13 Feb Adele: ‘becoming a mother I lost a lot of myself’
Anyone else get a bit teary hearing Adele’s acceptance speech at The 2017 Grammy’s? If you’ve not heard it have a google; she desperately wanted the award to go to Beyonce (fair nuff!) but the bit that touched me was hearing her say ‘…through becoming a mother I lost a lot of myself’. *Cue tears*
It sounds like a statement-of-the-bleeding-obvious to say that becoming a parent is a life-changing experience. We hear people tell us its hard, that we’ll never have a night’s sleep again, or some other equally useless piece of information/advice. And none of this is new – there’s a myriad of books, articles and discussion threads to attest to the MONUMENTALLY MASSIVE THING that becoming a parent is, and yet we are still not 100% prepared for it and we still struggle.
I’m an Antenatal & Postnatal Practitioner – so it might come as a surprise to hear that I don’t think we can truly be 100% ready and prepared to be parents. That is not to say we can’t do some work finding stuff out and preparing for the common challenges of life with a newborn but becoming a parent is way more than that.
What Adele talked of was loss of self. How do you prepare for that? Is it an inevitable fact of becoming a parent? Or more specifically a Mother?
Acknowledging the ‘Losses’ as well as the gains of parenthood has been found to be important in psychologically adjusting to becoming a mother.
I have such a vivid memory of being hit by the loss of my ‘old’ self. Sat at home with my newborn son, listening to a favourite song and remembering the last time I’d heard it, how very distant that life felt from the reality I found myself in. The wave of grief was huge, I sat and sobbed. I wasn’t just mourning the loss of my old self, I was also mourning the loss of the ideals I’d had of how life with a baby was going to be. I wasn’t ready for how lonely I would feel at that point.
Like Adele, I experienced profound losses and they weren’t losses I was prepared for (despite having read several books and chatted to others).
Every mother is different and how we each experience the change, the transition to becoming a mother will vary according to our experiences, our circumstances, our mindset and the support we have around us.
Knowing what we’ve found useful when we have previously gone through a big transitional life-change can help, so whether you’re pregnant or have just recently become a mother ask yourself:
- What got you through the last big change in your life?
- What do you need to bolster you now?
It might also be a good idea to consider what ISN’T helpful, and put things in place to minimise negative effects.
Acknowledge it as a process of re-adjustment. Nothing stays the same, things keep shifting and moving.
Women often experience pressure to be ‘loving every minute’ of having new baby (think of the ‘baby joy’ headlines); the more profound losses associated with motherhood can feel pushed to one side and hidden. Joining forces with other new mothers, hearing their stories and working things out together can be a fantastic boost. One of the things I hear so often from women in my groups when they share their experiences is ‘I’m so glad I’m not the only one’. It immediately takes the pressure off. I see this being echoed on social media and the wonderful ways women support each other. Its what Adele has just done *thanks Adele*.
Becoming a mother is a major life transition, whilst no-one can wave a magic wand and make everything *perfect* (whatever that is!) we can find our own ways of navigating this new path. My role as a facilitator is to walk alongside, like a friendly guide, sharing useful information and asking questions so women can discover their own resources and become confident mothers on their own terms. If you’d like to find out more about working with me do get in touch.