Parenthood is a journey filled with unparalleled joy, but it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most significant struggles echoed by new parents is the profound impact on their identity. It's a rollercoaster that can leave you feeling a bit lost, emotionally charged, and questioning, "Who am I now?"
In this insightful guest blog from Skye A.K.A Mummy's Mental, we delve into the multifaceted layers of identity transformation experienced by parents. Whether it's grappling with changes in body image, redefining career priorities, navigating the dynamics of family relationships, or witnessing shifts in personality traits, the journey is both unique and universal.
One of THE biggest struggles I hear from new parents is with their identity.
Identity is the sense of who we are as an individual and our role within society.
It can contribute to your self-worth so it's no wonder it can leave you feeling confused & emotional.
Many have honestly shared that they feel they've completely lost themselves since becoming a parent. Some 8 years on, still trying to figure out 'who am I?' outside of parenthood. Others explain the birth of their child has taken them on a journey to finding themselves!
Either way, there is no denying it's a HUGE change to embark on.
Let's look deeper at some experiences we might face.
@missyhilton opens up about what an impact her "new body shape" has taken on her sense of identity loss. "I don't know my own style anymore either. I can't dress my new body or find confidence in what I'm wearing."
Whereas others shared that they've more confidence in their body now than ever, they're "proud of what their body has gone through and the home it provides for children".
A number of Mothers from the 'Mummy's Mental village' explain they've had enjoyable careers or have had roles in which they've excelled but since becoming a Mum, other priorities have naturally taken over. They've all united in the frustrating feeling of having to 'Mother like you don't work & work like you're not a Mother'.
Some have made the decision not to return to work and therefore feel as though their entire life has changed, from their routine to their financial contribution to their worth as a person to society!
Numerous others have found since becoming a parent, working has actually given them a new sense of purpose. They've found themselves equipped with broader skills and more passion to set an example of a good work ethic & to provide for their family. They've been more grateful for working than ever before as it gives them such a clear sense of achievement.
Whilst others, including myself, have felt compelled to release the inner entrepreneur within them.
It's supported us in leaning towards a career more aligned with their new parent title.
Another unexpected experience for many first-time parents is how having children of your own can either bring you closer to your families or cause tension within your families. It might result in newfound respect for your elders who have gone through this journey before. Alternatively, it could become a challenge to understand differences in parental styles & choices. The same can be said for your relationship.
Lastly, some described that prior to having children they were the "life of the party, easy going, big character with a sense of humour to refusing to go out past 8pm, prioritising nap times & much more prudent". Although now she is completely happy with that transition, her & loved ones struggled with accepting this alteration. Some have shared feeling robbed of who they are.
Personally, I feel that Motherhood is helping me remove a mask. I feel as though I'm about to evolve into many different versions of myself over the years to come & I look forward to seeing who I become. I'm under no obligation to stay who I am today & am confident in growing & learning alongside my children.
Probably one of the most moving perspectives was from @sara.brightonmum.
She explains how it's motivated her, aiming to be her best self.
"I lost my identity because I belonged to my daughter. I see my children as versions of myself. They learn from what is observed. I had to create the best version of myself to give them my identity."
There is no right or wrong way to feel
In whichever way you can relate, change can be very unsettling. Please know there is no right or wrong way to feel. Every single person's journey will look different and yet the same. Each experience is truly our own.
If you liked this blog, you can read more at www.mummysmental.co.uk or have your input over on social media @mummysmental.