Listen to Episode 084:
The unseen and invisible woman: shining a spotlight on identity loss in motherhood
Let’s shine a spotlight on something that so many of us mothers experience and feel, yet often don’t discuss. Worse still, many of us are totally unprepared for.
That is, the life-changing experience of identity loss that happens (for many of us women) when we become mothers.
Depending on our level of support – the tribe we have around us, the systems and scaffolds in place to uphold us – and of course the greater societal constructs and stories in our culture, many of us go through a period where we are stripped bare of who we once were, what we once did, what we look like, what we embody and how ‘seen’ we are in the world.
Let’s break this down.
We carry a baby and birth it.
Overnight our entire world is centred on this child – as it should be. And whether we want it to or not the role of primary care giver lands in the hands of the mother. Of course, in many relationships the “work” of nurturing and caring for your newborn is much more fairly distributed. However, largely so, it lands in the hands of the mama.
She goes on maternity leave – stepping away from work, passion projects, businesses.
She feeds the baby regularly – often waking repeatedly overnight.
She loses touch with friends – especially those without children – and activities that were once a huge part of her daily life.
Her body dramatically shifts – in a huge state of recovery and for some of us, completely unrecognisable.
The list goes on.
And because of where we place “MOTHER” on the list of important “JOBS” these women often find themselves, quite surprisingly, in an unseen, invisible state. No longer “seen” and valued for anything other than how well she is raising and nurturing the baby – even her postpartum healing and support is not the primary focus but the babies well being trumps her own feelings and experiences.
She is no longer valued for the work she does in the world or the money she makes. Her contribution, again, “reduced to rearing children”. Which, if you ask me is the most valuable of work and yet the world doesn’t place this on the highest of pedestals, as it should be.
She is now invisible. Often alone. Often tending to the child’s needs alone for most of the day.
Everything she once identified with as a woman has been stripped away and what is left feels foreign.
Yes she has her baby. Yes she is a mama now and deeply obsessed and madly in love with her child. But also, yes, she is lost, confused and hurt.
What then happens is some women plummet into the darkness that’s right there, seducing her to surrender into the hurt and sadness of this unseen, invisible woman…
Tune in to hear more on this powerful and important acknowledgment of a very common and unspoken experience for woman as they become mothers.
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Beautiful one, thank you for being here and listening. It would mean the world to me if you would hit subscribe and stay connected to One Woke Mama – join me on this journey of awakening. Your feedback, comments, reviews and shares would always be gratefully received but also help us to reach more mamas who need support as they navigate the choppy waters of motherhood and all it asks of us.
Love + light,