Zelophehad’s Daughters

Continuity and Discontinuity in Identity During the Transition to Motherhood

Posted by Beatrice

One of the key principles of developmental psychology is continuity and discontinuity. In lay terms, this refers to what changes and what stays the same within an individual over time. I have been thinking a lot about this recently because of my own personal journey into motherhood and how that journey evolves as my son grows and changes.  Last week, I pulled out the photo books that my mom had faithful constructed of my growing up years.  Just looking at the photos reminds me of the type of person I was throughout childhood, high school, and undergrad.  I was always very contemplative and “in my head”. I would spend hours reading books in my room and would often sit back and listen carefully during social exchanges rather than participate. Processing time was always really important to me. I think these characteristics manifested themselves in both my social life as well as my academic one. These skills were fostered during my undergrad years and continued to be fostered during graduate school. I learned how to think deeply and write about theoretical issues in psychology. I learned how to foster ideas through conversations with colleagues.  In the social realm, I was surrounded by other people in graduate school and especially enjoyed talking to people outside of my field. I could learn so much by talking to them about their fields of study and questions that they were tackling.

While I just assumed I would probably be a stay-at-home-mom during my childhood and teenage years, that idea had been fading during my undergrad and grad school years. The more I developed my abilities and passions during graduate school, the less I could see myself as being happy as a stay-at-home mom. I married during my second year of graduate school and four years later I felt strongly that we should have a child. I was pregnant while I was writing my dissertation and my son was born one month after my dissertation defense. During that month, I was working on revisions my committee had requested and submitted the final version a day or two before my son was born. Thus, I literally went from full-time graduate student to full-time mom overnight. To say that the change was jarring would be an understatement. I was at home full-time for the first 10 months of my son’s life and then started teaching undergrads part-time. When I started teaching again, I practically cried from relief and the sense of joy it brought me.

My son and I were doing really well for a long time. He was pretty good at entertaining himself, so while he played with toys I would work on lectures, grade papers, and write. I felt more like myself again. However, over the last couple of months, things have started to shift again. My son has become a lot more verbal, and talks to me almost all day long (see footnote). It is really fun to interact with him in a different way, to see how his language skills develop, and get little insights into how he is thinking about things in the world. (Just yesterday, he pointed at a rocking horse and said “horse seat”). On the other hand, I have almost no mental space to myself any more. I feel pretty far from the introspective, contemplative person who I was in high school, and who I still feel like I am at my core. Of course, I know that this phase won’t last forever. But for now, I have been struggling a lot with my identity. I have heard others comment that it is easy to lose a sense of your identity when you are the mother of young children. I now more fully understand what they are saying.

The thing is, I don’t think that this process is the same for everyone. For me, becoming a mother was a jarring break from what I had been doing in my life up to that point. Even since my son was born, I have been slowly trying to integrate my identity as a mother into my identity as a whole, but it has been difficult for me. For other LDS women, becoming a mother is a very different journey. I have family members who have wanted to be a mom their whole lives. Since they have prepared and planned and looked forward to that day, having children brings a sense of fulfillment and a sense of finally coming into their own. Their development is much more continuous in that becoming a mother is a natural continuation of what they have been doing up to that point.

I have been wondering what makes the transition easier or harder for different women. Is it personality type? Past experiences? Current circumstances? The way they conceptualize motherhood? I imagine that it is probably a combination of all of these factors (and possible others that I didn’t list). Regardless of whether the transition to motherhood is easy or difficult, I think identity is important thing for us all to think about. I believe that it is important for women to have a strong sense of themselves and to be able to match who they are with who they want to be. I believe that when women sacrifice their sense-of-self for others, everyone suffers. I also think that it is sometimes hard for different women to understand each other. A woman who finds a strong sense of purpose and self-fulfillment through motherhood may have a hard time understanding why other women feel like they are losing their sense-of-self in motherhood (and vice versa). What do you think?

Footnote

These are the typical conversations my son and I have all day long.

Son-Mom, firetruck!  (pointing)

Me-Yeah.

Son-Firetruck!

Me-Uh, huh.

Son-Mom, look firetruck!

Me-Yes, a firetruck. (He is much happier if I actually repeat what he is saying instead of just saying “uh-huh”)

This continues until he is happy with my response, and then he starts talking about something else.

25 Responses to “Continuity and Discontinuity in Identity During the Transition to Motherhood”

  1. 1.

