One thing I understand about becoming a mother is that almost nothing will remain the same. I would have a tremendously difficult time in parenthood if I remained attached to things that bring me comfort now which will vanish or diminish with a child (i.e. organization, alone time, quiet environment). I think it is of utmost importance for women who are becoming mothers to let go of attachments to anything which will be majorly shifted as the result of having a child. I believe it can be the reason, in addition to fluctuating hormones, why many mothers find themselves in the darkness of postpartum depression. Motherhood, I can foresee, is a spiritual, emotional, and physical rebirth into someone new. A rebirth from one identity to the next almost always demands a firm establishment of the current identity for transition to be as smooth as possible.
But, what if a mother never really knew herself before? What if she never had an intimate connection with her soul? What if she’s never felt self love, acceptance or confidence? The thought of waking up and being unrecognizable can be frightening. Like having the rug pulled out from under her feet, a new mother can feel unsteady and lose sight of her identity and her sense of self as she knew it before having a baby. This is when circumstances get challenging, overwhelming, and strain is seen within marriage and relationships.
There's more to unpack beyond the superficial difficulties of motherhood. There is an abyss of psychological complexity behind a wavering attitude of contempt, resentment or anger that some women have toward their children. The distress is not directly caused by the child, but already exists within the mother. The demons she faces rise to the surface and reveal themselves as a result of being emotionally and psychologically challenged by the demands of motherhood. Being pushed to the limit in all categories of existence is sometimes enough to drive her to a mental space she has never been before. It is scary and lonesome. “Who am I anymore?” she might think. “Who was I before this?” If life was seemingly better before having a child, the child will receive blame, consciously or unconsciously, and feel the projection of angst from their mother. I am coming to understand more and more that the initial knee-jerk reaction to negatively comment on motherhood has nothing to do with the child, but the mother herself. Her coping mechanisms, her own wounded inner child, her adaptiveness to stress and confidence in her identity all factor into the attitude she holds toward motherhood, positive or negative. I’ve learned in my reading that a mother can parent her child while simultaneously parenting her inner child. Any needs that went unmet in her childhood can be identified in the way she mothers. This opens up opportunities for a mother to relive any previous pain she felt in childhood again, or it can serve as an opportunity to right the wrongs she experienced for future generations.
What I have written is based on data I’ve collected mentally by speaking to mothers, reading, and outward observation. I find that there is truth to be found in much of what I have stated, but there still remains a vast amount of information and understanding I have not yet accomplished. This is simply due to my lack of mothering experience and the infinite complexities of the psychology of womanhood, motherhood and family dynamics. I hope to revise this post in the future as I experience motherhood for the first time. Stay tuned!
Cheers to the never ending journey of self-development and psychological well being!