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Becoming a mother transforms a woman

Becoming a mother transforms a woman. Every day of motherhood brings new challenges, and out of each challenge, new perspectives on parenting, relationships and life are gained. We are constantly re-evaluating our priorities and values. When we shift our priorities, however, we often forfeit the balance between our roles as mom and partner, and our identities as independent, spirited women. We put everyone else’s needs ahead of ours and tend to lose focus on the women we were before we had children.

Upon the birth of our children, many of us make a decision (consciously or unconsciously) to mold ourselves into the type of mother we think we are supposed to be. As such, many of us feel it is essential to sacrifice those things that we love in order to be a good, responsible parent. Weekly exercise class becomes unimportant; a standing manicure appointment becomes selfish; an evening out alone with our partner becomes a guilt-fest because we have to leave our children at home and with a care-giver. Oftentimes, we also disengage from our friends and miss out on social opportunities we would have otherwise been eager to join. We fail to recognize ourselves and our needs as priorities. In doing this, we can easily become out-of-touch and feel disconnected with the world around. Sometimes, isolation and resentment hit, and we become overwhelmed and, ultimately, discontented. It is very tough to be an effectual, spirited parent when you feel unhappy.

Certainly, having a child changes us. But when we do have a child, what happens to the people we once were? One thing is for sure - we are not automatically rewritten as static and flat. We are still the same vibrant individuals we were before we became mothers. To find a balance between our old and new selves, we need to recognize how important it really is to take time to care for ourselves and pursue our personal interests. When our little ones are born, we become so preoccupied with what is going on inside our homes that we forget to take to the time to experience the outside world. We forget that we live in an energetic city, rich with history and culture. Simple outings, like a museum visit or a trip to the salon, can make a world of difference in the way we feel and the way we approach each day. Moreover, we need to engage in a meaningful way with other women who share the same interests. In making connections, we can exchange stories, validate our own experiences, and gain perspective. It also reminds us that we are not alone in our journey.

Of course, we will have to make sacrifices to ensure that we are doing what is in the best interest of our children and families. However, as we set our priorities, we need to ensure that we put ourselves somewhere on the list. It is up to each of us to decide where on the list we will be, but at least we will not lose sight of the women we have always been.

By Jordan Maher

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