    I think choice, or the illusion of choice, and desire are both important parts of transitions.

  2. 2.

    I was talking to a guy recently who found the transition to fatherhood not just jarring, but traumatic — partially, at least, because his wife was apparently pretty severely depressed (“checked-out” was his term) after the birth of each child, and he had to take on almost all of the infant-care as well as working full time. Reading your post, though, I wonder if another part of the difficulty wasn’t also that as a guy, he’s less likely to have been encouraged throughout his life to imagine his future identity in terms of fatherhood, which made the transition all the more painful.

    I know this is one of the things about motherhood that I find terrifying — that once I have a child, I will be reduced to a 24/7 caretaker who never gets to go on a roadtrip or a read a novel in peace again. And, watching my sister with her kids, I don’t think I’m entirely wrong. :) But I’ve heard it gets better.

  3. 3.

    Melyngoch,

    That is a such an interesting comment about fatherhood. It would be really interesting to hear more men’s perspectives on the transition.

    As to your second comment, I think the most important thing is that kids are growing and changing and that something that worked in the past might not work anymore. So, for both the mother and the father, when something isn’t working anymore they should recognize it and talk about making adjustments. Nobody should sacrifice themselves for the good of the rest of the family when their own needs are not being met. Everyone needs down time and personal time.

  4. 4.

    “Everyone needs down time and personal time.”

    For me, the transition to motherhood had a lot to do with accepting that some of my real, legitimate, reasonable needs were not going to be met sometimes. For someone who grew up in comfort and privilege, that is a painful lesson.

    Also, in a way, I think it’s the first time I faced a real narrowing of possibilities. In grad school, there’s some narrowing, obviously, as you choose fields and subfields and dissertation topics, but it’s still possible to change course partially, or even do something completely different. Once you have a baby, there are some things–big, important, good things–that really aren’t possible anymore. That was (is) hard for me.

  5. 5.

    Beatrice, I have a similar temperament to yours and used to sacrifice sleep to have the alone time I craved. I don’t recommend that solution since it left me cranky and ill prepared for the emotional challenges of the day.

    I’m probably old enough to be your mother and had different cohort expectations within the LDS subculture. I clearly remember what a jolt it was to go from church teachings (doctrinal, and cultural ones then taught from the pulpit as though doctrinal) urging women to marry and become mothers at a very early age, to actual in-the-trenches mothering. I was a newish convert and didn’t yet have a filter so accepted too much as though from God. At that time women weren’t encouraged to complete college or any other important life stage self discovery experiences. Your post reminds me that the latter, while very important, is necessary but not sufficient to help mothers (and fathers) navigate the many adjustments to parenting.

    A therapist and a mentor once advised me to help the client I was casing understand the importance of replenishing (she used a pitcher metaphor) frequently to have the emotional energy to then nurture important relationships. Since you appear to be the primary caregiver right now, perhaps it’s time to consider other options so you can have some consistent time to replenish? Is your son in preschool yet? Or, if you can tolerate coping with a group of same age children, perhaps a play date group?

    And as I type I realize I’m moving into fix-it mode and apologize but won’t delete those sentences in the off chance that they’re helpful to you or another reader. Best wishes as you find your own solutions. Please share what you come up with since that information will help others.

    Lastly, I’m in the middle of reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” and your post reminds me of some of her candid comments about similar parenting challenges. Reading her book is a little bit like being in a support group although she’s such a high achiever that the pace of her resolutions can be intense. If anyone decides to read it, just treat her suggestions and experiences like a buffet and pick and choose what appeals.

  6. 6.

    Thanks so much for your words, Pepper. We actually came up with a solution that I think will work out well for our family. We have arranged childcare for the fall when I start up classes again. However, given that I am working on a big grant this month, and that my son really enjoys the social aspects of childcare, we have decided to start him in childcare a month early. I realize that most people cannot afford this type of solution, and that I am extremely lucky in my current situation. However, I hope the take away message for other women is that it is important to talk about needs of family members and think outside the box when coming up with something that will work the best for everyone. I would hope that women wouldn’t just try to “stick it out” because of social expectations when they are really struggling. Given that there is a lot of pressure within the LDS culture to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, LDS women may overlook or discount solutions that would actually be really good for their families. It took me a while to get over the “childcare is bad for your children” mentality, but seeing how good it has been for my son and myself has helped me get over that.

  7. 7.

