The Postpartum Identity Crisis: Feeling Like Yourself After Having a Baby

postpartum identity crisis

2018 Update: We still feel like this is a great discussion among working moms about the inevitable postpartum identity crisis — but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion where we asked the readers, how do you define yourself after having kids

Did you feel like you went through a postpartum identity crisis as a new mom? How long did it take you to “feel like yourself” after giving birth and becoming a mom? Do you think you ever did, or rather just found a new groove as a mom? Which activities helped you feel like your old self again, and which ones made the difference most obvious?

This is a big topic, but I think it’s a really important one. It’s also one of the things that was most — surprising, I guess? — about the whole experience of becoming a mom. Looking back I think, of COURSE everything is going to change once you have kids — and of course no one can explain it to you or prepare you for it beforehand.

The first time I had an inkling that it might take a while to feel like myself again was at my postpartum checkup with Jack, my first. When I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling like myself, the midwife casually said, “It’ll be two years before you feel like a woman again.” I thought it was the meanest thing anyone could say to me in that moment. I also wasn’t really clear on how she meant it. Physically? Emotionally? It was a bit of a mystery. But around the time Jack turned 18 months, I finally started getting my groove back. It was like seeing a glimmer at the end of a long tunnel — and I realized it was this memory of who I’d been before becoming a mom.

It wasn’t just the lack of sleep, the lack of me time… it wasn’t just my new mom body… it wasn’t just missing my 20s and early 30s, or the freedom that came with being a DINK. For me, the easiest way to think about it — the way I’ve finally settled on thinking about it — was that becoming a mom meant the almost total death of my carefree self. I won’t be totally carefree, ever again. It sounds heavy, but I don’t think any parent ever will. There are so many positive trade-offs, of course — the joy my boys bring me on a daily basis, the way my heart sings when I look over and they’re both having a snuggle with daddy, the sense of contentment — of completeness — I feel with my family, the pride I feel for their growing up so well. But not carefree — I am never carefree.

In the three and a half years since becoming a mom, I’ve broached the topic with a few friends, privately and even at parties, and it’s amazing how everyone seems to feel like this — dads, moms, everyone. We all struggle with this new reality. I think it might be more difficult for Type A women, as I tend to associate us with having a stronger sense of self. I’ve mentioned this before, but I saw one successful woman recently note on Facebook that she stopped nursing her children at the 15-week mark to regain a sense of herself — but I don’t think it would have been that easy for me, even if I had stopped nursing then.  Part of this is a problem of time, or lack thereof — between family and work there hasn’t been a ton of time for doing some of the things I’ve done in the past to get my groove back, such as taking a writing class just for the joy of writing.

I don’t know, guys — the postpartum identity crisis is a big topic, and one I’ve been hesitant to write about for fear of choosing the wrong words.  What has your experience been with this? Did you feel like you lost “yourself” for a while after you became a mother? What helped you find yourself again? 

Photo credit: Shutterstock/irin-k.


A lot of moms go through a postpartum identity crisis -- yet no one seems to talk about it a ton. Working moms talk about how to stop feeling lost and feel more like yourself after having a baby.


  1. Autumn says:

    My little one was born 13 months ago and I still don’t feel like myself. I’ve started therapy and I’m seeing my OBGYN next week for a checkup, and I’m planning to ask about PPD and possible medication.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about time. There is just not enough time to do the kind of self-care I used to do whenever I felt “off.”

    I hope some BTDT moms pop in with some good advice…

    • Stephanie says:

      I’m eager to see the replies to this. At 9 months post partum, I still don’t feel like myself. I think you hit the nail on the head – self-care has fallen by the wayside.

      I’m also curious about the link between weaning and feeling like yourself again. I’m ready to go back to wearing clothes that aren’t nursing or pumping friendly.

      • Autumn says:

        I really thought weaning was going to make a big difference… and it didn’t. It’s nice to not have to plan around pumping, but I guess I expected to *feel* better afterwards and I really didn’t. I still feel touched out, I still don’t feel comfortable in my new “mom” body (even though it doesn’t seem that much different from my pre-baby body), and I still feel completely overwhelmed. Actually, I look back at my pumping days and I cannot fathom how I ever made it work.

