It’s easy to lose yourself in the weight, the grind, the excitement, the worry, the messiness, the monotony, the beauty of motherhood. Rarely does one become a parent and remain the same person as before. This is good. Growth is good. Change can be good. This can also be very challenging.
When your mind, body, priorities, worldview, and life change so drastically, it can be hard to maintain the friendships you had prior to the upheaval. Often, we moms go through a lonely adjustment phase during early motherhood. We don’t quite understand who we are, what we’re doing, or where our old self went, but we realize everything has changed. Sometimes old friendships can grow with this shift, but often not. Many new moms go through a period of shedding as they try to determine who they are. It’s mournful. It’s lonely. It’s confusing. It’s temporary.
Then, one day, you realize who you are, you’re more comfortable in your stretch-marked skin, more self-aware and self-assured. This confidence allows you to make new friendships and even rekindle old ones. Your mom friend circle grows but, more importantly, it strengthens. These friends are your pack, your village, your treasures.
Growing up, I never quite felt I fully belonged. I was told I was wiser than my years, that I had an old soul… perhaps I was simply awkward. Whatever the case, I often held one or two individuals close and enjoyed a smattering of widely varied acquaintanceships with people who often would not be friends with one another, despite their ties to me. Looking back, I note the commonality among them: genuine individuality. These people were unflinchingly themselves — unabashedly outspoken, shy but funny, quirky, hippy-chic, goth-punk, soccer player, preppy, music enthusiast, etc. — every one was different but each held my admiration because they were uniquely themselves.
This ability to fearlessly be myself didn’t come until I had my second child. I’d finally come out of the first-time-mom shedding fog and was realizing who I was. I was content with myself. I began making friends that I hold dear… friends I know hold me in the esteem I hold them.
Motherhood may have initially caused me to lose myself, but the new self I found is better. The friendships I’ve made and rekindled are stronger. I am a better me and, consequently, better friend now than I was before. Motherhood helped me grow. I am a mother.