Becoming a mom is one of the most difficult transitions we make as women. Whether you struggled from the beginning or had a hard time transitioning from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3, adjusting to mom life is HARD. Motherhood can consume you quick, fast, and in a hurry, but you don’t have to stay in that place of survival. Today we’re talking about how to find yourself after becoming a mom. If you ever look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself, this episode will encourage and inspire you to find yourself again (through baby steps, of course!). I’ll give you 5 very practical, very simple things you can do to find yourself in motherhood. After my first delivery ended in an emergency c-section, I felt like my life had been uprooted, thrown around, and spit out into a million pieces. I was completely lost and had no idea who I was. Struggling with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, I spiraled for nearly a year before asking for help and doing the work to find myself again. I hope today’s episode encourages you and reminds you that YOU matter, friend! You’re worth knowing.
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION:
What is up, mama friend? Hey, how are you doing? I hope that you’re doing good. Hope things are going well today. We’re talking about how to find yourself again after babies, things that you can do now if mom life is consuming you. I know a lot about this department. Maybe you do too. Maybe that’s why you’re here, but I want to start out sharing a little bit about my own personal experience in this area.
We are going to dive right in. So reheat your coffee, grab some hot tea, plug in those headphones, or your phone as you’re driving. Let’s get right to today’s episode.
So when I became a mom, I also lost myself. I did not know who I was. I was completely overwhelmed. I was thrown for a loop. I felt like my life had just been, you know, uprooted and thrown around, tossed about, and basically spit back out on top of me into a million pieces. The load of motherhood completely overwhelming.
I felt like a failure when my delivery ended in an emergency C-section. And while I was so grateful that we were both alive and healthy, I felt like my body had failed me, honestly. Therefore I felt broken. I felt flawed. I would even go so far as to say that I felt worthless. Like none of my mom friends had ever had a C-section, which just added fuel to the blazing fire that their lives were so much more perfect than mine.
And I would never measure up to the standard of motherhood. I’d never be able to keep up with them. I’d never be the type of moms they are. I’d never be like them. I’m really just, wasn’t a good mom, is what I felt. That’s what I believed. And honestly, nobody was projecting any of that except for me, like these girls are really nice.
They’re Christian moms. They’re kind, they’re generous. They’re really cool to be around. But I felt like the odd one out and like a total failure when my birth plan didn’t go how I wanted it to. How I believed it should have gone. And so this sent me into a spiral. One that I would struggle with for at least a year postpartum.
And regardless of how your delivery went, like if you had an unplanned C-section and maybe it was traumatizing for you, you relate to all that. But maybe your birth did go according to plan, or maybe it didn’t really go to according to plan, but it wasn’t really traumatizing, but you know, motherhood still kind of threw you for a loop.
I think that apart from all of that, like regardless of how you deliver… Becoming a mom, especially like for me, it was the first time around. I know other moms say the transition from one to two, or two to three was difficult. For me, it was just like that initial like initiation almost. Because I’ve talked to moms, who’ve had their ideal birth who still struggle with their identity now that they’ve taken on this new role, this new title.
So it’s normal to feel completely lost and overwhelmed and unsure of yourself. It’s so vital to have support through a community, preferably one in real life. Like I got air quotes right here, but you can also find it virtually if you need to. I mean, you can even come join our online community.
We’re not like a postpartum moms group, but we are just a group of moms pursuing Christ, asking for more in our motherhood, kind of going against the grain with what culture says mom-life should look like. We say, no, you know, we want more, we’re living a different way. We’re living intentional. We’re showing up with different attitudes about how we see ourselves, how we see our kids, how we see our motherhood and our families.
So we’d love to have you come join us. But it is hard. It’s really, really hard. And I found that no one, you know, at that time seven years ago, was a really talking about just how hard motherhood actually was. Like maybe every now and then when I was scrolling my Facebook feed, there’d be like one article from Motherly or something like talking about how difficult mom life was.
