Have you ever let your mind wander back to a time before you became a mom? If so, did you think, “wow, I really miss that?” Because I certainly have on many occasions, and I always feel guilty about it. Well, mama, this is the permission slip that tells you it is okay to miss who you were before becoming a mom.
So many things change when you become a mom, and it’s natural to miss who you were before your kids came along. You should never feel guilty about missing who you used to be. The era before kids is one piece of you, and all the pieces fit together to tell your whole story.
You Develop a “New Normal”
Having a baby brings so many changes. Carrying a baby biologically changes your body in several ways, both physically and emotionally.1 Your body and your brain change during pregnancy and after you give birth. In terms of weird physical changes alone, my feet got bigger (!!!), I have stretch marks, and I got my first cavity. Before my first son was born, I was an early 30’s career woman and suddenly became a stay-at-home mom. Talk about a huge emotional adjustment! I went through a period of mourning for who I used to be as so many things changed for me quickly. I also suffered from both postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety with my children, which greatly impacted my life.
Your Priorities Shift
Your priorities change when you become a mom. Before having kids, my career was my identity. I lived and breathed it. A bad day at work would impact my mood for days at a time. As a result of the pandemic, I stayed home with my firstborn for 18 months, which was by far the hardest job I have ever had. That transition period was probably the most challenging time in my life. It was not until I went back to work when he was 18 months old that I realized I could have a piece of who I was (a career woman) that fit in with my new identity as a mom.
Ultimately, I determined that stay-at-home-mom was not the right job for me in the long run. I went back to my career, but as a completely different person. I now “clock in and clock out” and look forward to getting home every day to my children, not carrying baggage home from the office. What happens at work stays at work. I no longer let one bad day at work impact my mood after work and beyond. This is one change that has been for the better since becoming a mom, and I absolutely love how my attitude towards work has completely shifted. It is a much healthier balance all around.
Your Relationships Adapt
My husband and I were recently out to lunch, reminiscing about our relationship’s early and carefree days. We’d go on trips, go out to the bar, play board games, or binge TV shows for hours. We have so many fun memories of just the two of us. While I miss those days we had without a care in the world, we are busy creating new memories as a family of four. Memories I could have never dreamed of when I was single or newly married.
You Experience Physical Changes
The changes that I have experienced in becoming a mother have been not only emotional but also physical. From a superficial standpoint, I miss how my body looked before I had children. I could exercise whenever I wanted to. I had time to eat and linger over a leisurely meal, and I was not scarfing down my toddler’s chicken nuggets when I’d have a spare moment to eat.
My feet got wider, and I had to buy all new shoes! Not to mention the new clothes I needed to buy to accommodate my widened hips and large breasts. My body completely changed, and while I miss what I used to look like, I also hold space to honor and appreciate my body for all it has done for me. I carried and delivered two children within two and a half years! That is no small feat, and I am so thankful for my body and all it has done for me.
You can live in a moment where you love yourself as a mother and simultaneously miss who you used to be. Having children changes you at a cellular level, and there is a clear inflection point of “before” and “after” kids. I have fond memories of who I used to be before I had children, and when I dig very deep, I know that version of me is still in there somewhere, deep down.
Mama, I hope you can look back on the memories of who you were before you became a mom in the fondest way and honor that time in your life for what it was while also celebrating who you are today.