When you are pregnant and after you have your baby, you see it everywhere. Pregnancy blogs, magazine articles, parenting books, support groups, and from doulas. Mama has become the term to describe women who are expecting or who have children. No doubt it is a term used out of affection for this life-changing time. A way to recognize the transformation of women into mothers.
Motherhood is amazing. It’s challenging, consuming, self-sacrificial, and transformative. Motherhood changes the core of your entire being and it deserves to be recognized.
Is “mama” the best way to recognize motherhood?
Your babies will grow into toddlers, children, teenagers and eventually into adults. You give everything you have to them. So much giving that many women experience the struggle of losing their identity as an individual over the course of being a mother. This can be especially difficult for women who stay home or work from home to raise their babies. Everything in your life revolves around being a mama. Our children define us as women.
Many mothers struggle with depression when their children are young. Many feel they have lost themselves and have no idea who they are anymore. They don’t know what they are interested in or want for themselves. They no longer take care of themselves. Many feel isolated and have few friends they can go out with, and if they do have friends they go out with, the conversations usually revolve around their kids. Feelings associated with loss of identity.
Doula Christi here, getting a little personal now.
This loss of identity happened to me too. It is difficult to share such a personal story because talking about this is still taboo and brings about fear of judgement. I developed postpartum depression which lasted for a couple years. I didn’t understand why. I had a loving husband, a home for my family, and kids who I loved with all of my being who brought me great joy. But at the same time I felt trapped and unhappy. One day I woke up and realized I didn’t even know myself. I knew my life and my kids but aside from being wife and mom, I had lost Christi.
I sought support and advice from my online support group for mothers, and the responses made it worse:
- “Hang in there mama. It gets easier.”
- “Oh mama, focus on your family and the great life you have.”
- “Try getting together with other mamas who have kids so you can get out of the house and talk while the kids play.”
Every last bit of advice offered was centered around being a mama.
The idea that I am a woman named Christi was lost. I was no longer an individual person separate from mama.
What finally got me out of my depression? I focused on Christi. ME. My individual soul as a WOMAN. Separate of my children. I found me again. I stopped referring to myself as “wife and mom” or “work at home mom.” I focused on things I like to do that aren’t centered around my kids. I even bought things for myself that I never would have due to the “mom guilt” and feeling selfish for putting my wants before those of my children. I found myself. I found my balance and embraced ALL the things that make me who I am. The whole woman.
THIS is why we will not call you mama.
We will call you client, or by your name. Because we don’t believe you should be mama to anyone other than your children. We see YOU. An individual woman becoming a mother. We know that as a mother you will give everything of yourself to your children. We don’t need to call you mama to recognize this huge role in your life.
If you find yourself struggling with postpartum depression or mood disorders leading up to, or after the birth of your baby, we are here to support you. Contact us anytime or arrange a meet & greet to talk about how we can help you maintain yourself as an individual while balancing the role of mother.