But nobody was really talking about how hard it was. And when I say I was a lost, I was lost. Like I couldn’t get out of bed most days. And when I did, I would immediately return to it. As soon as the baby would nap, just to escape the overwhelming load that I had no idea how to sort through. I didn’t recognize me.
I didn’t like the way that I felt, how I looked. I just, I didn’t know who I was. And simple things like getting dressed and going grocery shopping, you know, this was before ClickList and grocery pickup, which hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus for that. That’s just been a game-changer, but that took so much energy and effort for me.
And I still felt like I was on the struggle bus. Like, no matter how hard I tried to keep up or stay put together and pretend like things were going much better than they were. Underneath the surface, things were really hard, really difficult. So if you’re there right now, I feel you. I see you. I do want to say there is hope, but just hang in there right now.
Okay. And honestly don’t even know what advice I would give for like a new mom struggling in those very fresh postpartum days. Besides remembering that you have just gone through a major life shift, like it is extreme. Okay. It is drastic. It is life-changing no matter how you delivered. But we have this idea that we’re just supposed to bounce back and be walking every day, pushing our strollers in our little, you know, yoga pants and tank tops and nursing perfectly, and also, still getting up to shower, getting dressed, fixing our hair, putting on makeup for the day.
And don’t forget getting back into those pre-baby jeans. It’s like for what?! Are you kidding me? What are we trying to prove here? And why? Who are we trying to keep up with? Who are we trying to be? What are we trying to do? Like what, what is the point? Is it a desperate attempt at finding ourselves again?
Or is it like this desperate need? We have to prove to everyone that we’re strong enough or good enough. We’re like woman enough and put together enough to where our lives, you know, didn’t really change that much. It was just like bloop. The little stork just dropped off this precious little baby and we’re rocking and rolling life as per usual.
Like, no, your freaking life has just been uprooted and thrown all around. And maybe you feel like you’re just left with a whole bunch of fractured pieces that you aren’t quite sure what to do with. Like, that is okay. It is normal. And I feel like society and culture and even other moms not even necessarily mean to, but we don’t give, we don’t honor new mamas in the way that you need to be honored.
Like, I, I, I made a set of stories a long time ago. I think they’re still on my highlights. Like I’ve got a little highlight bubble. I think it’s called “new moms” or “new moms.” And I’m just talking about how hard it is and what I was just saying reminded me of it. Like, I really wish right now, is that is you, if you feel like that, that I could give you a hug. That I can hold your hand and that I could just sit with you and say “like, it’s okay.
Like it’s okay to feel like this. Because I feel like that is normal, you know, at least in my untrained and unmedical educated opinion, it is normal. But what’s not normal is to not ask for help or feel like that we can’t.” So I guess that would be my biggest piece of advice is like, ask for help. Let people do all the things.
If you have support around you, take advantage of it. You’ll feel so much better when you do. It does not make you a failure. It does not make you weak. It does not make you less than, that is a lie. Okay. So what are some things that you can do once the newborn fog starts to clear a little and you’re like, okay, I’m ready to take some small steps toward finding Cason again?
You know, finding yourself. Number one is probably not going to be what you expect. It’s probably not going to be what you want to hear, but this is the truth. Number one, you have to grieve and mourn what you’ve lost. Okay. And I’m going to try not to cry here, but until I had a baby, I never, ever, ever, like I had never seen grief and mourning through the lens of anything other than death.
And I had never thought of the possibility of grieving a circumstance or an outcome that wasn’t what I had in mind, what I’d put a lot of stock into. And then after my first delivery, I realized you can grieve and mourn something, instead of someone. You can mourn the loss of an idea or an experience that you didn’t get to have.
It’s like, however it turned out for you, that maybe wasn’t what you thought or what you had in mind, whether it was the delivery, or nursing, or the way you’d bond with your baby, or the way motherhood would feel, or the kind of mom you would be. You need to give yourself time and space and be very, very gentle with yourself to grieve and mourn that.
