Becoming “Mom”: the Identity Crisis

The Beginning of a Crisis

If you’ve ever read any magazine covers, you know that it’s a big deal to get your body back after having babies. Celebrities seem to do it effortlessly, but it takes most of us peasants a lot longer than 6 weeks.

No one ever talks about the permanent changes that happen after having a baby, and I don’t mean the physical ones. In a way, it’s easier to talk about the physical changes because they are easy to see.

I never knew how much my identity would change after I brought my first baby home. Of course the first few months were spent recovering physically and getting used to taking care of a tiny person. Then, the dust settled, and I realized I didn’t feel the same as I had before.

The tiny person I’d brought home really disrupted my life. He woke me up during the night, demanded food every few hours, and made sure it took twice as long to get ready to go anywhere. I knew those things were normal, and I did all right figuring them out. Still, there was always a nagging feeling the back of my mind that I’d never be free again.

Who Am I?

Over the next few years (and a few children later), I realized that I’d been going through a little identity crisis. I worried a lot about how I’d changed, and it kept me up at night sometimes. I wondered:

  1. Did I destroy my own identity by becoming a mom? What remained of the person I’d been before?
  2. How can I get by without any external judge of my value? As a student for many years, I’d always gotten grades to tell me how I was doing. Who’s going to tell me how I’m doing now?
  3. Is is bad that all my hobbies have to do with homemaking, or should I seek out some new ones that are only for me? If they only benefit me, is that excessive or selfish?

The New Me

Over the next few years, I slowly came to realize the answers to these questions.

  1. The original “Sacha” is still there. Being a mom just added another layer. Though that role takes up a lot of my time, there’s no need to fear that it will consume me.
  2. My value has always been the same, whether or not someone tells me how I’m doing day-to-day. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t rely on others’ gratitude to measure how well I’m doing as a mom. If I wait to hear enough “thank you’s”, I’ll spend a lot of time feeling worthless.
  3. Having hobbies that also benefit my family is awesome. Almost everything I do comes back to my family in some way, and that’s a good thing. I do think it’s important to have at least one hobby that has nothing to do with the kids, so I started going to a weekly yoga class.

It’s because of being a mom that I’ve found myself. The hardest part is remembering that my identity as “Sacha” hasn’t been lost at all, just repurposed into something more. That’s something I can not only appreciate, but embrace.

My friend Cindy who took this picture is now a published freaking author! 🙂 Click the photo to see her blog.

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