When a baby is born, so too is a mother. The first few months (or years) of motherhood require more from us physically and emotionally than we ever could have imagined. We find within us ways to meet the incessant demands, showing ourselves the best and worst of we are capable of. We often even discover new layers and new resources that we never even knew we possessed. These years push us. They make us grow.
Naturally, life may become centered around the baby, a little human with needs and wants who will soon take on an identity of their own. But the woman behind the baby, the new mom who is herself growing and learning, also has needs and wants and a new identity to reconcile.
As mothers, acknowledging and addressing our needs and wants, even as our responsibilities to our families grow, is a critical part of our own potential expansion. Some call this investment in ourselves self-care. Not to be confused with the face-mask wearing, bath-taking, manicure-getting type of self-care, but a much deeper, more powerful — and empowering — self-care. It is this type of self-care, tuning into our own needs, wants and values, that helps shape our new identity.
For mothers, this deep self-care means learning to listen to the voice inside of us so we show up in an authentic way, in alignment with our values, not our fears. It means saying “no” sometimes. It means redefining relationships, setting boundaries, and establishing clear expectations with those around us, letting in only those who lift us up in our sphere. Only then, are we able to take more purposeful steps towards a fulfilling life. Only then can we feel truly feel liberated and empowered.
As we strengthen our resolve to lean into our own values, our identity, too, shifts. No longer are we just a new mother. We’re a woman, who just happens to also be a mother. As others see us take care of ourselves, respect and hold true our own values, it gives others permission to respect us as true individuals with needs, desires, preferences, boundaries.
For some of us mothers, investing in ourselves comes more easily, with just a little bit of diligence. But for most of us, we need help realizing that we’re indeed worthy of this investment. That we’re worthy of our own needs and wants. And then we need help rediscovering our personal core values, leaning into our needs, and setting boundaries. Consulting a close friend, a mentor, or even personal coach can be the first step in unraveling these limiting beliefs. Then you can be on your way to rediscovering your truest identity.
Sarah Geiger is founder and coach at Layline Recovery, where she helps women cultivate self-awareness of their authentic self. Her approach is collaborative and non-judgemental, focusing on guided reflection and self-discovery. Before Sarah began her own journey of recovery, she lovingly held space for women as a birth doula, where she bared witness and honored women during their most vulnerable moments. Sarah is eager to help women on the motherhood journey tap into their intuition to create an empowering life from which they will not need to escape. Connect with Sarah at laylinerecovery.com.