And that is okay to do. I am giving you permission to do it because I know for me, a lot of people said, “you know, will you should be thankful that this and this and this.” And it’s like, that just contributed to my guilt and my shame that compiled on top of my feelings of almost like this mourning and this grief that I didn’t really recognize at the time, but that’s definitely what it was.
So you have to grieve and mourn, you know, the ideal birth plan, the ideal delivery that you may not have gotten to experience. I feel you on that. Like, I know what that’s like, and it’s really hard. And I just want you to know, like, you have to honor those feelings, okay.
Maybe for you, it’s nursing and feeding that wasn’t what you thought or it not being possible for you. Maybe it’s what you’ve lost since you became a mom, you know, those pieces of your identity that you really, really related to. Or who you were that is just not a possibility. Now that you’re a mom, maybe it’s how your priorities have shifted. Give your feelings, space and time.
And I know that that’s not what you want to hear right now. You want to fix it? Like we just want it to be better. We don’t want to sit in this pain. We don’t want to feel this pain. We don’t want to feel the hurt and the loss, but the first thing that you have to do is be okay with not being okay. Do not try to muster up strength to push through this and convince yourself that you’re fine.
There’s a difference between being tough and being strong, and also like pretending that you’re not really okay. Please trust me that this is not going to end well if you just push through, like the body always wins. It always comes out and it’s not always pretty when you suppress things for so long that you eventually have a breakdown.
Okay. Been there, done that. I’m telling you, please don’t do that to yourself. Tell someone that you can trust about how you’re feeling. So you, maybe you do reach out to a counselor or find a postpartum support group or a close friend or a family member. Like I remember in those days, vaguely, my husband and my mom and close family just being super supportive.
Like, they live close to me. Obviously my husband lives in the same house as me, but my mom and family, they live locally. And so I was surrounded by support and yet I still struggled for a long time. Okay. I talk more about this in, I believe it’s episode two, one or two… The very, very beginning. I think it’s called When Motherhood Doesn’t Go According to Plan, but you know, I was surrounded by support and I still felt empty.
I still felt alone because nobody who I was talking to really understood what I was going through. And I also didn’t really know how to communicate it. So you have to find somebody who’s going to kind of get it and help you be able to work through it. Or just sit with you and let you just kind of get it all out or talk with you, talk through it with you and process through it.
I love my OB, but they’re not always the best actually helping us get the support that we need because they’ll write a prescription in a heartbeat. But meds are only going to put a bandaid on a wound that actually needs more attention than that. Like in my case, I don’t know about in your case, I needed to process what I had been through.
There was some birth trauma there that I felt. Not just eliminate the negative feelings that I was dealing with as a result of the situation. Do you see what I’m saying? So you have to get down to the root of it and give yourself time to grieve and mourn and heal. That was just very, very difficult. It was, it’s a very hard thing that you are going or have been through.
Okay. And I just get chills even talking about it because I go back there like that. And I know, I know, I know how hard it is. So journal about it, get honest, get it all out. Because like I said, you can only push through and convince yourself that you’re fine for so long before it blows up. So let’s move on to number two. Also though, before we move on to number two, there are a lot of postpartum support, like hotlines and things like that.
I used to think that I was kind of this person who was above that kind of thing. Like I would look down on, you know, “I would never need a counselor or a therapist. I would never take medication. I like, I just, I’m not that kind of person that’s for, you know, this kind of person with all her little problems and bless her heart.” But it’s like, no. You, you never know what kind of situations you’re going to end up in life.
So first of all, never say never. But also, you’re not above this hurt or, or life’s circumstances, just kind of like consuming you and sweeping you off your feet. So you never know when you’re going to need help. And there’s no shame in it. There’s no shame at all. I wish that I could like, just fully normalize how normal every single person should see a therapist and just like talk things out.
I’ve gone to a therapist since then. Like just even as close as a couple years ago, last year. It is okay. It’s okay to reach out for help. It’s okay to talk to someone. There’s such this stigma around like mental health and counseling and therapy and all these things that should not exist. Okay. So now let’s move on to number two.