    I’m following this thread with a great deal of interest. I find motherhood a constant, overwhelming negotiation–not just of my children’s changing needs and problems, but also of my own shifting life and pursuits in relation to them. I’m constantly coming up with plans to make it all work, somehow–care for them all day, work on my dissertation (sometime), squeeze in some exercise and some prayer and meditation in the early or late hours, and still get the rest I desperately need to do all of the above. My plans never really work, because they require superhuman energy, or at least a lot more than I have–perhaps I’ve come to motherhood so late in life, or perhaps just because motherhood is exhausting.

    The only female member of my committee with children once told me that motherhood was good for her academic work because it made her give up her perfectionism. Motherhood hasn’t been very good for my academic work, but it has definitely been good for my life for that reason. Before I had kids I had absurd expectations of myself. I find I’m a lot happier the more of those absurd expectations I’m able to give up–and my children have forced me to as nothing else might have. Before I had children, I thought life was mostly about abstract ideas. Now I realize that an alarming amount of it is about poop.

    At the same time, the sacrifices are hard, sometimes very hard. I miss academic projects and aspirations I’ve had to curtail. I wish I could travel and do research. I wish I could just travel, period. I wish smaller things, too. I could take a nap when I’m tired. I wish I could go for walks by myself and listen to NPR in the car without the enraged passengers screaming at me.

    One of the things I’ve found most shocking about church discourse since I’ve had children is how much of it is devoted to mothers and how little of it has any relevance to the actual experience of mothering.

  8. 8.

    “NPR in the car without the enraged passengers screaming at me.”

    This cracks me up. I still listened to podcasts when my son was a newborn, but he reached a stage when he would start screaming the minute I turned on any form of talk-radio.

    “One of the things I’ve found most shocking about church discourse since I’ve had children is how much of it is devoted to mothers and how little of it has any relevance to the actual experience of mothering.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Church rhetoric focuses too much on the idealized form of motherhood (the angel of the hearth stuff), and too little on the practical day to day. This may be partially due to the fact that most of the top church leaders are men and were raised during the 1950s? For me, one of the most impractical aspects of the church is that the little time men have to give to offering their SAH-wives some relief is often taken up by church callings. It is like nobody has realized that at the end of the day men might just want to spend some time with their kids, and women might just want to get out of the house and do some time with other adults.

  9. 9.

    I also wanted to point out that my situation is probably different from many other mothers. I definitely have a position of privilege in that my husband and I are both educated, he has a very good job, and I have one child. This all means that I have a level of flexibility that many other moms don’t have. So, as you mention Eve, families may come up with plans to make things work better, but people only have so much time and energy. Thus, they may not get all their needs fulfilled when children are young just because there is no perfect solution to help everyone get what they need.

  10. 10.

    “One of the things I’ve found most shocking about church discourse since I’ve had children is how much of it is devoted to mothers and how little of it has any relevance to the actual experience of mothering.”

    Huh. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that all of the apostles are men? /snark

  11. 11.

    Beatrice, those were the same two parts of ZD Eve’s comment that stuck out to me. The NPR bit made me smile; the church discourse bit didn’t. And I don’t think it can be solely the fact that most of our leaders are male, because even when it’s the female leaders talking about motherhood, it’s usually the lofty “mothers who know” stuff rather than anything practical about real everyday parenting. Even these women, who have been mothers themselves, prefer to talk about the glorified kind of motherhood in which the measure of a mother’s faithfulness is the fact that her children are wearing white shirts and ties and ironed dresses to walk miles down dusty roads to sacrament meeting in the poorest places on earth. And I really don’t know what the explanation is for that.

  12. 12.

    For me, I think a key point in the transition to motherhood was learning to stop looking back, but accepting that you are now on a journey to a different place and the place where you lived pre-motherhood has been destroyed in a tsunami or something and you can never go back there again, although you were able to bring some things with you. I confess that I wasted a lot of energy after my first child was born trying to get back to a pre-motherhood place both physically and mentally, and it worked much better once I accepted the reality of that permanent change.

    I also think a major factor in feeling comfortable in motherhood is treating it like any other professional job. I always struggle for six months in a new position before hitting my stride. The challenge with motherhood is that children grow and family constellations change, so you are often changing jobs:) But also, your colleagues can make a huge difference in workplace satisfaction, so finding peer-moms to share the experience makes a huge difference. This can be very easy if you are living in family university housing, for example, but a challenge if you are more isolated (and one year I was the only one in my ward to have a baby, so I had to actively seek those relationships elsewhere).

