7 Tips for Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood

The motherhood identity crisis isn’t surprising given that from the moment a woman learns she is expecting a baby, her world changes. The life that was once devoted to personal interests and success has now been shifted to focus solely on the development of and love for her child. This transition often leaves new mums feeling confused, uncared for, and questioning the person she has become. Losing yourself in motherhood is very common, not just for first time mums but for all mums. All of a sudden you could be 3 children down the line and realise it’s time to start rediscovering yourself after motherhood.

 

If you are a new parent who is struggling to remember her identity since becoming a mum, you are in the right place! In this article, you will learn that you are not alone and that there are ways to find yourself while still excelling in your role as a mother. 

 

We will also discuss the top 7 ways to remember your identity after you become a mum.

What is the Motherhood Identity Crisis? 

An identity crisis involves a person questioning their sense of self or place in the world and the concept originates in the work of developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, who believed that the formation of identity was one of the most important conflicts that people face. The motherhood identity crisis is when a woman specifically experiences this crisis of questioning themselves, after having a baby.

 

Your sense of identity comes from the things around you including friendships, relationships, career, work, culture, hobbies, habits and lifestyle. Having a baby can impact all of these! As soon as a woman becomes a mum, or in fact as soon as she discovers she’s pregnant, her life begins to revolve around the baby and their needs. Pregnant women quickly learn that the things which were once in their control, no longer are. Things like when you will use the bathroom, which foods you will eat for breakfast, or how many hours of sleep you get at night, simply are not up to you. 

 

We’re used to having everything in order as an adult, to having lists for everything, knowing when car tax is due, when the mortgage needs renewing, using spreadsheets to track and plan things, to having a cleaner coming on certain day, and to everything is in order. Often our work life is balanced and organised, we know what need to be done when, and things are calm, methodical, and running smoothly. Maybe you’ve worked in the same job for years, are confident in what you do on a daily basis, confident in your ability to meet and succeed expectations. Becoming a mum is like starting a new job that you’re not experienced in. You turn up for your first day, excited to do an amazing job, enthusiastic, and energised. But then baby comes along and you find yourself questioning everything about who you are, your capabilities, and wondering why you were picked for the job and who you are now? 

 

Babies don’t didn’t get the memo of when they’re ‘supposed’ to sleep, or when to get sick so it fits around your deadlines, they don’t realise the importance of pooing earlier than when you’re about to walk out the door, they can’t be programmed, organised or fitted into the smooth life you’re used to! Suddenly the hour we used to take to get ready is reduced to a quick spray of deodorant and dry shampoo, and our routines, hobbies, and social events are a distant memory!

 

That confidence, comfort, and balance you had before is a distant memory.

 

It’s not surprising then that these changes lead to mums feeling the motherhood identity crisis and losing yourself in motherhood. Before you know it, months (or even years) have gone by and you can’t remember who you are as an individual away from being a mother.

 

It’s normal to resent losing yourself in motherhood and to feel a commotion of mixed emotions. These might include: 

 

Loneliness

 

Social media has taught mothers that to be a good mum, we have to ignore any reality of hardship or challenge. While this looks great on a screen, it makes the motherhood experience even more isolating, as mothers strive to hide the most real, most unifying parts of themselves. 

 

Motherhood can be very lonely- which can make feelings of longing and sadness even more intense than they would otherwise be. If you have experienced this feeling, please know that you are not alone. 

 

Doubting Doris

 

As mums, we all have that voice in our head that second-guesses every decision we make. We call this voice “Doubting Doris”. Doris not only makes us feels confused about our choices, but it makes us feel insecure as a parent. This insecurity can leave mums wondering if they were truly cut out for this role. 

 

Negative self talk (self sabotage)

 

No matter the stage of life you are in, you have probably experienced bouts of negative self-talk. Negative self-talk can seem harmless, but it can impact your confidence, morale, and ability to tune into what it is you are trying to achieve or where you are aiming to be. 

 

If you have experienced any of these emotions, know that you are not alone.

 

 

7 Tips for Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood

 

 

1. Prioritise Adult Relationships 

During motherhood, especially in the early days, relationships with adults, including spouses, friends and family, get placed on the backburner. It’s important to be intentional and make time to connect with these important people in your life.

 

Journal Prompt

What would carving out some time with other adults give you?

What do you need to do to make this happen?

 

2. Create Time for Something You Love

It’s easy to get caught up in being a mum and all the ‘tasks’ that come with that and for it feeling impossible to choose to take time out for anything else. While you might not be able to do all the things you once enjoyed, start with creating time for something you love doing, to prevent losing yourself in motherhood. Try to make this a regular habit, whether it’s going to the gym, knitting, or pottery classes, by planning childcare in advance, making a booking and talking about it.

 

3. Ditch the Mum Guilt

New mums are particularly susceptible to mum guilt, continuously worrying about making mistakes and feeling we need to always get things ‘right’. These expectations often come from personal insecurities to opinions from family members to social media jealousy to pressures from friends or work and society as whole. Letting go of mum guilt can help women rediscover themselves after motherhood. Read this post for tips on overcoming mum guilt. 

 

Journal prompt

What are my expectations of myself as a mother and where are they coming from?

How could you show yourself some love & understanding?

What thought processes are you holding on to that would be safe to release?

 

4. Start Self-Care

The first step to regaining your identity as a person outside of your role as a mum is remembering that you matter! As mums, we often feel guilty for taking time away from others to focus on ourselves. We must remember that, to be the best parent we can be, we need to take care of ourselves too.

 

Self-care is not simply taking time out for a bath, going to do a food shop, or meeting your own daily needs – it’s deeper than that.

 

Journal prompts:

What does self care look like for you? 

What would that give you?

What step can you make today to make that happen?

 

5. Ask for and Accept Help 

As mums, there’s a tendency to feel like we have to do everything ourselves, but leaning on others and sharing responsibilities can help with rediscovering yourself after motherhood as it enables you to take the pressure of being mum off a little. 

 

If you are still struggling, do not hesitate to seek out professional help. The right mentor will support you as you evaluate your values, beliefs, needs, and behaviours in a way that embraces who you are today!

 

Journal prompts?

What can you let go of on the list of “to do’s”?

What would help or sharing responsibility look like?

What’s preventing you from asking for help or accepting help?

What one thing could you do today to feel more supported?

 

6. Adjust your expectations

 

Things are never going to be the same as how they used to be. That is a fact. You are changed, and you are stronger than ever for it! Just because things will be different doesn’t mean they won’t be equally as wonderful- it’s just a new kind of wonderful.

 

Journal prompts:

Who are you making your decisions for?

What result do you want from the decisions?

Who do I want to be today?

 

7. Connection

Sometimes it can be hard to remember exactly what it was about the past version of yourself that you miss so much. By finding people you can connect with and surrounding yourself with your village and people who hold the same values, people can meet you at this stage of your journey. This enables you to connect on a deeper level and move through the journey into motherhood together. 

 

Journal Prompts:

What does connection look and feel like for you right now?

What baby classes are running in your area? (Happity is a great place to start searching!)

Who can you identify with and truly be you around?

What benefit would this give you?

Overcome Losing Yourself in Motherhood Today

If the thought of trying to rebuild your identity outside of motherhood is overly daunting right now, that’s okay! Wait until it is something that you have a genuine desire for. Motherhood is an all-encompassing, incredible role that can leave mothers feeling empowered and proud of the things they accomplish.

 

However, if you’d like a helping hand to rediscover yourself after motherhood, I would love to support you. You can explore my services here or email me to chat about how best I can be your helping hand.

 

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