  2. POSITA says:

    I just hit 18 months and feel like I’m turning a corner. It feels really good.

    The hard part is now that my husband and I now feel the need to move beyond crisis mode to some sort of maintainable routine–but I’m a Big Law litigator. Things just aren’t that easy. We know that we can’t live in crisis mode forever and there’s suddenly a lot of pressure to figure something out to make everything work.

  3. Ohhhh, excellent topic. This is long and rambling.

    My oldest is three and my youngest is 18 months and I’m just now starting to feel like I’m getting my groove back. In the past few months, I’ve started having dinners/drinks out with friends more, having the kids spend the night with the grandparents for “date night,” and just generally feeling more like myself and less guilty about wanting to spend time how I want to.

    I don’t know if having kids right on top of each other exacerbated it (more than likely), but I feel like we’re finally emerging from “constant crisis mode” to “manageable chaos.” Before now, all my “self-care” time was sacrificed because I was either too busy or, even if I legitimately had time, the working-mom-guilt hit me and I couldn’t make myself spend time away from my kids when we were together. I still feel that way sometimes (ask me how long it’s been since I had a pedicure), but I’m getting better.

    More than anything, forcing myself to get up and workout every morning before work has given me my sense-of-self back. It’s horrible and early and every morning I want to go back to sleep, but I feel off-kilter the rest of the day if I don’t do it. I didn’t exercise consistently (or at all…) basically since I was pregnant with my first. So my morning routine is not only helping be healthier (which makes me happy), and lose weight (more happy), but also giving me time to only focus on myself. An extra hour of sleep is worth sacrificing, for me.

  4. Philanthropy Girl says:

    My LO is six months old, so I’m still pretty early in this journey. I feel like I slipped into motherhood almost seamlessly. I don’t really mind that my social life has dwindled or that my time to exercise or read a book is less – the self-care component has not been a big issue for me. What I do mind is how distracted I feel from all my other responsibilities: work, marriage, volunteering and so on. I feel like I “mom” really well, but anything else is getting far less of my attention and energy and so I don’t do them as well. Others do not seem to notice a lack of quality when I have asked for honest feedback, but I feel that I’m not giving my full efforts.

    • Autumn says:

      I feel that, too. I think it was easier to give myself a pass the first few months back at work, but I’ve been back for almost a year and I *still* feel distracted and like I’m not giving my best effort most of the time. The guilt is crushing me.

      • Kasey says:

        I feel exactly the same, and my two are almost two. I thought maybe it was just me, though, because several other women in my law firm with whom I closely work have children and (seemingly) have no problem focusing.

  5. I’m not sure when I turned the corner exactly. Sometime after 12 months and sometime before he turned 2. I feel pretty good! Almost sexy, sometimes. I am not disgusted when I look in the mirror anymore, though I could still stand to lose weight and tone up. Let’s put it this way – we don’t have a scale at our house! We are still breastfeeding – not my plan, but here we are! – and I wonder if things will level out even more once I no longer have those hormones in play.

    I can’t remember where Kat said it, but she once used the term “pregnancy corridor” to describe this stage in our lives… and I wonder if, once you’re completely out of the pregnancy corridor, things change for the better?

  6. Lorelai Gilmore says:

    I think there are multiple answers to this question, even just for me.

    With my first, I felt like I didn’t really “recover” from the pregnancy and birth until nine months after she was born. This was also about 2 months after I stopped breastfeeding, which may have had something to do with it.

    But in terms of feeling like myself, it didn’t really happen until my daughter was at least 2. And shortly thereafter I got pregnant again and the cycle just repeated.

    Now, my kids are almost 4 and 1.5. I don’t know if I feel like myself, if I feel like a new person, if I feel recovered. There’s so much work involved in having two kids, a big job, a home, a family. It’s all wonderful, but it’s a ton of work. There’s just not very much space in there for me. I agree with Kat that a lot of it has to do with the death of the unencumbered self. When my daughter was born, I, in my crazy post-partum head, told myself that I would walk over hot coals, throw myself off a bridge, sacrifice myself however it took to keep her safe. And it made me feel better to reassure myself that I would do those things for her – that I would protect her at any cost. (Those bonding hormones are no joke.) I don’t feel crazed like that anymore – but I also think that when you love someone that much, it is impossible to ever feel free of vulnerability, free of worry.