    I agree that identity is important, but I also think that clinging to an identity that links one too closely to a career can be just as much a trap as anything. It can be a crutch that one is leaning on rather than just standing up and boldly saying, “I am a brilliant daughter of God!” without needing the job title to back it up.

    The other thing about finding satisfaction at home is that a lot of us do other things than mother per se. I have been very involved in supporting my husband’s career, which has required giving lots of dinners, traveling internationally, editing manuscripts, helping with fieldwork, etc. I am also an effective household manager; few items that enter our home were bought at full price, we eat well on a budget, and have no debt. So we get satisfactions from other work at home, even while parenting can be a nebulous struggle.

    Also, a lot of us who are happy at home are not on duty as mothers 24/7. A lot of us teach seminary, teach aerobics twice a week, pick up a nursing shift one night a week, or whatever. When my last two babies were little, I had two nights a week to myself. Right after dinner, I could leave and not come back until I felt like it. SInce my husband was a stake clerk which took up two nights a week, this meant that he was busy four nights a week. I sometimes went to a movie or to visit a friend, but at least half the nights were spent at the medical library doing research. When I was hired for a half-time research job when the baby was in kindergarten, none of the faculty in my department had learned about EndNote yet, so I taught them.

    I don’t know any moms nowadays who aren’t planning on returning to the workplace once the kids are grown. The only question is how many children and at what age we will make that transition. The wives of my bishop, stake president, and an AA who lives in our stake boundaries have all been employed when the children were older, so that seems to be the typical pattern. Keeping up certification or learning new skills makes sense if you are going to find a job later on.

    But the best thing in all this is that each of us has the guidance of the Holy Ghost to decide for ourselves what we should be doing. Which also means that we don’t get to judge others who make different decisions.

  13. 13.

    If #12′s experiences are the new norm, shouldn’t we be hearing about a different kind of mothering across the pulpit? The angel mother ideal often crops up at at both local and top leadership levels. I spent my young motherhood years feeling horrible and guilty about myself because I didn’t measure up to the mythical idealized version then taught from the pulpit and in Relief Society. The bloggernacle has given modern women a wonderful support network and a place to be candid. I wish candor were more the norm in official networks too. Thank you again, Beatrice, for this post.

  14. 14.

    This post is amazing! I’m not a mother yet, but let me tell you, I really have put a lot of worry into the idea that I may “disappear” or “feel trapped.”

    This post and the comments are doing some seriously good stuff.

  15. 15.

    Good point, Pepper. I heard a comment in a podcast recently in which a panelist asked how many women really lived in the role of motherhood that is laid out in the proclamation. Think about all the women who don’t have children yet, are single, are childless (for a variety of reasons), who have children under age 18 and work outside the home, and all the women whose children are grown. It seems like women who are full-time SAHMs with children under age 18 may be the minority. And yet church rhetoric focuses mostly on these women, and an idealized view of these women’s role.

  16. 16.

    “If #12?s experiences are the new norm, shouldn’t we be hearing about a different kind of mothering across the pulpit? The angel mother ideal often crops up at at both local and top leadership levels.”

    i don’t know if it is a new norm. I thought it has always been the norm that we should each prayerfully decide what the Lord would have us do with our lives?

    And the idea that each of us should use our stewardship to find our own way has indeed been taught over the pulpit at least at the church level. Elder Ballard was eloquent in saying that “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family.”

    The emphasis on individual choices was also loud and clear in the worldwide training on raising a righteous posterity.

    And while Elder Holland did use the term “angel mother” a while back, he was talking about his mom getting a paid job to pay for his and her missions.

    I can’t know what other people’s local leaders say. But from the general church leadership, I don’t get the sense of only one way to be a mom. I don’t think that Elder Oaks’ or Elder Baxter’s moms were failing to live the proclamation because they were single parents, nor Elder Scott’s or Elder Bednar’s moms because they married non-members.

    It is guidance for us to consider, not a stick to beat ourselves with.

    I’m very grateful for the example of full-time mothers that I met at BYU shortly after joinging the church (Sandra Covey, Syndney Sperry Reynold, Anne Madsen), because until then, I had never considered not having a paid job. It was an eye-opener to hear about their full lives and personal growth. Although I can understand that if you were raised with that and nothing but that, it would not seem as insightful.

