Once a woman starts trying to conceive, the journey to motherhood begins.
Matrescence refers to the process of becoming a mother. It parallels another one of life’s transitions, adolescence. Like the transition from child to teenager, motherhood comes with many changes to our hormones, physical body, relationships, and identity. According to Alexandra Sacks, an expert on matrescence and reproductive psychiatrist, stated: “Matrescence can begin as soon as a woman is trying to conceive, throughout the pregnancy and postpartum period, or when a woman expands her family with another child.”
The term Matrescence was coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael in 1975. She concluded that “The critical transition period which has been missed is Matrescence, the time of mother becoming. Giving birth does not automatically make a woman a mother. The amount of time it takes to become a mother needs study.”
The embodiment of pregnancy, birth, and child-rearing can evoke so much emotion. In my therapy sessions with new mothers, we explore how to cope with this transition in life, rediscover one’s identity, develop a stronger sense of self, and strengthen internal and external resources. The transformation of becoming a mother can feel so big at times. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, helpless, and misunderstood. Mothers deserve to be supported through this critical developmental period.
The identity crisis in motherhood is a common shared experience. It’s a feeling of confusion and questioning “Who am I now?” or “What are my wants and needs outside of the parenting role?”. There’s often a sense of loss of who you are. It’s important to remember being a mother is ONE part of you. Not ALL of who you are. A therapist can help you explore the depths of what you are experiencing and process these life changes. The motherhood identity crisis does not last forever. There are strategies and ways of addressing the series of hormonal, body, identity, and relationship changes you may experience. Finally, as a woman begins to find meaning, joy, and discover her new sense of self, the matresence phase will empower you to keep pressing forward.
Until next time,
If you want to heal and grow in your motherhood journey, I can partner with you for one-on-one therapy support. The ups and downs of motherhood are real and working with a therapist trained in perinatal mental health can help! Simply CLICK to schedule your free consult with me to see if we’re a good fit!
Brittany’s specialty and passion is rooted in pregnancy, postpartum, and perinatal mental health. She aims to help parents reach mental and emotional wellness; while navigating the daily demands of the parenting journey – one of life’s biggest transitions. She loves supporting her clients to overcome stuck areas in their lives and grow into the person they were always meant to be.
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