    • Anonyc says:

      Great points. I think each birth/child is different. For me, it got a little easier after each baby, but getting back to “normal” means getting back to having-kids-normal. Mostly this meant getting more sleep (than a newborn allows, but I’d be remiss to imply that I ever get enough sleep), wearing regular clothes, starting back at work. Physically it took a bit longer with kid one to get back, but back meant a new body (smaller, actually, thanks to all the stress and nerves and BFing). The hormone roller coaster starts to ease up around 2-3 months for me, but the sleep deprivation can have the same results. Another big step is when BFing ends (for me, a little more than a year each time).

      But yes, the unencumbered self is g-o-n-e. I had kids relatively early, so I am still sad I never really had any years of DINKness, or of fun late 20s/early 30s. And the combination of two FT (or FT++, for my husband) and three kids means there is really no solid or predictable “me” times. I can often get an hour or so at night after the kids are down to eat dinner, maybe watch TV, but that’s after cleaning up, dishes, taking care of random things (like signing people up for camps/daycare, the current time-suck in my life), etc. so that hour for dinner and bad TV watching is often 11-12.

      I love my kids so much–we often comment how lucky we are and how great our kids are, in our unbiased opinions, of course–so this not a complaint. We definitely are so lucky, in so many ways (and the further into parenting I go, the more I realize that so much stuff is just dumb luck). But in terms of getting back to me, or even trying to carve out some real time for myself…I’m still holding my breath. Hopefully in a few years?

      • Lorelai Gilmore says:

        +1 on camps. I can’t believe how much time I have spent getting summer camps organized (and just for one kid!).

        • Anonyc says:

          Oh-em-gee, trying to figure out school breaks/days off/ending and summer coverage is so insane. I was kvetching with some other parents about this at a birthday party recently–figuring it all out is exhausting.

          Sidenote: I honestly think there’s a business opportunity out there for someone to survey all the camps in a general geographic area and then have the 100 or so options available. But the kicker would be that families sign up with the service and the service does all the registrations. I would love to have one site to go to, search what’s out there (like, spring break week camps), and (having preregistered with the service) do a simple add to cart/one-click sort of thing. Kayak for camps, if you will.

          Angel investors, come find me! ;-)

          • Lorelai Gilmore says:

            I have $20 in my purse that is all yours to make this happen.

            If we’re dreaming, let’s also sort all of the camps by schedule. I’d love to be able to look at all of them and then exclude any camp that ends at 1:00, or doesn’t have extended care, or only runs four days a week.

            Oh, and when you sign up for a camp, you automatically can save it into your iCal or Outlook calendar, complete with all of the registration information!

          • Anonyc says:

            YES. And the service would pre-buy a few slots at a lot of the more popular camps so they would be able to save the butts of those of us out there who, ahem, have been known to call up and beg some poor camp director to please, please sneak us in for those last two weeks of August that we spaced out about and didn’t plan anything for because we’d just had a baby, bought our first place and moved, and DH was effectively gone for a month on trial. (Thank you, nice camp director person! You did me a solid last year and I haven’t forgot it.)

        • mascot says:

          If my kid’s school didn’t have a camp option with extended care, he would probably be at home with the dogs and extra snacks. I’m kidding, although that may happen for the 3 weeks of summer that camp is closed
          This is our first year of this camp thing and it is a somewhat pricey shock to us.

  7. I was about 11 months post-partum, getting back into old clothes and into the swing of things, and whoops, preggers again…

    For me, it was also about accepting the “new normal” and sort of mourning the loss of my old life. I had a pre-natal yoga teacher reiterate the importance of kindness. Kindness to ourselves (self-care), and kindness to our partners (and vice versa).

    During the new-mom/parent stage, I think we have to scale back on our expectations, which was hard for me to do. No, I couldn’t volunteer as much, my house isn’t as clean, my body is all kinds of wobbly and different, etc. The biggest helps for me where: 1) buying clothes that I feel good in right now, 2) making a 3-item to do list each day (#1 was “keeping baby alive and healthy) and promising to cross off 2, and 3) getting outside. Something about fresh air helps.