  17. 17.

    “I’m very grateful for the example of full-time mothers that I met at BYU shortly after joinging the church (Sandra Covey, Syndney Sperry Reynold, Anne Madsen), because until then, I had never considered not having a paid job. It was an eye-opener to hear about their full lives and personal growth.”

    Naismith, I think that this is wonderful that you saw an option that you hadn’t seen before, and that that option really worked for your life.

    It sounds like we may have had different experiences in the church, or may have different interpretations of the messages being sent. But, my understanding of church rhetoric is that staying-at-home with your children full-time is the ideal and that all women should be working toward that ideal. A need to adapt to individual circumstances is often addressed (which I think is wonderful), but being a SAHM is often taught as the best way to be a mother.

    I may have made my pervious statement too narrow when I said that most women are not living the role that is laid out in the proclamation (as the proclamation specifies that changes should be made in individual circumstances). To clarify, I believe that broader church rhetoric often frames women’s divine role as being a mother at home full-time with children, but there are a lot of women in the church who do not currently live in that situation. So women who haven’t married, or don’t have children often seek to feel valued by their religious community because they live outside of that divine role. Also, when a woman who prepared her whole life to be a SAHM suddenly has an empty nest, she may wonder how to adapt her role and find value in her new circumstances.

  18. 18.

    “But, my understanding of church rhetoric is that staying-at-home with your children full-time is the ideal and that all women should be working toward that ideal.”

    And my understanding of church rhetoric is that mothers need to nurture their children and teach the gospel to them. Things like employment status are mere details. There is no value or merit in merely being in a certain location, if one is not taking advantage of that proximity to teach and nurture. And while mothers have the “responsibility” to nurture their children, that only means that they have to answer for how it was done, not do it all themselves. (A bishop is responsible for a ward, but nobody expects him to do it all himself.) And especially that each of his has the right to know how the Lord would have us carry out our particular stewardship.

    Julie Beck addressed this issue head-on at the 2010 BYU women’s conference, saying, “The question of whether or not to work is the wrong question. The question is, ‘Am I aligned with the Lord’s vision of me and what He needs me to become, and the roles and responsibilities He gave me in heaven that are not negotiable?’”

    That is the key question that we all need to answer at every stage of our life. The answer (which changes over time, of course) is critical, and works in various situations.

    “A need to adapt to individual circumstances is often addressed (which I think is wonderful), but being a SAHM is often taught as the best way to be a mother.”

    That may be what is taught in some places, but it would be in direct contradiction to Elder Ballard’s counsel, where he clearly states that there is NO ONE PERFECT WAY of mothering.

    I also think it is important that we not read too much into commendation of fulltime parents. We had a visiting general authority who talked about his wife’s work as a fulltime mother, and what a difference it made in their family. For example, he praised her for reading all the assigned books for all their children, which I found impressive, and triggered our book club’s commitment to reading one of those each year. So I was floating out of that meeting, filled with all kinds of ideas of how to step up my game, and someone said, “Did you hear how he slammed working mothers?” No, actually he didn’t say a word about any other mother than his wife. There was no judgment except in the mind of that person claiming the slam.

    “To clarify, I believe that broader church rhetoric often frames women’s divine role as being a mother at home full-time with children, but there are a lot of women in the church who do not currently live in that situation.”

    Of course they don’t. Most don’t. Even a woman who is at home with children is going to only do that work for a brief season of her life.

    But here is the thing: Women who are on other paths get lots and lots of support from society at large. A woman can run a corporation or run for president of the US, and she is widely respected. A woman who chooses to have more than two children or take time out to be at home with children? Not so much, depending on where you live. So the mother at home needs the support of the church. And I don’t see it as a zero-sum game.

  19. 19.

    It think we are talking past each other a bit, and would actually agree on many points that are brought up in this discussion.

    It seems like the key point that we disagree on is whether church rhetoric encourages women to stay home full time or not. I think you could find examples on both sides of this argument. Although, the predominant messages I felt like I got growing up was that being a SAHM was the ideal, I do think that the rhetoric has been shifting recently to be more supportive of women in a variety of circumstances. However, the idea that being a SAHM is the ideal is still supported by many in the church. Hopefully we will keep making strides to change this.

  20. 20.

    Thanks for this post, Beatrice, and thanks to the commenters for their comments. I hadn’t ever really thought about what might prepare a person to make this transition easier. It’s fascinating to read y’all’s thoughts.

