I recently read this article The Birth of a Mother in The New York Times. On the Eve of my first Mother’s Day the words of psychiatrist Daniel Stern resonate with me. He explains in his books “The Motherhood Constellation” and “The Birth of a Mother,” giving birth to a new identity can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby.
The process of becoming a Mother is jarring and fast and all of a sudden, no matter how much you read and prepare, it’s game time. You go from being just a regular person to a Mama–which carries a huge weight that is paired with this idea of perfection in our society. It’s like starting a new job, totally unprepared, and being expected to excel without on the ground training.
I think most things with birth and baby toys and all the baby things are focused on too much and used to occupy time headed towards the big B-Day. Sure, the color of the nursery and the perfect glider are fun to plan but what about spending time on how you might feel if the dream you have of Motherhood feels more like a nightmare? Shouldn’t we seriously think about that— in a way that we don’t feel judged? Before we had Fitz Marcos and I talked about what we could do if we were feeling stressed and what friends we could reach out to. This type of conversation was so helpful to have before our little man arrived.
The lack of attention on the Mothering part is largely skipped over. Why don’t we spend time focusing on the mama, the mental health, the relationship with the partner? If I could give any advice to a Mama to be or New Mama, it would be to try and spend time with yourself and take care of your needs, and let people help you. Not before the baby arrives, but after, and always. Not because you need to prove that it’s okay to ask for help, but because it is necessary.
So this Mother’s Day I am feeling good. My new identity as a Mother is fitting well, it feels nautral. My Son has stolen my heart (and head!) It’s another part of who I am, who I am becoming, not all of me. This Mother’s Day I want to give a shout out to all the mamas. A new identity is a process, and a gift, and while you are an amazing mama, you are also an amazing you.
Photos by Manzanita Photography