There are countless blogs entitled “How Motherhood Changes You” and they’re a lovely read. They usually have an air of positivity, containing phrases such as “motherhood changes you; for the better”. Which is true… for some people. However this isn’t something you need to read when you’ve just had a baby and all the things you thought you would feel just aren’t there. It also isn’t what you need when you’re exhausted, deflated and deeply mourning the person you once were.
I’m here to tell you honestly, how motherhood changes you and how to handle those changes.
Some women get their body shape back after having a baby but for the majority of us, we change quite drastically and often doubt we will ever look like we used to. Lots of women suffer incontinence, have gained weight, loose skin, stretch marks and scars. Lots of women also really struggle to lose the weight that they gained during pregnancy which can be a difficult thing to walk through.
Often our joints are weaker, especially our pelvis, back and knees. We find exercise more difficult and the image we had in our minds of running about with our child feels like a pipe dream.
So yes, we are different physically and it’s tough. Here’s some suggestions on how we can handle these changes:
If you were pregnant you will be more than familiar with the term (and feelings) of “mum brain”. It’s also referred to as brain fog, pregnancy brain and so on. I’m sure you will also know that it’s a real thing. It’s believed that our cognitive memory is kind of traded in for deeper empathic abilities. Further evidence that our biology - and our bodies - are indeed, miraculous. The downside of this miracle is the guilt that comes from our wanting to focus some of our attention on ourselves, our work, our wellbeing.
Studies have shown that our brains are still the same even two years after the birth of our babies.
It really is no wonder that we feel so different as mothers; because we are different. Think about how difficult it is to hear ‘sad news’ before pregnancy compared with after.
These hormonal and emotional changes can be hard; but here are some things we can do to handle them:
Motherhood brings many other changes: changes to our values, our friendships and relationships. It changes our work or job sometimes, our order of priorities; it changes our life in ways we never imagined.
But if you could take away just one thing I hope it is this: That this new you is beautiful. She has sacrificed much and continues to do so but she is worthy of time, affection, gentleness and care. You do not need to pour your entire heart and soul into motherhood to be a good mum. Give it what you can when you have taken care of you and your needs. You are important, you are worthy; you are beautiful.
Naomie Ella is mum to one tiny little firecracker and founder of Naomie Ella – Motherhood Transitions. An Occupational Therapist, Entrepreneur, Holistic Life Coach and Well-being Mentor for Mum’s. Naomie is on a personal mission to promote positive maternal mental health and wellness for all mothers. Supporting women to thrive and reconnect with who they are now so they can show up with confidence and inner power as they navigate motherhood.
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