Having a baby is transformative!
Pregnancy and delivery comes with hormonal and physiologic changes that
affect your body and mind. In the midst of these changes, you are also
taking on a new role- being a mother!
Today let’s talk about this huge life transition!
This transition begins right after your delivery:
Taking-In Phase (1-2 days after
While you heal at the hospital, this is a time of reflection and to
organize your thoughts on your new role. Talking about your experience of
labor and birth helps with this adjustment.
Taking Hold Phase (2-4 days after
This is when you start actively participating in care for your newborn.
Letting Go Phase (day 4 to
When you accept your new role and give up your old roles like being a woman
without a child or a mother of just one child.
Matrescence is the process of becoming a mother,
initially coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael, Ph.D. (1973). Dr. Aurelie
Athan describes it as “a developmental passage where a woman transitions
through pre-conception, pregnancy and birth, surrogacy or adoption, to the
postnatal period and beyond.”
Remember your transition of puberty? (even though we
would all like to forget that!)
Adolescence brings on physical changes in your hormones, body and
brain as well as psychological changes. In the midst of all this,
you are growing into new roles and new responsibilities.
The passage into motherhood is the same! Matrescence also brings on
hormone, body, brain, and psychological changes. It begins during pregnancy
and continues after the baby is born. You are also learning the new role of
being a mom.
What changes occur during matrescence?
Physical. Changes in your body (both physical
Psychological. Changes in your identity (now
as a mother or a mother of two instead of just you, changes in self
esteem due to your change in body
Social. Reevaluation of friendships and other
relationships, changes in your marriage with new roles and
responsibilities, professional standing at work
Spiritual. Recommittentment to faith,
existential questioning, increase spiritual practices
The transition to motherhood can have many opposing feelings.
You may feel like you miss your old life.
You may also love being with your little one and being a mother.
There is nothing wrong with feeling these dichotomous feelings. These are
normal feelings of entering into motherhood.
Any transition can be bumpy but let’s see what you can do to make
the ride smoother!
Most mom’s read up about the changes of pregnancy but are left in the dark
about what motherhood brings postpartum. Be aware and realistic about the
physical and emotional changes you will experience after delivery,
especially change in your role to being a mom.
Give yourself Time
Give yourself time to adjust to this role. It is not all maternal instinct.
Like any new job, there is a learning curve. Don’t hold unrealistic
expectations of yourself.
Time may also be needed for you to “grieve” your old self and life and come
to terms with this new person you are now!
Say no to mom guilt!
The most important thing is not to compare yourself with other moms! We are
all on our own experience throughout this transition. Don’t let your
fantasies and what you think you see on social media make you feel less!
Ask for support
Your hands are full with taking care of your baby, taking care of yourself,
and figuring out how to be a parent - all while sleep deprived! Do not feel
ashamed if you need help. Ask for it!
Friends and family will be more than happy to lend a hand. Get a postpartum
doula or night nurse or invest in a food delivery service if you can!
Be present and enjoy this time!
True, transition into motherhood can be challenging and frustrating but
don’t let that take away the amazing moments with your little one that can
be joyful and memorable!
Just like your adolescence, matrescence is a period of change and learning!
Be patient with yourself and give yourself grace.
Imagine if you were a teenager , what kind of pep talk would you give your
teenage self? Now look in the mirror and say that to your current self!
Motherhood is beautiful and messy. Embrace all the joys and challenges of
motherhood! Remember all mothers are going through this transition and you
are not alone in this!
Reach out to MaternalWell text support or schedule a consultation with our
Our peer groups are a great way to talk to others going through the same