Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Hey Mama! You’ve just had a baby. Congrats!!! Just as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, you have now become someone totally new. You may ask yourself, "is it possible to love my new life and miss parts of the old?"
I think so!
The key is finding a balance that enables you to honor the person you were before becoming a mother, while also acknowledging the changes motherhood has brought. During this journey, you may find that you’re not meeting all your own expectations, feeling judged by others, and even disconnected from yourself. Reclaiming who you are and reconnecting with your identity can help restore a sense of normalcy when everything feels off-kilter.
When I had my son, I didn't initially notice the changes in my identity. It happened slowly. I started to realize that I wasn't talking with my friends anymore, my husband had no idea how I was feeling, and the things I once enjoyed were now boring. Looking back on that time, I wish I had someone to tell me that these do not HAVE to be things that all moms, even most moms, experience,
I wish someone had told me to take time for myself. So much time is spent caring for others that we often forget who we are as individuals and what we enjoy doing. Since I did not have that when I needed it, I decided to create it! I wanted to help moms like you reclaim their identity as a woman, mother, wife, and individual now that baby is here!
Whether you're a new, a seasoned, or an expecting mother, you can use these three things to reclaim your identity:
Transform your mind
After the birth of a child, a mother's identity changes. She may need to set boundaries, reset her expectations of motherhood, learn to live with the unknown, create balance in her life, learn about this new person she has become, and advocate for things that will make her feel whole again.
Cherish your body
Our bodies are amazing. We can grow tiny humans inside of us and then heal from childbirth incredibly quickly. The struggle most new moms have is that they want to look like they never had a baby in the first place. We need to start appreciating our bodies for what they do instead of trying to “bounce back” from pregnancy.
Lean into your community
Leaning on your community—asking for help and expressing your needs—is an important part of gaining a sense of identity after having a baby. The saying "it takes a village" demonstrates the support new moms need to adjust to this new period in their life.
The process of reclaiming your identity can be a liberating and defining experience. By acknowledging the parts of your identity being affected by motherhood, you can gain insight on how to move forward, honor who you were before becoming a mom, reconnect with who you are now as a parent, and ultimately find more peace and comfort in this stage of life.
To help you get started, I consolidated my top Five Expert Tips for Surviving the Fourth Trimester here.
You can also find support on Facebook by joining the group Unicorn Mamas, where we talk all things motherhood.
Allie Lieberman is a licensed marriage and family therapist, perinatal mental health certified, certified Clini-Coach®, entrepreneur, wife, and mom of two [3 ½-year-old + 1 1/2 year old]. She is the CEO/Co-Founder of Rooted in Harmony Counseling, a virtual group counseling practice in California, and The New Mama Mentor®, a coaching practice dedicated to new moms.