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The transition to motherhood has a name: motherhood. So why don’t we talk about it?

The word maturity sounds a lot like adolescence, and it’s no coincidence. Like adolescence, maturation—the developmental process of becoming a mother—is a time of transition in nearly every aspect of a woman’s life. It changes him physically, hormonally, psychologically, socially, even politically and spiritually.


While adolescence is its own field of study and well established in the public consciousness, maturity is not. but it must bereproductive psychologist says aurelie ethanOne research professor Teachers College in the US, at Columbia University.

Anthropologist Dana Raphael originally coined the term matriarchy in the 1970s; Athan revived it in 2008 and applied it to mental health to give “patience and time and support” to adults transitioning into parents, she told HuffPost.

As a psychologist, Ethan was interested in how becoming a mother changes a person’s identity.

“It’s about how I think about myself with my body, my relationships change: my relationships with my friends, the peers I hang out with, my significant other, loved ones and family members,” he said.


“It’s a very profound change – and it’s a worldview change at the end of the day.”

– Aurélie Ethan, psychologist

“But then[it’s]also thinking about myself in the larger world: How do I feel about the political system and social justice?” I can wake up to those things now too. and larger questions such as metaphysical and religious questions about the nature of the origin of all things. So it’s a very profound change – and it’s a worldview change at the end of the day.

Mothers go through a developmental path of maturation whether they give birth to a child or welcome a child through adoption or surrogacy. The acute phase usually lasts several years, but “it takes the rest of a lifetime to learn and mature and grow,” Athan said.

An antidote to the ‘bounce back’ culture


Rather than honoring the change that has occurred, the cultural conversation around new motherhood, at least in the United States, often focuses on “bouncing back.” When are you going back to work? When are you going to fit into your jeans again? When are you going to go back to the person you were before giving birth?

kendra williams is a motherhood coach and content creator Who often talks about motherhood on her social media platforms. She told HuffPost that she remembers first hearing the term in early 2021 when her kids were 2 and 3 and that she still felt “something disoriented about who[she]was.” “

“The term made me feel so seen and helped me understand what was going on in my own life outside of parenting,” Williams said. “At that point, it was a change in my career goals, my relationship with my parents and my marriage.”


Williams Wishes She’d Learned About Maturity Before Having Kids, She Says — Then, Maybe, She’d Know She Didn’t supposed Being the same person before and after.

Williams said, “The ‘bounce back’ culture is alive and well when it comes to women’s postpartum bodies, but I think many of us unconsciously go into motherhood with the expectation that Everything else in our lives should come back as well.” “It’s not like that. And while this may seem like a bad thing at first, it is also a wonderful opportunity for growth and healing.,

General The ups and downs of being a mother – instead of doing pathology

Reproductive psychotherapist Alexandra Sachs wrote in a Blog About the 2019 Psychology Today Metresense That new moms often call her to ask if they have postpartum depression because they’re feeling exhausted, bored, resentful or not enjoying every minute of the motherhood experience as much as they thought.

“Although they may not meet the diagnostic criteria for the condition, postpartum depression is the most familiar term to describe their distress,” says Sachs, who helped popularize the word motherhoodWrote in pieces.

These uncomfortable feelings are a normal part of maturation; They don’t always have to be pathology. reproductive psychiatrist sarah oreck described the transition to motherhood as “wonderful and challenging – even unpleasant”.

“Sadly, our culture is invested in myths of bliss and martyrdom surrounding pregnancy and the postpartum period,” she told HuffPost. “That’s why this word (maturation) hasn’t become more popular before.”

Oreck said, “In a world with so much stress and a lack of support for new parents, especially mothers, I see so much suffering during the transition to motherhood, when ideals of perfection cannot be reached, Oreck said. “It is important to normalize the bumps that occur during maturation, and it is also important to differentiate these symptoms from more serious perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.”

Athan said she, too, wants to normalize the conflicting feelings that come with the experience of motherhood. it’s not emotion either that one – it’s this feeling And That one, often at the same time.

