Questioning Your Identity

It's natural to question who you are now and what will change once the baby arrives. Here are a few things to think about to prepare yourself for the transition.

You may sometimes feel as though you've stepped into someone else's life. Your body is changing, and so are your thoughts about the world around you. Naturally you still have some days when things are almost the same as they were before pregnancy. Now that you feel better, you may get up and go to work, tend to older children, then make dinner and watch television. You do the laundry and go out to lunches with girlfriends. However, as your body continues to change, you're beginning to take stock too. What sort of mother will you be? Who are you becoming? You won't really know the answers to those questions for a long time yet, but it's important to ask them. When you're pregnant, there's a revolution going on inside you. That revolution will be mind-bendingly dramatic whether you've had children already or not and whether your actual labor and delivery are calm or chaotic. No matter where you are in your life right now, things will be different when this pregnancy ends. How different?

You will most certainly have to reorder priorities. Right now your career may be what makes you feel most passionate, or your partner, or your hobbies. Whatever your focus is now, it will shift after your baby is born. Even if you leap right back into your job after a few weeks off, or you have an au pair or partner who spends more time at home with your baby than you do, things that seem so important to you now will suddenly take a backseat to your new adorable baby's care.

There will be practical shifts in your priorities. You'll make changes to when you leave work or come home, how you get the laundry and vacuuming done, and how you sneak time alone with your partner. After your baby is born, you'll be at the beck and call of a person who weighs hardly more than a bag of sugar, so it's worth thinking about how you'll make room in your life for that new attention grabber.

Now that you're in your 2nd trimester, your emotions are less erratic, but you may still be more emotional than before pregnancy--and you can expect to stay that way. Some mothers describe this change in perspective as going from living in a black and white world to a world of neon colors. You're probably already feeling some of this, tearing up at a news account of a lost child or smiling at babies in the mall. This greater empathy with the world--and your awareness of your place in it--will continue to grow as you make the transition to new motherhood.

Finally, you are starting to realize--perhaps with fear, or maybe with relief--that your life is not quite as much under your control as you'd hoped. You've carefully chosen your practitioner and your birth center, but you're starting to become more aware that pregnancy, labor, and delivery are not things that you can plan completely, no matter how methodical or organized you are. Pregnancy and parenthood remind people that they are not always drivers of their own destiny on this earth, but sometimes merely passengers along for the ride.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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