When you became a mom, you went from being an independent, self-motivated, and well rested young lady, into ever maturing, interdependent, selfless and often sleep-deprived woman. You may have noticed changes in your desires, priorities, hopes, and fears among other things. So, while your baby's growth and development may be more obvious and expected, you have no doubt been growing as well. Though each woman’s experience is unique, here are some of the ways YOU might be growing from motherhood...
1. You are more aware of your limitations, and can ask for help
The ability to acknowledge limitations and allow others to help is an important learning milestone for anyone. Being a mother pushes these realities upon us without warning, exposing vulnerabilities and highlighting limits. It challenges us to accept that we need others, and asks us to allow them into our lives and sometimes into our hearts. So, whether it’s weekly psychotherapy, housekeeping, a nanny, or calling your own mom more than ever, good for you! It's normal and healthy to let others help you. If you haven't asked for help yet or struggle to fully accept it, that's OK too. It's an evolving area for growth and it's never too late. You can look (here) or (here) for local and helpful resources.
2. You have greater purpose and value
Before you were a mom, you might have wondered if what you were doing with your life really mattered (once in awhile). Since your baby's birth however, there has been no question that you not only matter, but you are crucial to someone’s survival and development. Because of how much your life is valued, you no longer need to validate your worth with material things or a fancy title at work. Even though it's still awesome to feel sexy in your body and in your clothes, you know you're just as special in yoga pants and a messy t-shirt as you are in the latest DVF print. In general, you have a new perspective on what matters. Your priorities are realigned and likely for the better.
3. You have greater emotional and social intelligence
Becoming a mother seems to introduce a new social capacity for women. There is a sense of camaraderie among women who are mothers that enables us to bond. You may find an increased willingness to share and listen, and you might feel more understood. We are more interested in the lives of others as they may shed light on our own, and we feel our experience is knowledge that may be helpful to someone else.
Because of the profound new love in your life, your heart has expanded along with your emotional capacity. Being a mother introduces a plethora of new emotions and changes the ones we thought we knew. Scientifically and intuitively, we know that love helps us grow and is no doubt good for our soul. So, whether it's an online forum, a new BFF connection, a chatty day at the park, or a unique new closeness with your sister, you have grown both socially and emotionally by being a mom.
If you want to explore these facets of you more or flex your new skills, there are opportunities for connection all over West LA. WestLAMoms.com is an amazing resource to find Mommy & Me classes, events, local parks and more. Maybe it’s time to start your own personal therapy journey.
4. Your mind is wiser and sharper
If you're like most mothers, you've been learning something new (thank you, Google) about babies and motherhood from the day you found out you were pregnant (if not before). From developmental milestones to the latest stroller technology, you have tons of new knowledge and you’re always seeking more. With this growth in knowledge, you might feel sharper than ever; being more alert, and showing greater accountability, organization, and efficiency. You rarely have time to waste time, you can kill four birds with one stone, and you are more direct.
Since you are always looking out for your little one, your instincts are in high gear and you are more in touch with your intuition. You don't take as many risks as you used to, and you consider the consequences before acting. Maybe now, you are more patient at the traffic lights, read more food labels, and always use the crosswalks. See...smart!
I know...that was actually a lot more than four ways you may be changing as a mother, but who can keep count? In sum, you are one awesome woman, and mommy! Remember, each woman's experience is as unique as their own child's development, so take the time to reflect and never stop growing!
Dr. Alisa Rosenberg, Psy.D. is a Westwood psychologist specializing in women's issues. She provides individual, couples, and family counseling and leads a support group for new mothers.. Dr. Rosenberg is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. She resides in Westwood with her husband and 10-month-old daughter. You can check her out at www.Dralisarosenberg.com, or contact via Email.