on loneliness and re-discovering who you are
“How do you feel being a mother now?”
It’s everything and more. The only thing is sometimes I feel like I don’t know who I am outside of motherhood.
I constantly am asking myself, “Who am I?”.
“What do you mean?
You should know who you are now more than ever.”
Exact words from a conversation I recently had about my journey into motherhood.
When I gave birth to my son I had no idea how much it would impact my sense of self and relationship to the world.
No one told me about the unexpected rites of passage in motherhood.
No one told me about the paradox of motherhood.
Sure, I got plenty of unsolicited advice.
“Get plenty of sleep now because you won’t be sleeping later!”
“Kids change relationships so enjoy each other now.”
“The first year is the hardest but it will get better.”
The moment my son was conceived my body knew.
Overnight I felt a psychological shift.
Out of nowhere I had an inkling that I need to be extra mindful of how I was taking care of myself.
Weeks later I found out I was pregnant.
While my intuition was validated from that point on an internal transformation began of my mind, body and spirit.
The unexpected rites of passage no one tells you about.
Nine or so months later I gave birth to my son.
The love I have for him I have never experienced in my entire life.
It brings me to tears.
Tears of joy, pure bliss, home.
The moment I gave birth I also gave birth to a new me and a new life.
My entire being felt foreign to me.
My body had just given birth to a human.
A rite of passage on its own.
About 99.99999% of the time my mind was and is consumed by my son.
There was a surprising loneliness to motherhood that I didn’t expect.
The privilege of being a stay-at-home mom comes with one con.
My socializing with adults is limited and requires more effort.
As a friend of mine said, “I didn’t expect to feel so lonely in motherhood.”
The rite of passage I didn’t expect is how different I would feel.
The identity shift we might experience.
It almost feels like some type of identity crisis.
Outside of motherhood, I have no idea who I am anymore.
The things that I once was passionate about I am no longer.
What once brought me comfort has been replaced by new interests, passions, curiosities.
“Who am I anymore?”, a question I have often asked myself.
I feel like I am on a journey of re-inventing who I am in motherhood.
The woman being birthed is someone new and yet all too familiar.
Birthing a new you.
Motherhood can create a new identity for us.
As Dr. Irena Milentijevic shares in her article motherhood births a new maternal state of mind for us.
We become consumed by our child and our own sense of self and needs get put to the side.
Our “motherhood mind” will be there for the rest of our lives but may not always be front and center.
I remember reading somewhere that we aren’t “losing ourselves in motherhood” but finding ourselves again.
I whole-heartedly agree.
There is a strange paradox to motherhood where we can experience this beautiful gift of life and yet feel confused about who are.
It takes a while to re-define ourselves.
It is a process of re-inventing and re-discovery.
In the last five months I have found there are more moms who feel this way.
I have found communities of moms who want to support and be a gentle witness to each other’s growth.
The gift of motherhood has only forced me to get more creative.
The gift of motherhood is showing me that I have even MORE to give to the world through my process.
We aren’t alone in this journey.
Through the loneliness and identity shifts, perhaps we are like caterpillars in cocoons.
We will come out butterflies and the world will get to see the immense beauty of the mother.