    And I think we need to reframe the goal from “feeling like a woman again” to “embracing this phase of womanhood now”. Our bodies just did/are doing awesome and heroic things! Post-baby bodies (and minds) are still womanly, just a very different aspect of being a woman that you cannot fully appreciate until your there.

  8. Spirograph says:

    I would write a lot abt this if my baby would let me put her down today. Short version: I felt a lot more like myself about a year after the first one, second hasn’t set me back that much. The jump from one to two kids was not nearly as paradigm-shifting as dink to one kid.

    Agree that carefree days are gone… But I am hopeful they’ll come back when kids are older (like, adults maybe? But sooner would be great.)

  9. Carrie M says:

    This is a big topic. In the beginning, I was too overwhelmed to even worry about being myself again. At around 16 weeks postpartum, I went back to work, and – as hard as it was – it helped restore some of my sense of self / seeing myself as an individual/worker and not just a mom. I also started working out at 16 weeks PP (2 to 3x a week, so not a huge time commitment). I had never been a must-exercise type of person, but losing weight and gaining energy helped with my overall confidence and feeling more like myself.

    At 12.5 months postpartum, I still don’t totally feel like myself – but I think I’m close. Like POSITA, I feel like most days are just keeping my head above water at work and at home, and going from crisis to crisis.

    Honestly, though, I don’t know that there’s a way to go back and capture a “self” from the past. And do I want to? I’m not sure. There is so much I love about where I am and who I am exactly at this moment in time.

  10. Good childcare is huge. Our first place was just ok and I was having trouble focusing at work. I needed to find a daycare that I loved. So I went back on the hunt and found a great place. Paying more was rough, but it was worth it to me to have the peace of mind. Once that was taken care of, everything else started falling into place. As my daughter got older, she was excited to see her teachers and told me all about the awesome stuff they did during the day. She is now 3 and I think she likes school more than being at boring old home.

    The daycare was right by our house. So if I had a really hard day of work, I could go home and decompress for a few minutes before picking my daughter up. As she got older, I would use the time to make her dinner. At first, I felt a little guilty, but soon I realized that it was better to be in a good mood when I picked her up, then in a thinking about all the things I still needed to do at work mood. It was a good way to move from work to mom and have some alone time. It is really important to have that time for yourself. Finding a time in your day just to be yours is a really big deal. Even if it is just a few minutes.

    Lastly, I would say my biggest leap to feeling normal and not overtaxed was that I turned off my cell phone when I came home. Nothing is an emergency at night. Before babies I could check emails, take phone calls, cook dinner, etc. But after babies, I realized that the phone was too much. Funny enough, no one really noticed that I stopped answering emails at 8pm. I do get into work a little early so that I can send responses back first thing, but it is not that much of a hardship. I have even been promoted since, so I can definitely say that not being attached to my phone has worked out. The extra bajillion distractions your phone adds just stressed me out, so I dropped it. So did my husband, and he has helped out a lot more since then. Not to mention, I think we actually talk more which is nice.

    • Midori says:

      +1 on putting down the cell phone at home. I love you so much for this idea, and I am implementing it starting now. In litigation, there is very little I can solve RIGHT NOW while the courts are closed. It can wait.

  11. CPA Lady says:

    Ooooo, this is such an interesting topic. In many ways I still feel like myself, and never felt like I was not “myself” in terms of personality, even from day one. That said, I was expecting having a baby to be REALLY really hard and kind of awful. I was expecting for it to ruin my body, whatever that means, and I was also expecting to get PPD. And yes, while having a newborn was hard, having a baby has been way more fun than I thought it would be, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it. And even though my body looks slightly different I have also surprised myself by not giving a crap. My husband and I have also made it a point almost from the very beginning to take time to have fun/do stuff for ourselves occasionally both together and individually. But I actually like hanging out with my daughter too.

    The thing that I am struggling with is the feeling that I’ve sort of let myself go. I look decently good at work, but I caught sight of myself in a mirror at Target last weekend and was mildly horrified. I think part of that is the long winter and the fact that I kondo-ed my wardrobe and have basically no clothes and a lot of gaps in my wardrobe that need to be filled. I have not worked out once since my daughter was born either. I think I’ll work on that this summer. I’m actually really excited about trying to start living and eating more healthily now that it’s not just me anymore.

