One thing that I wasn’t really prepared for after giving birth was a phenomenon that I learned was called matrescence. I read this article a couple months ago, and it really resonated with me.
It’s interesting: I am so happy to be a mom, love nearly every minute of it, and know I am so blessed. I am especially blessed, because I am able to work very part time and from home, which means that I have so much time to spend with Charlo (who is, of course, adorable):
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You may have noticed that I said I love nearly every minute of it. Of course, when he:
cries every time I set him down in the middle of the night, or bites me with his new teeth when I am trying to feed him, yanks on my hair, scratches my face, when I look at my oura ring read outs and see that I got less than five hours of sleep, and when I just wanna get something else done but he needs me, I would like a break… I can honestly say that those are not my favorite moments!
It’s an interesting dance, because I know that every stage with him is so short, but that doesn’t make the hard parts any easier for the most part. Sure, I get wistful when I realize that he’s not always going to need me as much as he does now, or isn’t always going to want to snuggle with me in the middle of the night, but there are times when I feel like all I am is a milk dispensing machine!
I switch between being really excited that he has finally gone to sleep so I can do some writing, take a nap myself, or even just scroll my mostly through Instagram, and then feeling guilty that I am happy to be away from my baby for a couple minutes. This is in contrast with the times that he goes to sleep, and then I just spend time going through my photos and videos of him, and miss him so much!
It is wild that over the course of less than a year, you go from being someone with minimal responsibilities and the ability to be completely selfish most of the time (of course with respect to your relationships), to a pregnant person where – at least in my case – you are trying to eat and live to have the healthiest babies possible, so kind of sharing your life a little bit more… To suddenly feeling like none of you before baby even exist, and all you are there for is to provide milk and change diapers. The TED talk below (that I found while looking for that aforementioned article) talks about the “push and pull” and the science behind it.
A handful of my friends had babies either right before or right after me, and I think every single one has told me that they are still trying to figure out who they are now. And this is not just for first time mothers! In the TED talk above, she mentions that one of the important ways to help new moms through matrescence is to talk about it, so I figured I’d blog about it!
A couple favorite quotes from Alexandra Sacks in the video are “When you preserve a separate part of your identity, you’re also leaving room for your child to develop their own.” and “When a baby is born, so is a mother, each unsteady in its own way. Matrescence is profound, but it’s also hard, and that’s what makes it human.”
Another thing that reminded me of this phenomenon was in an episode of “Inventing Anna” that was in a doctor’s office… I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen it, but I cried! Message me if you see it and agree!
I just wanted to write this, and point to the article and TED Talk about matrescence that explain it way better than I can, in case there is a new mom out there feeling super guilty about wanting their baby to sleep so they can have alone time, and feeling lost and like they are looking for their identity. You are not alone!
Please share this with any new moms you know! Speaking of, one of my best friends sent me this, in case it makes anyone else’s day the way it did mine:
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And by the way, don’t expect it to change rapidly. At least it didn’t in my case! I still feel pangs of guilt when I think to myself “praise the Lord, he’s asleep!” and Charlo is now seven months old! 🥺