeding, changing diapers, or keeping a toddler out of the cabinets.
Before you became a mom you had another life where you had date nights with your husband, chased bigger opportunities at work, and socialized regularly with your friends. That life now seems non-existent.
It’s not as apparent when you’re caring for a newborn because there’s just so much to do. But as your baby becomes a toddler and starts demanding their independence you slowly start to realize your baby has become your life. You’ve lost yourself to motherhood.
We’ve all been there! And you know what?
You can find yourself again! In fact, today we are going to talk about rediscovering yourself after motherhood.
New Mom Identity Crisis:
If you’re in a rush and need something quick to help you get out of this identity crisis, click the picture below to get instant access to my free printable self discovery guide.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.
Why do moms lose their identity ?
You spend 9 months doing what no one else can do, carry YOUR baby. You watch what you eat, limit your activity, and track baby movements. From the time you see the positive pregnancy test, you’re all in.
Once you finally meet the person you’ve been fiercely protecting all of this time, it’s only natural to become a paranoid momma and little bit obsessed with your new creation.
On top of this, if you’re a first time mom, you’re navigating new territory and trying to figure it all out. Your fear of messing up and lack of trust in others can keep you from accepting help and relieving yourself of some of the new mom pressures.
Before you know it, you’re life becomes a cycle of work, baby and if you’re lucky, sleep. Moms don’t set out to lose their identity, it just happens.
How do you know if you’ve lost yourself in motherhood?
There are two common ways to identify if you’ve lost yourself in motherhood. You either avoid outside situations or you feel lost as an individual. There can even be an overlap of both. Sometimes all you need to do is look at your behavior and you’ll have your answer.
When was the last time you did something just for you that didn’t involve your children? Do you still remember what you like to do for fun? Do you make time to do it?
Have you found yourself saying no when your friends invite you out for dinner or a little get together? Did you turn in your application for the new position that was posted, the one you’ve been wanting for years?
Is your relationship with your husband deteriorating because all of your time and attention goes to the baby?
Really take the time to think about these questions. If your answers point to you avoiding things and activities that give you time away from your baby, you’ve probably lost yourself in motherhood.
Can you remember your first time being home alone without the baby? How did it feel?
Some moms feel lost after having a baby. They don’t know who they are besides mom. There’s a one way glass where the world can see them but they can’t see the rest of the world.
They don’t want to be lost. In fact, they feel guilty and often wonder if it is normal to miss your old life after having a baby. The problem is, they just can’t see their way out.
Moms who feel lost will sometimes appear withdrawn. Things can be happening around them but they don’t engage. It’s like they are just existing. This behavior can oftentimes be a residual of a mild case of postpartum depression or even postpartum anxiety.
The obvious signs and symptoms of postpartum depression aren’t visible so it’s often missed. These are the moms that may begin to feel bitter and regretful towards motherhood. It’s very important that they find an outlet and get back to living and enjoying life.
But the silver lining is all is not lost. You just have to rediscover the new you. The woman who is both a mother and an individual.
How do you avoid being lost in motherhood?
You’ve seen how mother’s lose themselves in their new role as mom but how can you avoid that from the beginning?
Prioritize your marriage
It’s easy to put your marriage on the back burner after the baby comes but that’s the time you need to nurture it most. Yes it may be challenging to find the time but there are several date night ideas that you can do at home. There are also babysitting options that you may be overlooking.
As you adjust to ebbs and flow of motherhood don’t leave your husband out.
Make time for the things you enjoy
Some of the things you enjoy may need modification. For example, if you really love reading books you may want to switch to listening to audibles. You’re still able to enjoy your books but you don’t have to be stationary to enjoy them.
If you enjoy a good workout, consider using a gym that offers childcare.
You don’t have to give up the things you enjoy in the name of motherhood. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding a work around.
Maintain your relationship with your friends
You need an outlet outside of work and home. This is where your friends come in. Do they have children too? If they do, consider having play dates where the babies and older kids can interact while the adults get their time too.
If your friends don’t have children, pitch a father/child day to your husband. After all it’s also important that they get alone time with your kids too.
How to find yourself during motherhood
Okay, so you’ve realized that you have lost touch with who you are after becoming a mom. What can you do about it? How do you reclaim your lost identity?
The cool thing is the road to self discovery can be a lot of fun. It’s kind of like dating yourself. Let’s face it motherhood does change you. You may find that your wants and desires have shifted. What once made you happy may not be as appealing anymore.
The only way to know is to take the time to go on a self discovery journey. This while allow you to reflect on your life before motherhood, assess your current frame of mind, and decide what it is you actually want for your life.
There are other things you’ll need to do but the self discovery journey is step 1!
Now that you know what you want, it’s time to:
Ditch the mom guilt
According to Jodi Picoult, the very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one.
Keeping that in mind, it’s important to know that you can be a good mom and still pursue your dreams. You don’t have to choose between enjoying individual pursuits and being a mom. They can coincide without either being neglected.
The next time the mom guilt starts to surface, stop, take a deep breath, and say “mom needs time too”.
Incorporate self care
Self care is something you may have taken for granted before becoming a mom. Your weekly mani/pedis were just a part of your routine. But, self-care goes deeper than that. It’s the time you take to just simply be. It can be something as simple as taking a hot bubble bath or as complex as having a spa weekend.
Regardless of what self-care means to you, make sure you are making time for yourself a priority.
Everyone loves babies and there are a million and one people who want to help you! Let them. Trust me, I know it’s a hard thing to do but it’s also good for your baby.
The next time grandma comes to visit, let her have uninterrupted time with her grand while you and your husband go and do your own thing.
Remember your husband
Your husband is your partner in this thing called life and parenting. Make sure you treat him as such and hold your marriage close. Go on date nights, take the time to have conversations that don’t involve the baby, enjoy each other’s company.
You are more than just a mom! The “mom” role is a very important responsibility and a privilege to have. But, there is more to you than that. As you start your journey to self discovery, here are items that can prove to be very helpful along the way.Like this? Pin It