    I do agree with the increase in worry and vulnerability, but “luckily” (?) I’ve always been anxious, so my new ramped up level of worry is not something that makes me feel less like myself.

    • Pigpen's Mom says:

      This was kind of my experience — I had heard so many horror stories about how AWFUL the first year is that I was expecting the worst. So my relatively good-natured, easy-going baby wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I had a few weeks that felt like maybe I had PPD, but they passed and going back to work really helped. So being a mom is working out pretty well.

      BUT, I still don’t feel like myself physically– even though I weigh less than I did at my pre-baby heaviest, the weight distribution is different and my wardrobe doesn’t accommodate it. Everyday I want to cry when I get dressed and for the first time ever I’m going to miss wearing tights, since they helped suck everything in. I’m trying to exercise, but that’s hard to fit in, I hate feeling the extra skin around my belly jiggle, and I’m not at all disciplined about avoiding junk food. And to be frank, my husband isn’t the most understanding about it, which I can’t really even admit in real life.

      • Anonyc says:

        Aww, hugs. It takes a long time, and you need to be kind to yourself. I think you can’t get down about anything for at least a year, freals. Between the exhaustion, the hormones, the stress, it’s just so much. When I have gotten down about my post-partum body I try to ease up and then do something to help me feel better–from a haircut to a manicure. I haven’t exercised in, um…six years? so yeah. And I totally just ordered three more pairs of (beige) assets/spanx hose now that black tights season is ending because I, too, was freaking about not having that nice sucked-in feeling.

        Mostly I’m sorry to hear your husband isn’t understanding. Has he grown and birthed a person lately? Didn’t think so. (Sorry, I get *really* angry about that kind of shade.) Maybe point-blank address it like, hey, I just had a kid and you need to understand that I’m well aware that my body isn’t the same, so back off and perhaps even help me help myself–take child and give me two hours on the weekend or a few nights a week to go for a long walk or the gym or whatever.

      • Merabella says:

        The husband thing is part of what scares me. It isn’t that my husband isn’t supportive, he just doesn’t get how much you have to work at being healthier – and isn’t really willing to make the dietary changes/sacrifices/he eats like a 5 year old. His job keeps him pretty active, so he is all about eating whatever he wants, whereas a sideways glance at a cheeseburger will do me in. I don’t want to have to feel like I’m cooking 4 different meals to appease everyone.

        • Seriously, F him. Tell him your activity levels are different, your health needs are different and if he doesn’t want to eat the healthy meal you’re preparing for you and your kid he can make his own dinner. And you and kiddo will very much be sad when he dies young.

          Then go cook his least favorite meal.

  12. (former) preg 3L says:

    I don’t feel like my pre-baby self at all, and like another poster said, I don’t want to. I have this whole new dimension – I’m a mom! And I love my daughter so much. I can’t imagine my life without her and I don’t want to. I do want to figure out a way to be more active, ideally *with* my daughter so I don’t have to sacrifice weekend time with her, but I figure that will come. For now, I’m trying to enjoy the slow speed of a baby, and I’m seeing the pace pick up as she grows into a toddler (she’s 13 months). I really love being a mom and I’m so happy that I get to be my daughter’s mom.

    /I’ll probably get flack for saying any of that, but oh well. It’s on topic.

    ETA: I had severe PPD and I’m still on meds + in therapy which has obviously made a huge difference.

    • anonymama says:

      I don’t think feeling like “yourself” necessarily means feeling like your old pre-baby self, but maybe just feeling like you have a real sense of self, or even of knowing/recognizing this new self. And I don’t think wanting to feel like your old self means regretting becoming a mother in any way, or loving your kids any less.

      I think physically it took about a year to feel like myself physically, even though my body was still different in some ways. Mentally took longer, since every time I felt like I had a handle on the mothering thing, there was some new stage to figure out. It was much easier the second time around (part of that was because the second pregnancy was rough, just feeling sick all the time, and the delivery much easier, so that by the time I came home from the hospital post-partum I already felt way closer to my normal self than I had in 9 months).