You have to let go of “should be” and embrace “I am.” There is so much pressure and society has so much to say about who you should be, what you should be doing, what you should feed your kids, whether or not they should have screen time. You know, all of these “should, should, should you, should, you should, you should.” But I want to challenge that and I want to encourage you to just focus on who you are.
What do you love about yourself? And I know as a postpartum mama and even, you know, having kids who are 5, 6, 7, maybe 10 to 15, like you, your body changes. Things change and there is this relearning of who you are and these different parts of you, and how they look different and how you can honor that and love that even though it may be is not what it once was.
Who knows if it will be like that again, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just learning to embrace who you are now and really learning to love yourself as you are. And I don’t just mean physically, like, what are you good at? What are you, what are your, you know, strengths? What makes you? You, you know, what do you love about your baby?
What do you love about motherhood? Just be you. And I know this is so much easier said than done, especially when you feel like you’re just floundering and those first few months, or maybe even up to a year or two. But you are going to gain confidence as you go. Because even as far, like gone, as I felt and as lost as I felt I did eventually started to gain confidence.
And she started to sleep through the night and we got into a little pattern and like a little routine. And I knew when she would nap, and I knew when she would eat. And then, you know, you get into your little routine and, you know, before I knew it, I was able to leave the house and I would go on little bitty outings.
They would be very short and then we would come back and I would feel exhausted. But you’re going to gain confidence as you go. Everybody has to learn how to be mama. We all, at some point had to learn what that meant for us, what it looks like. And it’s different for everybody. The worst thing that you can do is try to keep up with someone else.
I don’t care if she’s your best friend, like stop trying to keep up with other people and other moms who you see on social media. Whatever you found on Pinterest, whatever you know, you see in TV shows and movies, whatever. Whatever it is, like whoever you’re not, stop trying to be her. Okay. You are you, and you are perfect, and you are amazing, and you’re beautiful and you are a great mama. And you are the perfect mama for your baby or your babies.
Okay, number three. Now I know this sounds traumatizing if you have a newborn. So don’t do it until you feel ready or until you feel like it may be time. It looked different for me after each pregnancy or delivery, I should say, but getting breaks away from your kids is so important. I used to believe that I needed to be with my kids 24/7 in order to be a good mom.
Like I was this martyr. I’m just going to be with them 24/7, cause it makes me such a good mama. That is crazy. It actually makes me a worse mom when I never get a break from them. I’m sorry. Will I be the only one to say that? Maybe I will and I love them. I love them, but my mental health, like I just need a break sometimes and it doesn’t mean they’re terrible or they drive me crazy or, you know, all these things.
It just means you’re human and you have to have time for yourself at some point. You are absolutely allowed and you should get breaks from your kids. And I know it’s not easy to do, and sometimes childcare can be challenging, but it is vital to begin to start feeling like yourself again. Whether it’s been three months or three years, start getting out. Start getting breaks away from them.
Maybe you team up with a mama friend. Y’all like, she keeps the kids while you go out or sit and do your thing. And then you keep all the kids while she does, you know, get creative. And it is really weird at first. And you’re going to feel like you’re forgetting something. Like your brain doesn’t even know how to like act when you don’t have kids and you’re out in public.
I don’t even know how to act sometimes, even now when I go somewhere without all three of my kids, because my baby just turned two and she’s still home with me all day, every day. So I always have somebody with me unless I’m sleeping, you know? So it’s weird. It’s a strange thing to relearn how to be and how to function in public or anywhere without the weight of this huge responsibility and that’s normal.
But the more that you do it, the more you’re going to get used to it. And you’re going to come to realize it actually is very important. It helps you to recharge. It helps you to kind of take that break and kind of reconnect with yourself and figure out who you are, what you like now, which you’re able to do, what you want to do.
