Sense of self

A friend asked me some time ago, what were some of my fears, as I entered motherhood?

Upon some reflection, I figured that for many mothers, consciously or otherwise, we fear losing our sense of self.

Sometimes we can’t help thinking that, before motherhood, I was a person with a name, with an interesting job title, with hobbies that I could pursue anytime, who travelled on a whim. Now, I am grounded with a routine. And most people know me as nothing more than “so-and-so’s mummy”.

captured during a recent trip

Before, all we knew was our lives as non-mothers, and we had become comfortable and confident in our identities, and familiar with having control and order in our lives.

All of a sudden, we find that we have taken on another vastly different new role, with all control wrested out of our hands, especially when a newborn comes into our lives. Sometimes, we look in the mirror, and wonder if we really are the same person we were.

In many ways, we are not, and that is not always a bad thing. We have an added dimension to our lives, our identities, and our gifts (breastfeeding is certainly a superhero power).

To all new mothers especially, I guess what I want to say is, don’t be afraid that you will completely lose yourself, your independent and perfectly confident self, in your new vague, inchoate persona of just someone’s mummy.

Embrace your new self.

It is an expansion, not a departure from the old, and a morphing to some new, drab creature, useful only for your functions, not for your innate worth as a unique individual.

Motherhood will develop your very self, into a richer persona. You will realise that you can feel love of a tenor you have never felt before. You will realise you have the capacity to function with such scarcity of sleep that you would not have imagined possible before. You will dream big dreams, deep dreams, that you never thought you would have. For your family, for how you would like to bring up your children, for the character you hope they develop.

As with all other fears, this is a shadow. Let not yourself be absorbed into its amorphous dark folds. Seek out mums you admire, who function in a way you aspire to. Catch what they have, support other mums who are entering this journey, and enjoy the fellowship of the (motherhood) ring.

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  1 comment for “Sense of self

  1. July 9, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I feel you Lyndis hence I make a conscious effort to still find me time for myself be it some pampering like a facial, dabbling in my crafts, blogging, and go out for girls nights with friends. In a way, I guess working mums have more of that balance since we are not just our kid’s mums.

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