Transition to Motherhood
In the midst of researching car seats, evaluating the potential benefits of a baby wipe warmer, and trying to find a comfortable position to sleep, a huge transition is happening in a woman’s life.
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed. But the mother, never. A mother is something entirely new.”
It’s not always an easy transition. There are hormones swirling and feelings of nervousness and fear that can be compounded by lack of sleep.
There can be a sense of loss for the woman you once were and the life you had.
I sometimes think of the experience of becoming a mother as a seasoning of your soul. Showing up for your family, showing up for your kids. Learning a deep patience and experiencing love in action.
There can be tremendous pressure on women to be perfect. I think of myself as a recovering perfectionist. And it’s challenging to know if you are getting this motherhood gig “right.” Being a mother can take you to a deeper place of compassion, and it starts with being compassionate and kind to yourself.
I’ve been reading on this topic, and many experts agree that women have unique biological, hormonal and emotional needs during this time. And that, too often, these needs are not recognized and often neglected. And sometimes there is shame around having such needs.
When I look up quotes on motherhood, which I do fairly often, what comes up a lot is a glorification of the selflessness of mothers. Of putting others first. Of pretty ways of saying to neglect yourself in the service of others.
I think we can do better than that. Of course, we are going to take care of our children. But, I set a challenge to shift our thinking on what our own care can look like.
And I’m not talking about a checklist of things like getting a weekly manicure. I’m talking about communication and open conversations with your partner. About moving your body regularly and putting good food into it. About asking for and receiving help around food preparation, cleaning the house, and child care. About paying attention to your thoughts and how you are talking to yourself. And then putting some kind words in there.
I invite you to think about the importance of regular rest and renewal in a culture that glorifies being busy. About taking time for your passions and interests.
About being kind to yourself. There is still not enough research or bandwidth given to the changes a woman experiences from pregnancy through motherhood. So, be gentle with yourself. There is a lot going on under the surface.