“When I became a new mom, it was as though I disappeared as a person,” Ida nervously chuckled, sharing that she felt trapped in one place, nursing all the time. “One day a well-meaning person—I won’t say who—took a picture of me with my son. Half of my face was missing from the picture and he said, ‘Oh this is great. I’ll just crop you out.’”
The day your baby is born is a transforming day. You start that day as you. And you end the day as a mother.
You and your life are forever changed.
Your life changed in an incredible, wonderful way. But you still may feel like screaming to the world, “No, don’t crop me out. I’m still here too. Remember?”
Ida isn’t the only new mom who felt herself disappear. “I felt like I went one day from being a person, to the next day being a mom and just a mom,” Sandy shared, explaining that for the first six weeks, she always had the baby with her, “And I felt like such an imposter as a mom. I just didn’t connect to that identity.”
In the struggle to sleep and breastfeed/pump all the time, it’s hard to even feed yourself, let alone spend time being you in the world. You start out with no experience as a mom, and when you do see people it’s as though all they see or can talk about is the baby. And, you’re suddenly separated from your job, friends, social life, and even your routine errands. It’s no wonder it can feel like you and your old life just disappeared.
But don’t worry too much, if your new identity doesn’t fit like a glove, right away.
Sandy explained how finally, six weeks in, she began to reappear to the rest of the world, when she went for a hike by herself, for the first time. “The other hikers said hello. They didn’t know anything about me. They didn’t know I had a baby. I was just a woman on a hike. And, I really liked it,” she shared. “Then suddenly it hit me—this is still part of my identity. This isn’t impossible to do.”
Ida also found her stride with her new identity as a mom. She didn’t feel imprisoned in her apartment with a baby on her breast, all the time, anymore. Instead, she became very comfortable with nursing. In fact, she continued to breastfeed exclusively, and at one-and-a-half years in, she’s doing great and has no intention of stopping any time soon. She made friends with a new close groups of moms, nurtured her relationship with her husband, and treasured getting to watch her little boy grow. “I’m just so grateful I can be a stay-at-home mom,” she shared, “I’m so grateful to spend this time with him.
As for Sandy, today, she’s more confident than ever with her identity. She’s killing it at work as a successful business woman, she’s still hiking, and she describes herself as frenzied about how much she loves her son. “Now, I’m like, ‘Don’t fuck with me,’” she says standing up straight and raising her voice, “I’m a mom”.
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