What do you feel like doing? Maybe nothing. That’s okay. But taking breaks and just having that time away from your kids, I feel like it’s so, so important. This kind of leads into number four. But number four can definitely be done with your kids as well. But it’s just doing something that you enjoy now.
Obviously you may need to modify it because, you know, if you were like an extreme mountain biker before and your baby is like four months old. Yeah, I mean, I guess some people would probably find a way to make that work and just like hop back on the trails. But for me that doesn’t sound realistic or something like I’d even want to do, but you may need to modify some of these things that you enjoyed before, baby. Then figure out how you can incorporate them now, postpartum, you know, as you’re able to. How can you incorporate your passions and your hobbies?
You know, not even to, into your everyday life, but every now and then would be a good start and just doing what you enjoy that helps you to find yourself again and remember, “I do like puzzles or I do like painting. I do like to draw, I do love reading. I do like…” Whatever it is for you. I like going outside and going for walks, those little bitty moments and those little bitty things that you can do to just remind yourself of who you are and your identity and what makes you you.
Please do that for yourself. Do something you enjoy because you enjoy it. And just so that you can have fun in the moment. Now, let me just like preface and add this little disclaimer in here and say, we also have to, at the same time, like lower the bar. Lower the expectations way down, because I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve just gone to paint my nails…
And couldn’t even get through like one hand because a baby would wake up from a nap or somebody, something happens, you know. Like it always, they have the best timing. They have the best, worst timing. And when you go to do this thing, you might sit down and have everything prepared, and then you sit down to do the thing for yourself and something happens.
Try not to freak out on yourself or them like, just try not to blow up. Because that’s probably going to happen. And then we just try again, like just please don’t give up and keep trying. Okay. Because it will eventually work. You’ll eventually find your groove and you’re going to love yourself for it and be so thankful.
Number five is to speak life over yourself. Over your marriage, over your motherhood. You are going to find evidence of whatever you’re looking for. Okay. Frame it however you choose. Look for whatever you want to look for, but that’s what you’re going to find evidence of. So if you can reframe, you know, this motherhood experience, this may be not going according to plan, but maybe you can find a one thing that you’re really enjoying about it. Or one thing you’re really good at, or maybe something that is going really well in your life apart from motherhood.
That is what you’ll notice more of in your life and who doesn’t want a more positive mindset and more positive perspective. Okay. You have to be proactive about this. Don’t wait until you feel just completely consumed and completely overwhelmed, and the negative thoughts are just so loud you can’t even think straight.
Be proactive. I like to do this first thing in the morning because you know, there’s no telling what a day is going to bring, and there’s no telling how my kids are going to feel. What kind of mood they’re going to be in, what kind of day we’re going to have. So I get up before them.
Also, I did not do this when I wasn’t sleeping through the night. So if you’re not sleeping through the night, like do not even think about a morning routine please. But once they started sleeping through the night and I was getting enough rest and I felt like that I could start getting up in small increments.
I literally started with five minutes. Like I’m not even joking. I set an alarm for five minutes earlier, every single day. And then I bumped it up from there. But I’m proactive in the mornings about what thoughts I’m going to think, what I’m going to think about for that day and just what I want to be grounded in.
Like I take action. I get to decide, okay, this is how I’m going to start my day. I might not know what’s going to happen when they all get up from, from sleeping, like out of their beds. I can’t control whatever else is going to happen. Sometimes, you know, you can’t even control your mornings because the one morning you go to get up early, the baby wakes up, right?
Whenever you sit down to like read, or sip on your coffee, I get it. But overall, just this being proactive and speaking life over yourself, declaring truth over your life and who you are is so powerful, okay. You can use affirmations to do this. You can use Bible verses, look in the mirror and repeat kind words to yourself.
Affirming words to yourself. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it. You know, there’s this difference between believing that like, you are the answer and you are so great. And dah, dah, dah, that there’s like some controversy here with Christians. My personal opinion is like the Holy Spirit lives within me.
