I think you’ll agree with me when I say… motherhood is hard mentally! If you’re a new mom, I get it! Sometimes, even if you’re embarrassed to admit it, you ask yourself, “Wow, have I really fell into depression?”, “I lost my identity, How do I regain it in motherhood?”
Becoming a new mom is so exciting for many, but as the novelty of the baby wears off, worry can set in.
…and for a lot of women, depression and anxiety too.
In this blog post, we will flip this situation around and figure out exactly how to eliminate those “I’ve lost my identity” woes! You’ve got this mama!
But wait, before we jump right in, let me introduce myself. Hi, I’m Char Dion, full-time mom and Certified Motherhood Self-care coach. Through this dedicated blog, I help moms reclaim themselves post-pregnancy and enjoy motherhood to the fullest! If you want 1:1 support to help you find balance as a mom, find solutions to eliminate those feeling of being overwhelmed and support around raising a baby and being a first time mom, click here! I’ll provide you with FREE workbooks and we will set off on a journey of rediscovery! 🙂
This post is all about how to combat those “I’ve lost my identity” thoughts in motherhood
Have you felt lost in motherhood?
It’s not uncommon for you to experience the sense of losing yourself in motherhood or feeling lost in your identity. It’s like a hidden chapter in the storybook of mothers. The protagonist, in this case, the mom herself, faces a dilemma. (hmm…Maybe that’s why Disney kills all the moms off every Princess movies)
Anyways, It happens when your identity and sense of self become dismissed, replaced or even overly centered on mothering responsibilities.
This is at the expense of your own identity and self-care (HUGE NO NO… I’ll tell you why in just a moment)
What does it mean to lose yourself mentally?
Seems like, When a mom vocalizes that she no longer feels like herself, it can be really confusing for others around her. Especially those so enamored with the baby that they don’t even notice the small changes happening to mommy.
As a result, There are a few neglected self-care signs that highlight identity loss in motherhood.
Loss of Personal Interests:
One of the early signs is a loss of interest in hobbies, activities, or pursuits that used to bring joy and fulfillment before motherhood. This can include activities like reading, exercising, or pursuing creative interests.
Most noteworthy, remember that HUGE NO NO I promised I’d talk about. Well, New moms may start neglecting self-care routines. Often, this looks like not getting enough sleep, skipping meals, or ignoring their mental health needs.
If you are experiencing any of these… STOP reading this post… lay in silence of a moment… once you’ve done that come back and finish reading this…
If you haven’t neglected self-care, congrats! In both cases, download the productive mommy bundle. It’s FREE! And I created it based on all the self-care accountability needs for busy mommies like us.
If a new mom finds herself constantly preoccupied with her child’s needs, it can sometimes be a red flag. Worries of strict schedules, and well-being to the point where it consumes her thoughts and actions, it may indicate an imbalance in her identity.
This is something that happened to me (…And sometimes still happens). In the first few weeks as a mother, I burnt myself out with being overly strict and concern for my son. Later, it left be depressed and feeling very isolated (we will get into that next)
Therefore, I warn you NOT to do what I did!
Isolation from Friends and Interests:
So…I kinda just mentioned this. So you should get why we’re talking about this. Moms losing their identity soon after becoming a mom may start distancing themselves from friends or social activities they once enjoyed.
Hence, leading to isolation and a sense of loneliness.
This got to me really bad. And in fact, it snuck up on me. In 10 seconds let me explain how. . .
3 months into motherhood, I spent 90% of my time in my master bedroom with my son. Then, I uprooted myself and my newborn and drove 14 hours across the country to start our new life. It’s safe to say I WAS NUTS! I had preoccupied myself with my son, so much, that I left my family and friends. I felt like I didn’t need anyone, and my son didn’t need anyone either.
We were complete with each other.
I rationalized my son’s tight schedule, routines, and worried constantly for his well-being so much that I Isolated myself in order to focus just on those things.
It hurt me at the end… but that’s a blog post for another day.
Feeling Guilt or Obligation:
Some new moms may experience guilt when they try to do things for themselves or pursue their own interests, feeling that they should always prioritize their child.
This is something I encourge mothers to step away from. It takes a few hard tries, and even a few good baby steps.
But… it must be done guilt free.
Mommy guilt plays a huge role in the reason women feel guilt when they do a little more for themselves. I unpack this in a previous blog post and provide a few affirmations to combat that terrible mom guilt!
Loss of Career Ambitions:
For working moms, a significant shift in priorities or career ambitions may occur, potentially leading to dissatisfaction or regret.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that I moved across the country…
…well… yeah, I was also moving for my career and take a job that was paying 6-figures a year! I was doing this because I felt like I owed it to my son, to provide him a grander life… (this mindset is such a battle for me and something I may share in the future)
A few months alone with my son and working this 6-figure paying job, I realized I was more depressed than ever, It was actually quite scary for a minute.
I made the move to be alone with my pride and joy and I was still unhappy.
I was full of regret!
Difficulty in Self-Expression:
In addition, you my find yourself saying “I lost my identity” when you no longer associate with the activities that allowed you to express your personality. As a result, you may feel like your identity has been overshadowed by the role of being a mother.