    Regarding the issue Melyngoch raised in #2, as a kid and a teenager, I never really expected to be a father because I never really expected to get married. So I was terrified of fatherhood before my wife and I had kids. I had a difficult time with our first child, both with mundane physical stuff like learning how to care for him, and with emotional stuff like feeling like he hated me when he cried while I held him. My wife seemed a lot more prepared than I was, though, and she really helped me along until now I’m quite comfortable and happy being a parent. (Of course that’s easy for me to say, as my wife has been mostly a SAHM since we’ve had kids.) I’m not sure what might have eased the transition more in the first place.

  21. 21.

    I didn’t have any real trouble with the infant stage. I’m a homebody by nature I liked being expected to do nothing more than provide clean underwear, cuddles and milk.

    Toddlers baffle and exhaust me (and everyone else I know.) I frequently post on Facebook some of the absurd sentences that come out of my mouth, to help give me perspective, that yeah, it’s a little surreal living with toddlers.

  22. 22.

    This is a wonderfully helpful conversation; thanks so much for hosting it– these are issues I have been thinking about for a while, and it’s delightful and refreshing to see a range of viewpoints discussed in such a friendly way. Thanks!

  23. 23.

    “Thus, I literally went from full-time graduate student to full-time mom overnight. To say that the change was jarring would be an understatement.”

    This was so helpful for me to read and could not have been more timely. I’m also going to go from full-time graduate work to full-time mom almost overnight. My first child is due in seven weeks. Just ten weeks ago I wrapped up a juris doctorate degree, three weeks ago my student internship at a government agency ended, and I will take the bar exam, and one more certification exam over the next four weeks. I have been running at 90 miles an hour as a graduate student for more than three years and when they call “time” on that last exam in a few weeks, it’s literally just going to stop cold. The job I have lined up doesn’t start till January. I. am. terrified. Even as busy as I’ve been studying, I’ve already become really lonely and depressed without the purpose, mental stimulation, and interaction school and work provided. Sitting in an empty apartment for 14 hours a day studying for these darn exams has not been real uplifting. So I’m REALLY worried that without more than a couple weeks between the completion of those exams and when I will once again be left alone in an empty apartment, but this time with a crying baby, that I’m going to totally lose myself and my sanity. These comments were helpful in realizing that these fears are normal, it’s OK if the transition into motherhood takes time, and that it’s OK to change the plan and adapt as family circumstances change. I really like Naismith’s comments about their not being one right way to be a mother. But I can also see other’s points that despite that advice from leadership, there seems to still be a culture that heavily celebrates the “angel of the hearth” and has left me totally unprepared for what is about to come. I’m not sure how helpful being called an “angel” is going to be when dealing with the day to day realities and struggles of motherhood.

  24. 24.

    Brem, I am glad that the post and comments were helpful for you. Because grad students are stressed for long periods of time, it seems to be common to have a crash soon after the end of schooling (such as a dissertation defense) with or without a child. My husband and I had decided to “go it alone” by not asking for family to come and help after our child was born, but I crashed in a big way. So, I ended up asking my mom to stay with me for a week and my mother-in-law to stay with me for a week. This was really helpful and gave me some much needed rest.

    It is a big shock to go from the intellectual stimulation of schooling to the often frustration and isolation of motherhood. One thing that really helped me was meeting up with other academic and professional moms. I met one at a library story-time, but sometimes you can find them in your area through various groups (try meet up.com). If there is a not a group in your area, you could think about starting one. Obviously, many professional moms work full-time, so don’t have time for mom and baby groups, but I have had good success finding people in my field who work part-time. Best of luck in your transition. I am really glad that this post came at a good time for you and wish you the best.

  25. 25.

    My husband and I had decided to “go it alone” by not asking for family to come and help after our child was born, but I crashed in a big way. So, I ended up asking my mom to stay with me for a week and my mother-in-law to stay with me for a week. This was really helpful and gave me some much needed rest.

    I found family support after both of my children were born invaluable. I was really fortunate that my mother stayed with me for quite a while after both of my kids were born, and I had sisters visit and help out as well. Just having company made a lot of difference during the worst of my depression. I really don’t know that I would have made it entirely on my own.

    I know some women transition easily into motherhood, and I know some find having family around intrusive or burdensome, but I think it’s a great idea to have some support lined up, just in case.

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