Sometimes called the “New Mom Crisis,” it’s easy to feel you’ve lost a part of who you are after giving birth. No matter what you see on the big screen and TV, transitioning from non-parent to mom is not always easy. It’s normal to feel some anxiety at this big change in your life.
It seems like all of your being, your emotions, and your hormones are being used to nurture your new child. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the same things you enjoyed before pregnancy. You can still have your own adult relationships, and you’ll still be the same person with unique interests and ideas.
Here are some suggestions for ways to keep your identity after having a baby.
1. Create a Support System
All new moms need a support system. When you’re overwhelmed and unable to take a break, that’s when you feel the cracks forming in your identity. You start to forget what it is that used to make you happy since all your time is monopolized by your baby. It’s perfectly healthy to ask for help when you need it. Having a support system doesn’t make you any less of a mom.
You need a strong group of friends and family you can talk to and rely on. Studies show this support leads to lower instances of depression and anxiety in new moms. This system will keep you from losing yourself, even when things get tough.
2. Find Your “Normal”
One of the hardest parts of the transition to motherhood is losing your old routine. Suddenly you have to cater all of your waking hours to your baby, and this can leave you feeling disrupted. Instead, try to return to whatever “normal” was for you before you gave birth. This might mean going to the store by yourself while your partner watches the baby, or even just taking a bath before bed every night. These routines will help you remember that your wants and needs are still important.
3. Recognize the Stages
When you’re raising your baby, every stage has a time limit. While it might seem stressful to be up half the night breastfeeding the baby right now, remind yourself this is only temporary. None of these stages you’re experiencing will last forever. It’s okay to feel frustrated by the lack of sleep or a particularly challenging stage in your baby’s development, just remember that it’s only temporary.
4. Treat Yourself
You’ve been through a lot. Not only has your body gone through major changes, but your mindset has undergone a lot of pressure. As a new parent, there is a lot of fear of doing the wrong thing or not being good enough. Don’t let these thoughts get in the way or hold you back from giving yourself a break when you need it.
You might want to spend a quiet night in with your spouse where your parents take the baby for the night. You might want to shop online for new undergarments that make you feel confident in your new body. These little things add up.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself
In the digital age, it’s hard to avoid comparing yourself to other moms. With mommy blogs, Instagram posts, and our own Facebook feeds, there is a lot of pressure to be absolutely perfect. Self-judgement is a dead end street. You’ll only find yourself feeling worse.
You don’t have to have a Pinterest-worthy outfit for the baby every day, and you don’t have to be a master at creating educational games. Just be the best mom you can be, on your own terms. It also might help to cut out social media for a while.
Motherhood Your Way
There is no single “correct” way to be a mom. You deserve to have your own interests, likes, and enjoyments outside of parenting that remind you of your own identity. This all relies on your support system, your ability to ask for help, and your perspective.
As a new mom, you have a lot of room to grow. Think of this exciting time in your life, not as a limit, but a way to learn more about yourself and what it is that makes you unique. Your identity doesn’t have to change just because you’ve given birth. Avoiding the new mom identity crisis just takes some shifting in perspective.
About the Author:
Lauren Webber is a former HR manager and lover of psychology who now runs daintymom.com among her other pursuits. Her interests range from the corporate world to health and self-care to home improvement and parenting. Now if only someone came up with a way to extend the day by about 20 more hours, she could dedicate herself to all of these equally and constantly.
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