This is a quick blurb from the women’s health field (a field I find endlessly fascinating).
Often defined as the transition of a woman into motherhood, it has also been likened to going through adolescence again, mom-style, due to the fluctuation in hormones, the rapid changes in the body, the newly forming identity of oneself and one’s place in society, as well as changes in one’s day to day life. Alexandra Sacks, a psychiatrist, wrote a piece in the NY Times called The Birth of A Mother that covers a bit why this transition is so powerful, but often overlooked as society focuses on the baby and ignores how momentous of a change it is for the mother.
This lack of conversation around the realities of becoming a mother has been suspect in being one of the many factors that contributes to postpartum depression, as a mother may feel she is supposed to be estatic about her newborn baby, without expressing any negative emotions despite the magnitude of change her life has just undergone.
In effort to mitigate that mental divide, allowing mothers to express all their emotions, and to create recognition in society about the magnitude of change motherhood is, many companies, academic institutes, and individual professionals are researching and producing more information about this time, working to get the message across. Another huge player in the field is the clinical psychologist Aurélie Athan, whose focus is on reproductive psychology. She looks at both striving and struggling moms in order to normalize the transition to motherhood and continues to work to revive the term and meaning of matrescence. She has even worked on getting some of the first academic concentrations and graduate-level certificate programs created that focus on reproductive and maternal wellbeing because she recognizes the importance of getting health providers, activists, and others involved in the spread of awareness about matrescence.
So if you are a new mom wondering why you feel so off, so different, and how to deal with these feelings of ambivalence towards your new life, know that you are not alone and that you should definitely speak up about how you feel. It will help cultivate a culture of acceptance around our motherhood adolescence.