“It feels like my life is now just all about the baby and my partner.”
“I also have a career that I put on hold.”
“It’s hard not being able to earn my own money.”
“Why is my husband not taking care of our baby even during his time off at work?”
“I’m tired too.”
“I’m just sad. I miss my old life.”
These were some of the sentiments my fellow first time moms said during our chats yesterday. These statements are so relatable, at one point in time you and I may have felt and said the same thing. It feels unfair, but there’s also a feeling of guilt because it’s as if when a mother starts thinking about herself then she loves her child less.
There’s the challenge of finding the perfect balance between trying to fulfill your personal needs and wants and giving everything for your child. It’s a question of what things will be prioritized over the other. Everyday you keep thinking of how to make it work.
I’m still figuring it out myself, but allow me to share with you three things I have been doing to help ease the motherhood discomfort.
OWN IT! I AM NOW A MOM.
During my pregnancy and right after giving birth, it felt like a part of me faded away. Not wanting to let go of who I was added difficulty to the adjustment to motherhood. I missed being with my single friends and colleagues. I missed going out and having fun any day, up till we felt like it. It’s like there’s this illusion that soon I can still go back to exactly how things were before my baby came. But having a baby means the priorities have changed. The lifestyle will change. I am now responsible for another living person who needs to depend on me for many years starting the moment she was conceived. The way I felt changed, the moment I have accepted my new self. It’s like graduating in life. It doesn’t mean doing entirely the opposite of everything before the baby came. It just meant meeting for lunch with friends instead of dinner, or waiting for the baby to sleep before drinking a bottle or two of beer. It’s still me, but a newer version, a better one.
HAVE REAL AND HONEST CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS.
Doing this is actually still more for yourself than for them. The more you talk about what you are experiencing with complete honesty, the easier it is becoming part of your new normal. We are so quick to answer, “I’m fine.” It’s a super short sentence that doesn’t actually speak truth. Motherhood is not a walk in the park, and it’s okay to discuss with other people how difficult it is. Which parts of it are challenging? What I’ve noticed when talking to other moms, is that we’ve got situations that may be a problem for one and just easy peasy for the other. Discussing it with each other is the way we’re able to give and get support, because then we can share ideas and let other moms know that they’re not alone and there are things that can be done. It’s the same with husbands. Be patient in starting honest conversations. Acknowledge that they share the experience too, but from a different point of view. While we probably tease each other of who’s the kid’s favorite parent, it doesn’t really have to be a competition. Our husbands are our best and top pick for teammate. Let them know that.
MOMMY, TAKE BABY STEPS. DON’T GIVE UP, YOU’LL LEARN TO “WALK” SOON.
I really make an effort to not overthink things. I am used to setting personal targets and doing regular self-evaluation. I don’t think it’s working well for my transition to motherhood because it makes me set expectations that I’m not able to fulfill. I just end up getting disappointed. Instead of counting what I am not able to do, I try to focus on what I am able to do. And then I try again tomorrow. This is exactly the reason why I decided to start blogging because this is my way of trying to do something with my new self, and understanding who I will be as a mom.
All of these are related to what is called matrescence, meaning the process of becoming a mother. We’re actually encouraged to learn more about it, talk about it, and understand that it’s a normal life stage for a woman who’s transitioning to motherhood. More articles are easily accessible online when you Google matrescence. I first encountered the term through this Ted Talk video, then decided to do some research about it. It’s actually enlightening and it helps to know.