How I Found Me Again

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When we dream of motherhood we often think of the child. What will he/she look like? What will their personality be like? And of course, the age old question: will they sleep??

But more often than not, we don't stop to think about what will happen to us as women once that child is born. How will we be different? And not just the obvious things like the changing shape of our bodies. But the real deep stuff. Who we are. At our core. Who will be once we become mothers? Will motherhood supersede all? Will there be anything left for us to have to ourselves?

A lot changes when you have children. Your needs become secondary and taking the best care possible of the adorable tiny humans takes precedence in your life. Now all this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s both necessary and normal. But it does often lead to neglect of another important person in your life: yourself. I know it did for me.

Being a mother is the most important role in my life, caring for my children and shaping the experiences of their lives feels like a monumental task and one I’m prepared to spare no expense on. I want to give my children a good foundation and raise them into kind, compassionate and capable adults.

But at the same time, my own needs haven’t vanished. Just because I’m a mom now doesn’t mean that my previous self has gone and disappeared. I’ve just been altered. In an incredible way, but nonetheless, I remain in there, buried somewhere deep among the diapers and the meals and the countless other mothering duties I have to get through.

“Who am I?” is a question I’ve thought about a lot since becoming a mother. Am I mother? A wife? A daughter? A sister? A friend? A writer? I suppose of course, I’m a combination of all of these things, but how do you juggle that many identities? Which one comes first? I’ve struggled to answer this myself. Who am I indeed?

It’s normal to fall into a bit of an identity crisis when you become a mother. Motherhood strips you raw, it gives you both incredible highs and incredible lows. And somewhere in between is that tiny part of yourself that you struggle to hold onto. Pre-kids you might have been an ambitious career woman, who loved her job and honed her skills. Now, you’re balancing the needs of someone who is a tad bit (or a lot) high maintenance, and your goals/desires may have fallen a bit by the wayside.

For me, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. Mothering has empowered me in a way I didn’t expect, but also left me incredibly vulnerable and open. One day, I feel like superwoman, tackling problems, running errands and getting things done like a pro. Other days, full of meltdowns and frozen pizza dinners I feel like a total failure.

So are you the same person you were before you had kids? Or has your entire existence shifted in a direction you couldn’t have anticipated?

I think it’s safe to say you’ll never be the same person you were before you had children. There’s just no way to replicate that. But by embracing everything motherhood has to offer, including all the changes both good and bad, you can carve out a new identity for yourself.

You’re different yes, but in the best way possible. You are a stronger, more caring, compassionate and all around more capable woman than you were before. You are raising and nurturing the next generation of humans, don’t ever forget the significance and impact of your role as a parent.  Raising children is no easy task and so important on so many levels and I think respecting and giving credit to the role we play in society is pivotal in changing the societal picture of motherhood (and your own identity.)

Think of all the things you’ve done for your children, really stop to think about it and take a moment to give yourself the credit you deserve. As mothers, we’re programmed to put the needs of our children before our own, causing our own feelings of identity and self-love to get lost in the shuffle. But it’s ok to identify as many things, you don’t have to choose just one. Becoming a mother will never negate the other experiences that shape your identity. Motherhood simply forces you to restructure the order of these things in your life.  

For me personally, having my daughter and becoming a mom has made a profound impact on me. It allowed me to finally see myself in a different light.

My identity has indeed changed. It’s shifted to make room for this new monumental role of being a mother. Your identity is an ever-changing entity. Just as every experience I had prior to this shaped the person who I was, becoming a mother has shifted my identity once again. I’m definitely different but I’d like to think that my core remains the same. I’m still a wife, daughter, sister and friend. And now I’m also a mom.

I’ve embraced this new component of my identity and all that it brings. Motherhood has allowed me to find courage in my own convictions. I’m stronger, more empathetic, more direct and confident. Ironically, when I least expected it, through the haze of motherhood I discovered who I really am.