Motherhood: Changes and What to Do about Them
Motherhood marks a before and after in a woman's life. Many things change. Therefore, you must make an extra effort, not only to adapt to the new things but also to get the best out of this new stage, which is full of emotions.
Motherhood is a vital stage tinged with both illusion and stress. It’s an important break from the you that you used to know and your new role: the mother role.
Although you may have high hopes for this new role, having to take on responsibilities, interests, and even feelings you didn’t have before can be nerve-racking.
Like all situations in life, you’ll start as a beginner and the environment will make you change.
Being a parent means not just taking care of yourself and your health but also that of another human being which takes up the first spot on your list of priorities.
It’s an immense, splendid, and unconditional act of love. However, at the same time, it can crash with the self-image that you’ve built until now. In reality, motherhood forces you to give up some parts of yourself or to put them on hold at least for a while.
Giving things up comes with an implicit message: you’re no longer as important, which isn’t actually true. But not having as much time or as many resources to take care of yourself as you used to can leave you feeling neglected. And this can substantially affect your self-esteem.
What things does motherhood change?
Being a mother means reinventing your life in many aspects. It’s healthy, as it is desirable, to keep having intimate moments and to try to keep your personality or your interests. But naturally, plans and projects will come up that you’ll have to give up on because they’re not compatible with your current lifestyle.
The good news is that giving up doesn’t mean avoiding them completely. Instead, you can work to adjust them to who you are right now.
Some things that motherhood changes are:
Friends are one of the most vital elements that motherhood can affect. Unless most of your friends have children as well, which would make all of you go through more or less the same changes, then it’s possible that you’re the only one who has to make adjustments.
Time isn’t what it used to be before motherhood. Therefore, you’re less available to do certain activities, such as traveling, going to concerts, or going to the club.
Also, your energy and motivation to do those things also change. Usually, parents feel very tired most of the time, so when they have some free time, they’ll probably want to spend it getting some rest. Thus, social life definitely changes.
Parents start hanging out with other parents, since they have more in common, more things to talk about, and their children can play together. This doesn’t mean that you have to leave your old friends behind. In fact, you should strive to keep them if possible.
To this day, the work-life balance seems impossible. When motherhood comes, a new “employee” is born. The demands of nursing and raising a child make it hard to work and be a mother at the same time.
That’s why many women feel forced to quit their jobs. Others don’t quit but find themselves in a daily tsunami of stress and anxiety. In any case, the hard-working woman you were before motherhood is now a different kind of woman, whose efforts are distributed in other, more important things.
Also, it’s absolutely normal if you don’t consider yourself as attractive anymore; the lack of time can make self-care no longer a priority. Plus, your body changes during pregnancy and after you give birth, so it’s okay if you don’t feel as confident as before. Just keep in mind that you’re different now, as is your life, and that change is beautiful in itself.
Rest and leisure
If you used to get home after work, take a shower, put on some comfy clothes, and watch Netflix, after motherhood you can probably agree that all that changes. There’s another being to take care of, a being that needs you.
Leisure, as we said in the first point, also changes. Plans tend to be more relaxed, at earlier hours, and with different people who better understand your life and whom you can empathize with.
You and your partner basically become a team of caretakers. Ideally, you both should do this in the most organized way possible, since it’s important to still spend some alone time in which you get to be intimate. But the overall context isn’t the same: it’s harder to go out for dinner alone, have uninterrupted conversations, or find time to have sex.
What can you do to keep being yourself?
First of all, you must be confident in who you are. Your personality won’t go away overnight.
To the extent of your capabilities, and always being realistic, you must try to keep being yourself and not let yourself go completely. But also accept the reality and the changes, even if you don’t like them, because that’s the mature thing to do.
Remember to ask for help whenever you need it, without overstepping boundaries. You have your child’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, or nannies. Ideally, your child should spend time with you, but you also need to be in the best emotional shape you can be, and for that, you need time for yourself.
If you feel like it’s becoming too much, just ask for help, take a deep breath, and be with your children once you feel better. There’s no guilt in doing that.
Another option is to plan some alone time. Let your partner take care of the children for a while and then you can do the same for them. The idea here is to help each other, so you should both be aware that no conflict should arise from this.
Although motherhood can be tough, it’s still is a vital change, just like becoming a teenager. The difference is that this change is something you chose to do. It’s important that you see it as a beautiful time in your life. Although some things won’t be the same, others will get you the greatest satisfaction if you just live in the moment.