POSTPARTUM RESOURCES

Who Are You Now? How To Cope With Identity Changes After Birth

Coping with identity changes after birth.

 

Motherhood changes you as a person. Whether you just had your first child or third child, how you see yourself and your identity may change after birth.

If you feel like you are struggling to feel like yourself, you are not alone. According to a recent UK study, nearly two-thirds of new mothers felt they had lost their identity since becoming a new parent.

TWO-THIRDS!

Losing Your Identity in the Transition After Childbirth

Suddenly, you are a mom. Or a mom of three. Or a single mom. Or a mom of twins. It all can impact your sense of identity as you adjust to your new role.

You can be excited about all the new parts of you and your life, while also feeling a sense of sadness or loss for the old, pre-baby you.

You may feel sad, angry or resentful – and acknowledging this loss while focusing on gains can help. Remember, grieving your identity and feeling a loss is normal.

It does not mean you are any less happy to have a child or that you are a bad mom. You can feel happy and sad at the exact same time.

Grieving Identity Loss

It’s okay and normal for you to need time to adjust to your new version of you.

As your identity changes after childbirth, it’s often helpful to name any areas of your old self you may be grieving.  Are any of these areas of loss you are feeling?

  1. Privacy
  2. Quiet
  3. Career
  4. Spontaneity
  5. Intimacy
  6. Control
  7. Me Time
  8. Socializing
  9. Predictability
  10. Dreams of being the perfect mother

What else?

Your identity is always changing. You aren’t the same person you were 10 years ago, nor will you be the same person you are now in 10 years. Give yourself time to grieve, adjust and find today’s version of you.

Celebrating Identity Gains

The identity changes you experience after having a child can include a lot of positives. There are likely huge wins and gains that you want to celebrate.

Think of all the ways your baby has changed you for the better. These can be different for everyone, but a few ideas to start you off could include:

  • Gained more patience
  • Realized how strong you really are
  • Have a new feeling of selflessness
  • New love for your child
  • Elevated appreciation or respect for a mother figure in your life
  • Determination to feel the best you can

All of these gains are things to be grateful for. If you are struggling with postpartum depression and/or anxiety, being grateful can reduce your symptoms and improve your overall mental wellness. Learn how gratitude helps in our blog, Can Gratitude Really Help Your Postpartum Depression?

Remember Your Identity is Always Changing

This identity change can impact various roles of your life – as a mom, as a woman, as a partner, as a friend, as an employee, and so on. And it can affect your relationships, your body, your autonomy, your profession, etc.

Remember, if you are new mom with postpartum depression and anxiety, celebrate your gains daily. You are a great Mom.

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