Becoming a Parent

4 October 2023 | Author: Elana Scicluna

Identity changed when becoming a parent

Becoming a parent is a transformative journey that often leads to profound shifts in one's sense of identity. These changes are a natural part of the parenting experience and it is important to understand the process. Some of the identity changes new parents experience are:

Physical Identity: The physical changes that accompany pregnancy and childbirth can alter how new parents perceive their bodies. These changes are often temporary and part of the journey. Aim to practice self-care and body positivity.

Emotional Identity: The surge of emotions, from overwhelming love to moments of doubt and anxiety, is a common experience for new parents. Practice open communication and acknowledge that these feelings are valid and to be expected and seek out emotional support.

Responsibility Identity: The shift from focusing on oneself to caring for a child brings about a profound sense of responsibility. Recognise the significance of this new caregiving role and remember it is okay to seek guidance to foster your growth and purpose which comes from nurturing another life.

Time Management Identity: Balancing parenting duties with other responsibilities necessitates a re-evaluation of time management. Adjusting your routine is normal. Try to prioritise tasks and delegate and share responsibilities where possible. Remember to practice self-care and schedule these activities in your schedule.

Social Identity: New parents may find themselves adjusting their social circles to accommodate their parenting commitments. Friendships can evolve however it is important to maintain a support network and connect with other parents.

Personal Goals Identity: Parenting often prompts a reconsideration of personal goals and aspirations. Remember our goals can adapt and change over time. Celebrate the achievement of milestones and practice a flexible mindset.

Self-Care Identity: Prioritising self-care can take a back seat in the midst of parenting demands as new parents tend to prioritise their new child or others. Remember you cannot pour from an empty cup and self-care is not selfish but essential. Practice self-compassion, keep connected, dedicate time to hobbies and activities that bring you joy and fulfilment and seek help if you are struggling.

So what are some common thoughts that new parents may have? - "I'm exhausted and overwhelmed".
- "Am I doing this right?"
- "I miss my old life".
- "I need a break from my baby".
- "I'm not connecting with my baby".
- "I don't feel attractive".
- "Will my baby ever sleep through the night?".
- "I'm not enjoying this as much as I should".
- "How will I cope when my partner goes back to work?"
- "What if I can't/don't want to breastfeed or my baby doesn't latch, will I be judged?"

Becoming a new parent is an incredibly transformative journey that can stir a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. These thoughts are not uncommon and are, in fact, a natural part of this lifealtering transition. Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed is a sentiment shared by many new parents. The demands of providing round-the-clock care, coupled with sleep deprivation, can lead to a profound sense of fatigue.

Remember, it's okay to acknowledge these feelings; they don't diminish your love or dedication to your child. You're not alone in questioning whether you're doing everything right. The responsibility of nurturing a new life can evoke self-doubt, but rest assured that seeking guidance and learning as you go is an essential part of parenthood.

Missing your old life doesn't mean you're ungrateful for your new role. It's natural to feel a sense of nostalgia for the spontaneity and freedom you once enjoyed. Adapting to a new routine takes time. It's also valid to crave moments of respite. Parenthood is a constant balancing act, and needing a break doesn't make you any less devoted.

Connecting with your baby can take time. The process is unique for everyone and building that bond doesn't happen overnight. Likewise, struggling with your sense of identity is a common experience. The profound changes in your life can leave you questioning who you are now. Know that this exploration is part of your growth as an individual and as a parent.

Rest assured, you're not alone in your thoughts. Many parents have questioned when their baby will sleep through the night or have felt a mix of emotions that don't always align with societal expectations. It's all part of the complex and beautiful journey of parenthood. Embrace these thoughts, seek support when needed, and remember that your feelings are a testament to your love and commitment to your child.