For many, the weeks after giving birth are a time of bliss. However, for many more mamas they are a time of identity crisis. This is especially true after the newness of a tiny family member wears off and the new mom is left to find her new place in the family and in society.
After all, for nine months the mother’s identity has likely been wrapped up in her pregnancy and the upcoming arrival. With the baby’s arrival, this all goes away, and many times, so do former hobbies and even friendships. This means that in addition to caring for her new little one, the mom must also find herself.
If you find that you are in this difficult place after having your little one, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Here are my tips.
Make Time For You
First and foremost, you simply must make time for yourself. Read, write, take walks, and give yourself the time and space to reflect on life. This is perhaps the very best thing you can do for yourself during this transitional period.
Explore Your Interests
Did you have a cool hobby when you were younger? Is there something you've always wanted to do? Perhaps you aren’t interested in anything in particular, but your friends all go to a class together. Make time to explore things and find hobbies and interests that you are passionate about.
Keeping friends after giving birth can be difficult. This is especially true if your pre-pregnancy friends didn't follow you into parenthood. Therefore, it is important that you carve out time specifically for cultivating friendships. This might mean making new friends who are also parents, finding people with similar interests at a class or event, or just keeping up with old friends.
Whichever direction you go, make sure your friends still make you happy and allow you to be you.
Create Plans to Better Yourself
Now that baby is here, it’s time to start looking to the future. If you’ve been planning on going back to school, starting a new business, or working toward a career advancement, this time of change and redefining yourself might be the ideal point in your life to begin to work toward these things.
This doesn't mean you should jump in feet first while still adjusting to the new baby, but making plans and taking baby steps in the right direction is a great way to get the ball rolling and give yourself a new sense of who you are.
Reconnect with Your Significant Other
Your partner is your partner for a reason. They know you inside and out, and they love you for who you are.
For this reason, your significant other is the perfect person to turn to when you are no longer sure who you are. Make sure to reconnect with your partner as often as possible with long, deep conversations and good snuggle sessions.
Keep a Journal
Sometimes sorting things out in our minds can feel overwhelming. Everything seems to get jumbled up, and finding any sort of path through it might seem impossible. For this reason, it is always a good idea to keep a journal. This will allow you to get your thoughts and plans out on paper and out of your over crowded brain.
With these ideas on paper, defining who you are will be made a lot easier.
Hire a Doula
Many of these suggestions require that you have a bit of extra time here and there. However, motherhood is a 24/7 gig, and that means finding time to seek out hobbies or friendships—or even just be alone—isn’t always possible without help.
Hiring a postpartum doula might just be the perfect solution to this problem. A doula will gladly care for your little one while you spend some time journaling or chatting with girlfriends. On top of that, postpartum doulas have experience working with new mothers and may have bits of advice to help you find your place in the world once again.
Are you considering bringing a postpartum doula into your home? I’d love to chat about how I might be able to help you and your family adjust during this beautiful yet challenging time.