Adjusting to Your New Identity as ‘Mum’

There are so many ways you can prepare for becoming a Mum, but adjusting to your new identity as ‘mum’ may take time. Your body will know what to do – you can teach your hands to change a nappy, your arms to cradle your baby, your legs to take you to their cot when they cry out for you in the night. There is a deep change in the very essence of your self the moment your baby is born, and getting used to that won’t happen as quickly as your baby’s arrival.

Going from being ‘you’ to being someone’s mother is a pretty significant transformation. The ‘You’ is not lost forever, but it’s fair to say it can sometimes get buried in the glorious, joyful, gritty, exhausting, and beautiful role of being a mother.

Simple things like being able to go for a run when you feel like it, or have a sleep-in when you’re tired, going out for dinner or even to a movie are no longer easy options. It can feel like you are living in a transition between who you used to be and who you have become; that you have surrendered control of your life.

It’s important to remember that you still have control of your life. Your life is different, but it is still yours, and just requires a different approach. Your decisions will always be influenced by your child, which is as it should be; but it’s not easy.

Here are a few ideas to help with the transition:

Schedule in Some Alone Time

Leave the baby with your partner or another family member. Go for a walk, have a bath, go for a coffee on your own, take time out to read a book, or get your hair or nails done. Do something that you used to love doing before you became a Mum, that you can’t do with your baby in tow. A couple of hours of alone time can be incredibly freeing, as you will realise that you’ve not surrendered everything, you just have other priorities at the moment.

Make a Plan

You needn’t feel that you’ve given up your career or your passion in order to have a baby. Logistically it may feel harder, but if you make a plan for when you can return to work or return to whatever it is that makes you feel like yourself, it will help you to see that things are just on hold, rather than finished altogether. Be sure to keep in touch with work friends and colleagues while you’re away so you an feel excited and optimistic about both being at home with your baby, and returning to work when the time is right.

Make Time to See Pre-baby Friends

Your mother’s group is a fantastic support network, but it’s all about the babies. Be sure to catch up with your friends that don’t have kids, without your bub if possible. These friends, no doubt, will ask about your baby, but they wont want to spend the entire catch up talking sleep deprivation, feeding times and baby milestones. By spending time with friends who know you, you’ll feel more like ‘you’ and less like ‘Mummy’.

It may feel a bit like an identity crisis, but if you view it as a new beginning, the possibilities are endless. Reclaim the best of yourself, let your child bring out other new and wonderful qualities that   were hiding within the ‘pre-kids you’. But be kind to yourself; having an entire new human being in your life, that changes you irrevocably, takes time to get used to. Persevere, and you will find your new and wonderful normal.

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