Written By: Amanda Nicholson
“Just wait until the baby is here …”
“Things are different once you become a parent!”
“You’ll change your mind when …”
If you’re a mom, you’ve heard all of the above before having your baby. These sentiments are expressed with the greatest intentions, but we know these opinions do not always impact us positively. They usually leave us afraid of what’s to come, or unsure of our abilities to endure the physical strain of labor or demands of motherhood.
There’s a much longer list of what they don’t prepare us for compared to what they tell us. I was most unprepared for how becoming a mother would impact my mental health.
1. Becoming a mother gave me a newfound appreciation for my body
“Get your body back.”
That’s what everyone says about postpartum. But watching my body grow and stretch to make a home for my daughter was incredible. Delivering her unmedicated was indescribable. Witnessing my body do exactly what it needed to do once she was here blew me away. There was no bouncing here. Just leaky boobs and adult diapers and amazement for what my body had done in less than 12 months.
My body just did the most amazing thing, and it will never be the same. I will never be the same. I appreciate my body so much more now that I know firsthand what she’s capable of. This shift in thinking has helped me focus on being an overall healthy person instead of obsessing over looking a certain way.
2. Motherhood makes me more emotionally connected
Pre-baby, I struggled with anxiety. I was worried I would have postpartum depression and hoped it would be manageable. To my surprise, I never got that diagnosis. In fact, I felt less anxiety than I have in a long time.
Becoming a mother allowed me to release the need for control. It gave me peace and helped me develop deeper emotional connections within my relationships. As a mother, I am quicker to connect with people on a deeper level, slower to anger, and constantly looking for ways to make the people around me feel better.
3. Becoming a mother reconnected me to my true self
I began to doubt my career during pregnancy. I wasn’t sure I could handle being a good special educator and a good mom. During maternity leave, I shifted careers to freelance copywriting. At first, it was tough. I was used to working multiple jobs. My identity was tied to the places I worked. When I left my job and was forced to reidentify myself, I reconnected with the only dream I’ve ever truly had: to be a writer.
A peace came over me as I began writing again. When I got paid for it, it felt too good to be true. As I wrote, I remembered the little girl who made up stories, wrote books bound by staples, and wrote an entire series in elementary school. She would be so proud of me.
Reconnecting with my true self—my inner child—has made me a better mother. It’s given me the peace to let my daughter explore the world on her terms. When I daydream about her starting kindergarten and graduating high school, what I wish most is that she stays true to herself. Reconnecting with my true self encourages her to never abandon who she is. She deserves to live her dream and be herself.
We all experience motherhood differently. This is purely my experience, but there are two things I am certain are true for everyone: They don’t tell us everything, and we will never be the same.
Meet the Author
Amanda Nicholson is an email marketer and website copywriter for mission-driven businesses. As a mother and former special educator, she advocates for equity and inclusion and uses her writing to positively impact her community.