The Identity Crisis: Transitioning into Motherhood
A few weeks ago, I saw a video posted by Melanie Fiona on her social media, talking about her thoughts on the Sex/Life series on Netflix (if you haven't watched it yet, you should btw). Anywho, in this video, she discussed the grieving process of the transition from maidenhood to motherhood. Honestly, up until that point, I didn't really think about my transition into motherhood - I don't think I even gave myself the time to think about it because I was so wrapped up in everything as it happened. It was only until I watched that video and began reminiscing on my transition into motherhood, that I realized that I never gave myself the opportunity to grieve my lost identity, after all, I'm now a completely different person after giving birth to my baby girl.
This transition, along with everything postpartum, is something that is never really discussed by our mothers, grandmothers or aunts. Why? I may never know. It's so taboo! When your child is born, you're automatically expected to become the best mother, love motherhood, enjoy life and not think about who you were pre-baby... but you do think about it, and it hurts, because becoming a mother (especially for the first time) forces you to re-examine your identity.
When I think about that period between the day baby girl was born to the day my maternity leave ended, it's honestly a blur. It's a cloudy reel of no sleep, countless feedings, diaper blowouts, breastmilk and burp up stains and trying to get some "me time" in the midst of it all. I never took the time to actually think about how my identity changed or how I felt about it. However, I do think that somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I had changed.
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When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I found that it was super difficult to re-adjust to my work life. I was super distracted; I felt like I was floating and of course, I missed my daughter ALOT! I felt like my work life took a huge hit because I was not performing to the standards that I set for myself before I gave birth. I kept forgetting important information and dates, my quality of work felt sub-par and I even forgot how to socialize (I blame that on COVID and being in the house 24/7 with a newborn). I mean… How is it that I can decipher my daughter's different cries but can't remember what I had for breakfast, what date it is or even what I sat down at my desk to do? Everything felt strange. There was even a point when I looked at photos of myself before becoming pregnant and that version of myself seemed so carefree, distant and weird. I knew a transition happened but I didn't realize that so much had changed. There is this maturity "look" that comes with motherhood and I didn't even realize that I got it. I know you moms know what I'm talking about!
Now that I have reflected on this transition and all the uncomfortable changes that came along with it (both with and without my knowledge), I choose to look at this shift in identity in a positive way. At the end of the day, motherhood is not the first time my identity shifted in my life, nor will it be the last, so I might as well embrace it with open arms. Instead of feeling like my life and identity have been disrupted by this beautiful human being, I try to think of it as my identity has expanded (remember I spoke about all those hats I now wear in my previous posts?) And don't get me wrong, it's totally ok to want to reconnect with your past self and relive the glory days, after all, sometimes I still feel small pangs of missing past Brinnelle... but she's a much better version of herself now - mom brains, messy hair, breastmilk-stained vest and all.