Again, resulting in difficulty in expressing personal thoughts, feelings, or desires.
Persistent feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, or depression can be signs of maternal identity crisis. These feelings may stem from an overwhelming sense of responsibility and a lack of self-care.
Difficulty in Setting Boundaries:
New moms may find it challenging to establish boundaries with family members, friends, or their partner when it comes to their parenting role, which can contribute to a sense of loss of control over their life.
Lack of Fulfillment:
A pervasive feeling of emptiness or unfulfillment despite being dedicated to motherhood may indicate that a woman’s sense of self has become unbalanced.
It’s important to recognize these signs because maternal identity loss can lead to burnout, depression, and strained relationships.
It’s essential for new moms to prioritize self-care, maintain a support system, and seek professional help if they feel overwhelmed. Balancing one’s identity as a mother with their personal identity is crucial for overall well-being and can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced life as a mother.
What causes loss of self identity in motherhood?
The loss of self-identity in motherhood arises from various factors. However, the most common that I’ve heard mothers express is the challenges of role transition and societal expectations.
These were no shocker, because I too, resonated with those challenges.
Let me tell you why…
The transition from a woman’s pre-motherhood role to that of a mother is a significant life change (and quite scary). It often requires adapting to new routines and responsibilities, which can overshadow one’s pre-existing identity.
Just think about it for a moment…
Becoming a mother means a major change in obligations, priorities, and daily routines, making the transition difficult.
The most anxiety driven is that it starts a lifetime commitment that can be all-encompassing to fostering and caring for another person. In many cases, this transformation requires that you become a completely different person from who you once were.
That in itself can cause significant emotional and psychological challenges.
So what’s my point?
The duties of motherhood must be balanced with a mother’s personal goals, interests, and sense of self, making motherhood a crucial and life-changing experience that doesn’t result in identity damage from role transitioning.
On the other hand, we have to deal with societal expectations, which we all know is no helper or friend when it comes to self-identifying… Ask any teenager… they will tell you.
Society often places significant pressure on women to be ideal mothers who prioritize their children above all else. This societal expectation can make mothers feel guilty or selfish when they try to prioritize their own needs and desires.
How do I discover myself again?
So, I know what you are thinking at this point…
How do I discover myself after I’ve lost my identity?
40 things For Moms to Rediscover A Sense Of Self:
- Prioritize self-care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine.
- Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from friends, family, or professionals.
- Take short breaks: Even 10 minutes of alone time can make a difference.
- Get enough sleep: Prioritize rest whenever possible.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Nourish your body with good nutrition.
- Exercise regularly: Incorporate physical activity into your routine.
- Practice mindfulness: Try meditation or deep breathing exercises.
- Journal your thoughts: Writing can be therapeutic.
- Connect with other moms: Share experiences and support each other.
- Join a mom’s group: Find a local or online community of moms.
- Pursue hobbies: Revisit activities you enjoyed before motherhood.
- Have a spa day at home: Treat yourself to a DIY pampering session.
- Read a book: Escape into a good story for a while.
- Listen to podcasts: Explore topics you’re interested in.
- Explore new interests: Try something you’ve always wanted to do.
- Plan a date night: Spend quality time with your partner.
- Take a bath: Enjoy a relaxing soak.
- Get a massage: Treat yourself to a professional massage.
- Watch a movie or TV show: Have a movie night at home.
- Practice positive affirmations: Boost your self-esteem.
- Dress up: Put on your favorite outfit and do your hair and makeup.
- Learn something new: Take an online course.
- Volunteer: Give back to your community.
- Take a day off: Arrange for childcare and have a “me” day.
- Declutter your space: A tidy environment can help clear your mind.
- Dance it out: Put on some music and let loose.
- Go for a walk: Get some fresh air and enjoy nature.
- Create a vision board: Set goals and dreams for yourself.
- Connect with your passions: Rediscover what truly excites you.
- Plan a weekend getaway: Even a short trip can be rejuvenating.
- Attend therapy: Talk to a professional about your feelings.
- Write a gratitude journal: Focus on the positive aspects of life.
- Cook a special meal: Experiment with new recipes.
- Take photos: Capture moments with your little one.
- Set boundaries: Learn to say no when necessary.
- Delegate tasks: Share responsibilities with your partner.
- Practice positive self-talk: Combat negative thoughts.
- Make time for friends: Reconnect with your social circle.
- Explore your spirituality: Connect with your beliefs.
- Be patient with yourself: Remember that it’s okay to have ups and downs.
Well, I am launching a course in just 2 weeks which we will conduct a deep dive into boundary setting, birth trauma elimination, and routine planning for the ultimate motherhood and balance experience.
If you are interested in taking my Motherhood Mastery course join the waitlist to be notified when the course has launched. In the meantime, download the FREE eBook listed above “Motherhood and Balance .
Rediscovering yourself after motherhood
Related Article: How to Rediscover Your Sense of Self in Motherhood
This blog post was about what to do after you say “I’ve lost my identity“
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