New Mom

Things No One Tells You: It’s Lonely at First

February 19, 2016

I’ve watched enough movies to know what new motherhood is like. You’re exhausted, unshowered and disheveled; but you’re so in love and the happiest you’ve ever been. Or so I was told. Those things are all true, you’ve never known exhaustion like this, showering becomes a luxury and you pride yourself on knowing the month not the day. You find a whole new freaking zipcode in your heart and learn to live with your heart outside your body. BUT there’s more to the story for some of us. I for one struggled with balance, friendships and self-definition.

Balance took on a whole new meaning as I struggled to juggle work, marriage and motherly dutiesML_redefining.

Friendships fell apart as both parties struggled to reconcile the past with the present reality of me having a child. Friends called less and when they did it was at 10pm to go to a bar. Luckily the important ones stayed and some really special ones came into my life. But the transition was rough, I was really lonely.

Redefining my sense of self was what took the longest. I (unknowingly) defined and validated myself by my work. I felt valuable and that was really important to me and how I saw myself. Then I had JJ and my mind was suddenly elsewhere. I spent my brain energy on learning how to be a mother, what the hell swaddling was and why burping was so important. It took me a while to be ok with the fact that I was going to spend this time incubating a great human instead of a great company, and to see and respect just how important that decision was for me.

We all have our paths with parenthood, and as long as we’re happy and proud of that path our kids are off to a great start.

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  • Reply Jean Lee April 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Every bit of what you said is true. Motherhood has been lonely for me at various times because we moved several times, each time to a new city where I had no friends or family. I also felt a lot of validation as a working woman & I still miss that validation as I raise my kids. They are now 5 & 3 & while I cherish the time I have with them & know how lucky I am to stay at home with them, I am still searching for my "new" source of self validation. Love reading your posts!

  • Reply Kalain McDowell April 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    This is definitely the unsexy topic no one wants to talk about when you’re first a mother. Thank you for sharing! The world expects an Instagram post filtered looking longingly at your newborn, and while that may be entirely a true sentiment, its not an all the time reality. I struggled through redifining myself after I gave birth. The life of my career, running around town, carefree, no schedule if I didn’t want one, spontaneous life was different. I felt a lack of worth staying at home with my newborn while everyone else was living their "normal" life. It is lonely and it is hard and fuck then you feel bad for feeling selfish, you have a beautiful completely healthy baby. My daughter will be 2 in May and I just figured out how to be 100% happy with myself and my new role as a mother. Anyone struggling, you’ll get your groove back, just take it easy on yourself! Thank you for getting this conversation started! 🙂

  • Reply yoony kim July 16, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Hi Yael,

    By far your best / most raw post yet. I also defined myself by my work (imma elementary teacher and a flight attendant). And after the huge adjustment into motherhood I suddenly found myself defining myself by my kids– meaning I got stuck in the role of Mommy and Mommy only, which is just as unbalanced as defining oneself solely on one’s work if you ask me. 5 and 1/2 years into this motherhood gig and two kids later I’m FINALLY getting comfortable with all my identities (Mom, wifie, friend, worker…) again. Hey, better late than never, right?

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