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Mothers Corner: The Postpartum Identity Shift

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Our personal journeys into motherhood are all so different, yet what I am witnessing through supporting women is that within our postpartum realms, we are all asking ourselves the same questions...

"Who am I now?" "Where do I go from here?"

"Will I ever feel like 'me' again?"

There is a collective grief that we cannot return to what 'was', carried with the realisation that we are not being recognised or supported for what now 'is'. How we navigate this and move forward is entirely dependant on our self awareness, personal circumstances and support systems.

As mothers, our vital pillars of nourishment, rest and connection all need to have established foundations before our arrival to postpartum and unfortunately, most of us are only realising what we need when we are already too deep into the depths of needing it.

The first 40 days of your postpartum period determine the next 40 years of your health (Ysha Oake). Your brain and body will adapt as a result of your birth experience: and you have the opportunity to rewire your systems either for stress and fear, or for vitality and happiness. How we feel within our selves and who we are, plays a critical part in how we will adapt to life after birth.

The identity shift we will inevitably experience needs to be validated and in the busyness of being mothers, we are unable to find the time or the safe space to explore how this shift feels within us and how it is being reflected outward. As our internal world changes it creates impacts on our external world - our babies, friends and families all feel the ripple effects of who we are becoming.

Perhaps you are finding yourself beginning to explore what is next for you...

How can I begin to move forward, rebuild and embrace these changes I am experiencing?

I support my postpartum clients to journey back to their experience of birth and help them to explore how they felt and what they went through to bring their babies into this world. This begins the foundation of our healing, we are rebuilding as we uncover.

What is most important to me?

How do I want to feel?

Who/What supports my next steps?

We are beginning to remember birth as a Rite of Passage, entering the birth portal as one person and leaving it behind as another but what needs to be reflected on is that this Rite of Passage is not complete for any woman until she is validated for what she has been through, for the layers of self she has shed and for who she is as she emerges on the other side. From this she is more likely to move forward with emotional closure, good health and vitality.

As women, we can experience a range of challenges and difficulties during our transition into motherhood including the acceptance of our birth story, anxiety, depression, and general adjustment difficulties to becoming a parent. Having a space to talk through, explore how you are feeling and what you are experiencing or have experienced is extremely important in the health of your wellbeing, your capacity to recognise your own needs and in feeling connected to the developing relationship with your newborn.

To feel prepared for your birth and supported during your postpartum recovery, Vanessa is available at Auckland Physiotherapy for in person appointments on Fridays.


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