  13. Wearing real-people clothes and doing my hair and make-up every day were huge for me. At first I thought “oh, now I’m a mom I’ll just let my hair air-dry and it’ll be okay.” But it was never me in the mirror. Drying my hair takes 8 min (I’ve timed it) start to finish and it’s totally worth it. Getting the rest of our lives in place has been more of a process, but we’ve really approached it one thing at a time. At first it was just getting me into the shower at least 3x/week (on maternity leave). Then it was returning to work. Then getting the babies on a schedule. Now at 12 mo., we’re finally cleaning out things that have piled up, doing household maintenance, cooking dinner and packing lunches every night. AND we use Saturday naptime for mommy/daddy “nap” time. We try to fit it in other times during the week, too, but having an hour or so every Saturday for just us is great.

    As for the never being carefree, I feel that. Exactly that. Even an evening out with friends isn’t the same. The quote “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” sums it up perfectly for me. I say I “love” my children, but love doesn’t get close. It’s like they’re part of me, the most important, most vulnerable part. I don’t think them growing up makes you any more carefree because then who knows where they are or what they’re doing or if they’re safe. Every night I look at my boys sleeping in the nursery, I feel grateful they’re there where I can touch them and think about how hard it will be when they’re sleeping somewhere else and I can’t peek at them before bed. And they’ll have problems I can’t fix and face dangers I can’t fend off.

  14. profmama says:

    Timely! Just this weekend, I commented to my husband: I feel like myself. My daughter just turned three.

    Over the weekend, I drove alone to a conference on topics I really care about, an hour outside the city, amidst rolling hills and dairy farms. Being outside, talking deeply with others on these topics, and knowing my daughter was having a great day with daddy allowed me to be more relaxed and unconcerned – and freer to just be myself – than I’ve been in a very long time. Just driving away – by myself – felt very freeing.

    For both my husband and me, one of the biggest losses has been outdoor, alone or together. Of course, we can go on hikes or strolls with our daughter, but we used to spend full LONG days outside, pushing ourselves hard and coming home by headlamp. I don’t know if we’ll ever get that back. As a parent, I’m not comfortable doing some of the things I used to do.

  15. OnMafer says:

    My oldest is 3 and my younger son is 10 weeks. Oddly, I feel more like myself now than I have since I got pregnant with #1. I’m not sure why. And I feel more motivated to focus on my career than I have in a long time. Like a lot of posters I dislike how my postpartum body has turned out and wish I could exercise, but I’m kind of ok with it.

  16. Merabella says:

    Still pregnant, so take this all with a grain of salt.

    I found that during the first trimester I really didn’t feel like myself. My clothes weren’t fitting right, but I wasn’t showing, just bloated, didn’t like food, always felt tired, always felt “off.” I haven’t had little mister yet, so I’m sure that there will be a transition, but that fog of the first three months gave me an idea that I need to focus some time on taking care of me. Once I got back into working out a little (prenatal yoga/water aerobics for the win!) and eating regular food again (instead of the ritz crackers and chicken noodle soup that were the only appealing foods during the first bit) helped me regain a sense of equilibrium. Obviously I’m prepared to be completely shellshocked by having a baby – I’m a prepare for the worst kind of person – but it is nice to see that even with first time moms there is light at the end of the tunnel – even if it is a LONG tunnel.

  17. I felt pretty great around the three-month mark. A couple of things helped to make a difference: super supportive spouse who takes on a huge part of kid/house responsibilities; running (I’m admittedly addicted to running — I have to do it around 5 times a week and if I can do that all is right in my world); and nursing. I don’t know if this is a thing, but I swear I got high off of nursing. My let-down was accompanied by an intense feeling of relaxation and well-being, which is why I think I nursed both of my kids for so long. It also really helped me lose a lot of weight — I weigh less when I’m nursing than any other time in my life — so I was able to wear things I could never get away with at my “normal” weight and that made me feel great.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      Thanks for posting this! It’s nice to see someone feeling like themselves so soon after pregnancy. I felt like myself about 6 months post partum and for me, for better or for worse, it was linked to losing most of my baby weight (the last few pounds came off after I stopped nursing around the 14 month mark). When I went back to work and fit into my cute, non-maternity clothes, did my makeup and hair, wrote legal briefs, and met up for lunch with friends, I felt like myself. Since then, I’ve also really tried to do a bunch of non-kid stuff — I joined the board of a nonprofit, started a book club, regularly had “friend nights” on Fridays while my hubby watched the baby, etc. I was only able to do this because I have an immensely supportive and hands on spouse. All of this did wonders to feeling like myself again.

