I wrote about my start to living an eco-baby life a couple of months ago. It is still going really well, and I am continuing to pick up tips and tricks and apply them in my own way, as I adjust to my newfound role as a mother.
The journey of motherhood is one that never ends. Having someone that all of a sudden depends on you to survive can be a lot of pressure, and a lot to get used to. The feed, sleep, play cycle can get very repetitive and leave you with little time for anything else.
I was recently made aware of the term “Matrescence”, the developmental transition to motherhood; the idea of a mother being born. This thoughtful article by Lauren Hughes, a Child Health Nurse, explains the term is used to describe the emotional, physical, mental, social and psychological process a woman goes through when she becomes a mother. Lauren describes it as a “change that launches us into a new phase of life with an evolved and expanded sense of who we are.”
There is a lot going on in a mother’s life before, during and after pregnancy and so much to adapt to, as well as new concepts and rituals. Unfortunately a somewhat negative term that is commonly used as an excuse for apparent vagueness is “baby brain”, when the mother (or father) has a lot going on, and may be unable to find the words for adult conversation, or make questionable decisions.
Baby brain is a stereotype that new parents (including me) fall victim to. When I’m having a conversation and can’t find the words, it must be baby brain. When I forget to shut the front door behind me, it must be baby brain.
Stereotypes aside, a lot of mums might struggle with their new identity, or be confused and unsure where their old self has gone, as the term Matrescence acknowledges. There are books and other resources that focus on this topic in an effort to normalise it which can help us to recognise that people adapt in different ways, whether rational or not.
Right now I think it’s ever important to make time each day to do something for myself, even if it is for only 10 or 15 minutes. Time is so precious when you have a little one on your hands, and so much of it is spent helping them grow. Your priorities may have changed but you are still the same person.
As I watch my baby boy drifting in and out of sleep, I know that I wouldn’t change a thing. Seeing his eyes light up and his gummy grin as I read him a story, sing him a song or turn on his mobile is simply delightful. Life has certainly changed, and I am embracing everything that comes with this amazing adventure, while remembering to continue to do the things I enjoyed doing before, in smaller doses. Not because I have lost my sense of self but because I am not my main focus anymore.