I have Jesus in my heart. Like I’m partnered with the Holy Spirit walking with God every single day. So I’m more than enough in him. So I try to make my affirmations… They’re kind of rooted in this biblical foundation. So maybe try that if you’re a Christian, but get intentional every day, if only for 30 seconds or one minute to decide what you want to think, what you want to feel, and what you want to believe about yourself and your motherhood.
Because there is power in that, and it will help you to kind of reconnect with yourself and you get to decide how you want to show up, who you want to be, what you want to believe, what you want to think about. Okay.
That’s powerful. Let it empower you. You have that power within you, especially if you’re, you know, a child of God. You have the Holy Spirit within you. That’s powerful. Live in that. Walk in that. So the final thing that you can do to kind of help find yourself again in motherhood, if it feels like it’s consuming you, you choose one way to put effort into yourself every single day, whether it’s enjoying coffee or hot tea in your favorite mug. Cuddling up with your favorite blanket, like find these ways to just have a moment and enjoy.
I know that you’re probably laughing right now, but it doesn’t have to be 30 minutes you know, enjoying coffee in the silence. It can be just a couple seconds just being mindful and doing something for yourself. Like I said earlier, painting your nails, brushing your hair. I know that that sounds like basic, you know, human needs and it is.
Like a shower is not self care at all, but it can make you feel like a new woman. Like try it and message me. If you take a shower and you don’t feel like a completely different person afterward. Maybe you put on a little bit of lip gloss or lipstick, nothing else. You don’t have to do a full face of makeup. Just a little bit, just a little bit of something, something, you know what I’m saying? Put you hair in a ponytail or a braid.
Maybe you are in a season where you can get up and get ready every day, or most days. do that. Not because you have anywhere to go or anybody to see, but because you matter. I’ve never really been one to get ready every day, but 2020 change that for me. Like when everybody went into lockdown, I had three girls ages, five, two, and four months old.
And my kids all came home from school as all kids did. And I thought, “I’m not going to survive this, like if I don’t do something different.” I felt stuck. I felt trapped. I felt claustrophobic in my own home, I felt like I couldn’t leave. And it was just that initial, like freak out, which I’m sure most people had, but I started to get ready every day with nowhere to go.
You know, prior to lock down, I always had this belief that getting ready with nowhere to go or nobody to see was wasted makeup or waste of an outfit, but it’s not a waste. What I learned is it’s not a waste because it’s for you. It was for me, like I was showing up for myself. I did that for me to remind myself that I matter. You matter, you are worth the time that it takes to spend 10 minutes getting ready.
You are worth at least putting on a bra and changing out of your pajamas and putting on some yoga pants and a t-shirt, or maybe you get a little crazy and put on some jeans and a shirt, do it for yourself. Okay. Because you matter. Okay, put effort into yourself just because. Just because you matter and watch how it changes the way you feel about yourself, what you think about yourself, how you carry yourself, how you show up every day.
This is your reminder that you are doing good. You are a good mom. It is hard. And most women aren’t honest about that, but I will be the first to tell you that I have struggled. I still struggle at times as a mom. I’m finishing up my new program More Than Mama, which walks you through how to connect with yourself, how to reconnect in motherhood. It’s created for the mom who wants practical steps to find herself again, that are rooted in elements of faith.
We’ll walk through how to identify beliefs that you carry about yourself. Separate the truth from the lies. There are so, so much more included. I will tell you all about it as we get closer to launching and accepting another group of mamas into the program. But if you want more information, as soon as it’s available, please join the wait list.
You can find that link below in the show notes. Share this episode with a friend if it encouraged you. Okay, share it to socials. Tag me at @heyitscason. And if you’d like to, please rate and review the podcast. I so appreciate it. It is so much more helpful than you even know when you take a minute and do that.
So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for being here! Thank you for hanging out with me. I hope these things help you. I hope you can put them into practice and really see how your life starts to change as a result of this. You’ve got this mama. You’re doing great! Don’t forget that.