Rediscovering yourself after motherhood is a lot harder than first time moms imagine. It is very easy to lose yourself in motherhood without realizing it. In this article, you will see some of the easiest ways to discover the new you once you become a mom.
Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom losing your identity, there are steps you can take to find your way back to yourself again.
The most important way to rediscover yourself postpartum is by focusing on your mental well-being. It all starts in the mind. That is, after all, how all identity crisis begin. Postpartum identity crisis is a real thing and can affect any new mom.
What is postpartum identity crisis?
During the postpartum period, a woman usually faces a crisis of identity and self-confidence. Postpartum identity crisis is a term used to refer to the feelings of inadequacy, confusion and/or insecurity that develop when a woman becomes a mother. It is no wonder that feelings like these arise. Going through pregnancy and having a baby are major life events that forever change a woman’s life as she knows it.
How do mothers lose their identity?
Some of the big changes that a mother has to navigate in the postpartum period are:
- Loss of personal space to some extent as they become attached at the hip to baby by necessity
- Loss of ability to control their own time as much as they used to be able to
- Making the transition into parenthood as a wife or partner
- Change in relationship with friends
- Changes in ability to attain career goals within a desired time frame
The postpartum period greatly influences what a woman’s maternal identity (or lack thereof) is going to be.
So why is maternal identity lost or made negative in the postpartum period? Arguably, it is because of a mom’s natural propensity to put herself last.
Why do moms put themselves last?
- Mom guilt. A woman’s first experience with mom guilt could even be while she is pregnant. She might feel bad lying in bed all day due to hyperemisis for example, instead of going for a walk to stay fit for the sake of her baby.
Mom guilt is such that it might not always make sense to other people. It makes a mom feel awful for doing anything for herself if it means that her baby is not an absolute priority.
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- Social and personal pressure. Following on from mom guilt, moms also tend to put themselves last as a result of pressure from both wider society and themselves. The media might show you images of the perfect mom being a woman who sacrifices every and anything for her child. You feel the pressure to be that perfect mom and so you put that undue pressure on yourself.
- Learned behaviour. Is putting oneself last just how the women in your family have always mothered? If that’s what you have grown up seeing around you, you are likely to believe it is normal and the right way to mother your child.
How do I find myself again after motherhood?
Finding yourself after motherhood is all about self-discovery. This can be done in several different ways and we will look at some of them below.
- Find an exercise routine that you enjoy. Getting those endorphins going at least once a day will make you feel like you have a better handle on your life. You will at least feel like you have taken control of one aspect of your life – even if it is only for 15 minutes per day. Remember that your postpartum workout can be anything from aerobics to swimming to yoga.
- Use flashcards to motivate yourself daily. My postpartum self discovery mom bundle (pictured below) contains flashcards with positive affirmations specifically tailored to postpartum moms. You need to take charge of encouraging yourself on a daily basis to avoid falling into a pit of loneliness and self-pity.
- Find childcare that you can both trust and afford. This might be a family member if you have reliable family members near you. If not, and if you can afford it, you may have to look at child care agencies. Having even an hour away from your baby helps to put things into perspective and gives you the chance to plan for the future.
- Prioritize self-care. As strange as it may feel, you need to put self-care up there with caring for your baby on your list of most important things to do. It is difficult to do this unless you find some way to make yourself accountable for your own self-care. A self-care challenge is the best way to get started and motivates you to keep going. There is a 14-day postpartum self care challenge included in my Mommy Bundle (pictured below).
- Organize date nights. Rediscovering yourself after motherhood involves your partner too. In the haze of new motherhood, it is important that you do not forget your relationship. Spending any amount of alone time with your husband will remind you of your pre-mommy self and help you to remember what your goals and dreams are.
- Keep a journal. Journaling helps you to identify the ways that you can improve on your days. It is also a great way to document all the positive things going on in your life. Ideally, you should journal prompts in your postpartum period as they give you a guide as to what to journal about when you are living in that postpartum haze. My Self-discovery bundle (below) contains journal prompts that are focused on the postpartum journey.
- Find a hobby. Rediscovering yourself after motherhood requires focusing on the things that bring you joy. An enjoyable hobby will do that for you. It is also important that your kids see that you have your personal interests and are talented in specific areas. It pushes them to think of ways that they are creative too.
- Identify your support system. Who are the people in your life that you can truly rely on in a pinch? Who can you speak to about how you really feel? Identify these people as you will need them sometimes and they can help to remind you to take care of yourself. They can help you on your path to rediscovering yourself after motherhood.
- Cherish the moment. Being lost in motherhood does not have to be a bad experience. Make it positive by consciously taking note of and looking forward to the good moments with your baby. Whether it is the lovely cuddles while breastfeeding or the calm walks together, there will be at least one moment in the day that will make you cherish this time in your life.
Rediscovering yourself after motherhood can be a sweet journey. My advice is to hold on to those moments by recording them. You can keep a mini-journal specifically to make notes of special events in the day with your baby – no matter how insignificant those moments might seem to someone else. Your child will love going through this journal when they are older. I have included specific pages (yellow notes) for this in my Self-discovery bundle below.
See motherhood as your chance to develop into a new version of yourself. You might find that the new woman you discover is even better than the one you used to know!