People often talk about motherhood as a before and after. What we were like before the baby and then who we became after, as if in an instant we changed on a molecular level. I’ve heard some people describe it this way, but I know that it is much more typical that matrescence is a process and there is always so much more to each of our stories.
If we think about becoming a mother, or matrescence, as a whole stage of life like adolescence, when can we say that we have fully arrived on the other side? What defines or separates the before and after from one another?
I think the reality is that it will be different for each of us, and it will rarely be one experience, but rather an amalgamation of experiences that shape a new version of ourselves.
With motherhood, this view of ourselves might be influenced by a changing set of priorities. As we shed layers that we no longer have the space for and claim needs we know we must hold onto to survive, we slowly see who we are - for now.
I think it’s so important to acknowledge that this process is not always a pretty one, rich with empowerment and confidence. It is often painful and confusing and feels like many of the growing pains of adolescence, when relationships shift, bodies change, hormones run wild and we can’t even imagine what the next stage will hold because, well, we are so "in it."
It’s hard living in a new body, with very little personal time and an expanding and constant set of demands. It’s hard feeling like our stamina and confidence are constantly being tested by a tiny human who knows just which buttons to press to upset us. And it’s especially hard doing the motherhood work without acknowledgement or support.
That is why we are here. This is the place to feel and be seen.
We're here with you in the mushy middle of matresence as we slowly piece our new identities together - together.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.