      I am now 2 months post partum with my second. I certainly don’t feel like myself yet but I’m hoping I will a few months down the road.

  18. I am 3 months post partum and just returned to work. Working helps me feel a little more like my old self, but I don’t have the time, energy or desire to do the things I used to do for fun. Fun now is getting into be early so I can enjoy 12 hours of broken sleep!

    When I first got pregnant, I worried a lot about being “Mommy tracked.” I didn’t even announce my pregnancy at work until I was 22 weeks (just had the anatomy scan showing all was well and just started showing) because I was worried I’d be taken off a large project I was on.

    Well…no one mommy tracked me but sometimes I wish they would! I hate admitting that and I feel like I am setting feminism back, but pregnancy made me extremely tired and I felt like I didn’t perform well. Like others mentioned, it may not have been the case because I was actually promoted and given a raise despite my self-perceived slacking. And of course now post partum, being sleep deprived is not great for my performance. Combine that with feeling like the only time I have a moment to myself is at work (since baby is with the sitter) so work time is spent day dreaming and googling more than in the past and I feel like a regular slacker!

  19. Saffron Jackson says:

    Thank yo for writing this! I’m 9 months in and I honestly was starting to worry about myself. After spending the day feeling a bit low I cottoned on to the fact that this has been such a change and everyone tells you about the physical changes and the lack of sleep and the massive learning curve but no one really mentions the emotional changes apart from scaring you about PND. I really feel you’ve hit the nail on the head! I love my son and now he’s 9 months it’s become so enjoyable over the past few months but I do feel I am mourning the loss of my old self and I’m not quite sure what or who my new self is! And I am struggling with that as I’ve always know myself pretty well. And like you say it’s not being able to just not being that carefree person anymore. Not to say that’s bad think I just feel like I am in a tunnel of change and I am looking forward to getting out of that and getting know this new mummy me! Good to hear it’s not just me!

  20. Cierra says:

    With my first, I started to feel more like myself once i stopped breastfeeding at 11 months. The stress of exclusively breastfeeding for a baby that wouldn’t take a bottle or pacifier ever! Was getting me down to the point where I was feeling trapped and depressed. So I made a decision and just went cold turkey and switched to formula. Of course my baby took to it instantly!…go figure..but after that point I felt like a weight was lifted. Then a month after that I returned to work and just got back into that groove.

  21. It is honestly nice to hear I’m not alone. I began saying to my husband around the 6 months mark of our child’s life that I felt lost. I felt guilty wanting “me time”and sleep. I went back to a very busy work environment after maternity leave, even having to train a new employee my first day back and being required to pick up extra hours. My child basically didn’t sleep the first 5 months of life, and I nursed up to 15 months. I went to my doctor when my baby turned 13 months and I still did not feel better. I was crying all the time and putting myself down constantly. I was prescribed medication but amazingly did not end up taking it. My doctor told me not to be so hard on myself. He said “you aren’t crazy, it’s just a lot on your plate the first year with a baby”. In a strange way these words were so helpful. Anyway, My child is now 17 months and I am beginning to feel like myself again. Like many other’s said I feel I’m coming out of crisis mode and looking forward to managing life. It’s now becoming fun and exciting. Thanks for the honesty from all. Hearing I am not alone gives me encouragement that this is the normal transition process into motherhood.

  22. I realize this is an old post, but I’m going to go ahead and comment because it speaks to me now. I am really struggling. I’m 11 months post partum and I feel like it’s been getting progressively worse at work, not better, since I returned 8 months ago. I’m so completely checked out, despite truly loving my job and coworkers. And yes, it’s partially driven by the fact that it’s winter and my son has had nonstop daycare plagues for five months straight. But I’m so tired. I can’t focus. And I have no idea how to get my groove back. I started therapy about a month back but it has yet to make any real difference. I feel like I’m actually doing well at this parenting thing, and my relationship with my husband is great. It’s just that there’s nothing left of me to care about or focus on work :-/

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