“Moms will say how tired and excited I am. I am both tired, but also learning new sources of patience within me that I didn’t know I had,” Athan said. “It’s the language of growth. . And I don’t think a lot of women know it because we tend to compartmentalize things a lot.,

re-centering the woman in motherhood

Modern motherhood discourse is about how to be a better parent and raise a happy, healthy child. They are important tasks, but they put all the energy and attention on the child. Matresense turns some of that focus back on the mother.

Re-centering the woman in the motherhood conversation “feels like a breath of fresh air,” Williams said.

“I believe that motherhood is centered on the woman and the act of motherhood is centered on the child,” she said. “In a world overly focused on parenting styles, Pinterest-perfect nurseries and child development, it’s easy to overlook women. Motherhood is about the growing woman navigating motherhood.

“Our culture has been invested in myths of joy and martyrdom surrounding pregnancy and the postpartum period.”

– Sarah Oreck, reproductive psychotherapist

This may be one of the reasons that maturation is slowly taking hold: Culturally and academically, we are more interested in the child’s development than the parent’s.

“There’s always another theory about improving your parenting style and how to parent better and improve child outcomes,” Athan said. “So the emphasis of empathy has largely been on children – we understand that they are vulnerable to others of color. There hasn’t been as much interest in adult development.”

Sexism in scientific research may also have played a role in maturing, which is worth noting. Historically, researchers and their subjects were male, so many of our biological and psychological models are based on the male body and mind.

However the tide is changing. More and more women and mothers have entered academia, Athan said, bringing with them “techniques and tools and theories to tell[their]own experiences.”

In recent years, the motherhood movement has gained momentum thanks to social media, where moms are introducing each other to the word and having honest conversations about the many changes, joys, and struggles of this stage of life.

“Social media as a kind of new wave of how public health information gets out there was awesome,” Athan said. “I would probably still be refining it for years if it wasn’t for the moms and moms groups who came in and picked it up and said, ‘I need to use this right now.'”

He believes that mothers are sticking to the term because they understand it. It helps them to articulate and understand what they are feeling.

“They have their light bulb moment, ‘maturity is like adolescence,’ and all of a sudden you see the click, whether it’s in my private practice or when I’m teaching or when these mother groups are coming up to me and saying thank you.” Have been,” Athan said. “It just explains things better than the models we have before.”

Advice for Navigating Motherhood

Just being aware that “maturity” is a specific developmental stage can be powerful. It sets more realistic expectations for new mothers and society about what is to come, what support they may need during this transition and lets mothers know they are not alone if they are feeling isolated. are or are being lost or are in flux.

Surrounding yourself with a strong support system can help you weather these ups and downs. In many cultures around the world, children are raised by their extended family and members of their community — a practice that stands in stark contrast to the “relative isolation” in which we raise children in this country, Oreck said. She called it “quite unusual” and “unsettling”, as evidence of “how broken our system is”.

“In my own Latin American culture, the first 40 days after having a baby are known as la cuerentena“It’s time for new moms to rest, recover, and focus on breastfeeding while other women in the extended family feed her, provide housekeeping and other support,” Oreck said. “Here you go into labor for hours or have a major surgery and a nurse hands you your baby and basically tells you to fend for yourself that first night in the hospital.”

Be open to accepting help when it’s offered, Oreck said, “instead of categorically saying ‘no’ to the meal train or a friend who comes over to do the laundry for you.”

Williams also outlined the importance of “building your village” of supportive parents to help you through this life change and identity change.

“Many women have been told that the village has to help with child-rearing and child-rearing. But I see the modern village as a network of women who nurture and support the growing mother. “With a truly safe community of women who are in the same stage of life or beyond who can whisper the realities of motherhood and parenting without negative charge, we often hear, ‘Oh, you just Wait…’ comment.”

It can be helpful to think of maturity as a time of personal growth and looking inward, becoming familiar with the person you are becoming and your new goals and priorities. If you feel called to do so, it can also be a time to exercise empowerment and deepen your sense of agency, Athan said.

“I think parenthood opens up the cracks and that’s a good thing,” she said. “That’s where the light comes in.”

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