So much of motherhood focuses on pregnancy and the birth of your baby, and while that is one of the most important aspects of becoming a mother, it is not the only one. Two births occur simultaneously when you become a mom and they are the birth of your baby(s) and the birth of the mother, whether it is your first or third time becoming a mother. Each pregnancy, birth, and child are different, and the same goes for the mother. You will evolve and grow into different versions of yourself with each pregnancy, and the more aware you are of this, the sooner you can learn to support, love, and become the woman you are destined to be.
It’s All About The Baby:
It’s not a secret that most of your pregnancy and postpartum experience has been learning about the growth of your baby and how to best care for your baby when they enter into the world. Your doctor’s appointments tend to focus on your physical health, the progress of your baby, and plans for delivery and aftercare. They want you to be as prepared as possible to welcome your baby into the healthiest, safest, environment, in the least traumatic way as possible. The focus is on the baby for the majority of 12 months so it can be challenging for you to think about your own journey, care and ways to start loving yourself alongside your baby. While your baby is still your primary focus, learning to fall in love with them and the new mother you have become can happen simultaneously. You are both learning new skills, relying on one another for direction, and growing on this journey together. As you support your new baby in their learning and development you can employ some of those skills and systems to foster compassion and love for yourself as you grow into the mother you choose to be.
You’re Supposed to Lose Yourself:
I’ve heard moms share with others that they “lost themselves” in motherhood. While I can understand that sentence, I don’t agree with the context of this statement. After the birth of your baby an internal conflict begins to surface for moms. You will spend a portion of the postpartum period searching for your old self which can lead to frustration and resentment. You may have read that you will find yourself after you become a mother and I would follow that up with the idea that you will “redefine” yourself when you become a mother. Your thoughts will change, your views of life and family can change, and your mindset will begin to evolve. You have the opportunity to recreate yourself, pulling characteristics from the “old” you into this next version so allow yourself appropriate time and patience. This can be challenging and if you struggle during this process you might find yourself at a crossroads, missing someone who is not meant to be at this stage of your journey, and feeling resentful that your life has changed in this capacity. Much like you put systems in place to ensure your baby will come into this world and transition into your life effectively you can use these same practices to ensure this version of you can receive the same support.
Four Areas To Consider Re-Structuring to Support Your Growth
Just like we prepare to bring the baby home, we need to prepare to bring the mother home too. There may be some things in your home that don't bring you joy or give you that sense of warmth that is needed. You will need to make adjustments along the way, just like with a baby, so try creating a warm and welcoming place for you to lay your head, and spend time with your baby and your new self.
Your Support System:
Considering you are your baby's primary support system you would think you would know how important it is to bring that into your life as you transition through motherhood. You might tend to lean on those close to you to provide the most hands-on support and advice, and I am here to tell you that it does NOT have to be that way. You get to control who is there to support you as you evolve into this next version of YOU so make sure they are doing just that.
Your children thrive in a structured environment with a consistent routine so it makes sense that you set one for yourself too. Understand that in the first few weeks/months, your routine will be dictated by your baby so you will need to create your new routine around that. It won't be like this forever, but the more in sync you can get, the less frustrated either of you will become when things present as challenging.
This is where the MAGIC happens. You are given an opportunity to rewrite your story, your purpose, who you are, and what you want. This is where you are re-born and learn to re-define motherhood and what it is going to look like "ON YOU." Get creative in this space and lean into the things that are pulling you close and the people who are aligned with where you want to be and just watch how you begin to evolve. Some areas to consider related to personal development and growth:
- There will never be a perfect time: The longer you wait to work on yourself the more time that passes leaving you frustrated and overwhelmed with "what you need to do."
- Learn to Over Pour: This can feel counterproductive as you might have been told that you need to prioritize your baby and delay your happiness. One skill that can be helpful in this process is learning to pour into your own cup, and let the overflow work for you. If you can imagine a champagne tower, picture yourself as the top glass, the one that has to be poured into first in order for the tower to work. Once that is done, all of the cups below benefit from that first pour and those cups are your children, family, and other responsibilities.
- Stick It Out: You are the best project you will ever work on which means things will get challenging. Don't you EVER quit on yourself, mama. You have what it takes and it will take you time to find your footing and confidence in this new stage. You and your kids deserve the WHOLE you so be patient and set reasonable expectations for yourself so you don’t become overwhelmed.
Having some general information normalizing the challenges associated with transitioning into motherhood can be helpful, and even more so when you have somewhere concrete to start. Motherhood can feel overwhelming at times, and adding more to your plate can leave you feeling ready to give up before you begin. Take it slow and follow the points below to begin building a solid routine for yourself to support your journey of redefining who you want to be.
- Draft an open letter to yourself. Write a goodbye letter to the version of you present before this birth and thank her. She has done alot for you and has carried you this far. You need to say goodbye to her in order for this new version to evolve and be allowed the time and space to develop into the mother you desire for yourself. This process can feel challenging and elicit some sadness as well so be kind and patient with yourself during this process.
- Journaling. Do some free writing about who you want to be in this next season and explore what it is going to take to get there and create this version. Get as specific as possible, listing the characteristics you currently possess and the ones you hope to develop along the journey.
- Maximize your time. You'd be surprised how much time you DO have that is hidden in pockets of social media etc. Evaluate where you can get busy and start working on what it is you truly want to happen.
- Daily mantras. Create a daily mantra for you to follow that supports this current season of motherhood. Learn to be kind to yourself first thing in the morning and reflect upon your current strengths so that building upon them feels like second nature.
- Setting intentions. Each night when you get into bed think about the next day and what you hope to accomplish/achieve as it relates to your life. Start small by writing down one thing you will intentionally focus on such as, “staying positive” and then build on them. The more consistently you adhere to these intentions the easier it will feel and your confidence will build.
- List your strengths. Pregnancy and childbirth are not easy stages of a mothers life, and you have probably overcome and managed a significant amount of challenges and stressors resulting in resilience and strengths you didn’t once have. Highlighting those rather than your shortcomings will assist you as you continue to transition into motherhood.
Be Kind and Patient with Yourself:
It took you 9-10 months to create, carry, and deliver your precious baby. Expect an even longer timeline for your own birth and development. Having an opportunity to redefine yourself and align yourself with the next version of you should take time, planning, and a little effort. The birth of your children provides you with a unique opportunity to re-write your journey so be intentional with how you spend your time and plan for the future.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.