I’m not sure why I expected that becoming a mother would automatically make me feel more confident. But I was definitely surprised at how wrong I was. I felt more insecure in pregnancy and new motherhood than I had since I was a teenager. It seemed like the ground was always shifting as my body, and then my baby, grew.
Any transition is tough on the self-esteem…and is there a bigger transition than becoming a mother?
I just read this great piece in the Huffington Post on Maternal Self Esteem, by Jessica Zucker, an LA PhD who specializes in women’s issues and the transition to motherhood. Zucker explains how body image and identity issues can sometimes conspire to challenge a woman’s confidence during pregnancy and new momhood, and gives some great tips for how to manage these feelings.
The column is part of This Emotional Life, an excellent series on PBS which covers postpartum mood disorders, among other emotional issues. I agree with pretty much everything Zucker says on the subject (in fact, it’s right on track with a lot of our own thoughts in From The Hips). It’s not a long piece, but it covers a lot of bases. Here’s one of Zucker’s thoughtful insights on the process:
“Rarely are women enjoying the idyllic “glow” rumored to accompany pregnancy. Instead, pregnant women often find it an arduous task to establish a sense of comfort in their newfound maternal skin.”
If you’re finding the emotional trip to motherhood a mixed bag, this piece is a great reminder that such feelings are more common than not.