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If motherhood made you feel like a different person, it’s because you are—in some great ways
Photo by Lifei Ruiz

As the saying goes, “When a child is born, so is a mother.” And has anything even been more true? From that single moment onward, your identity shifts in about a million ways. Many changes will make you feel like a rockstar. (Who knew you had a superpower for changing diapers one-handed?!) Other changes will cause you doubt.


Feeling like a new person after becoming a mom isn’t just natural—but is something that should be embraced.

In a newly published story in The New York Times, Alexandra Sacks, M.D., says that opening up the dialogue with women about the emotional changes brought on by motherhood benefits her and the child. “When people have more insight into their emotions, they can be more in control of their behaviors,” she says. “So even when the focus remains on the child, understanding the psychology of pregnant and postpartum women can help promote healthier parenting.”

Specifically, Sacks notes four major ways in which mama may feel like her world has been turned upside-down—for better or worse.

1. Your duo is now a trio

Adding a new baby to the mix will unlock a whole new set of emotions toward your partner: In some moments, you may feel like it isn’t possible to love him more. In other moments, you may wonder why he thinks it’s ok to feed a baby spicy salsa. Through it all, your partnership has taken on a whole new level of importance.

Just be sure to keep the dialogue open—because even though life may now be a bit different, that doesn’t mean your relationship has to suffer.

The silver lining: If communication skills and patience have never been your strongest traits, now is the time to strengthen them!

2. It’s natural to feel the need for your own space

As Sacks says, “Ambivalence is a feeling that comes up in the roles and relationships a person is most invested in, because they’re always a juggling act between giving and taking." And when it comes to motherhood, that can mean desperately wanting an hour of quiet peace—and then spending it aww-ing over the million pictures of your little on stored on your phone.

The silver lining: With a baby in the mix, self-care suddenly becomes a much more intentional action. So, take this opportunity to consider what hobbies are truly valuable uses of your time.

3. Accept your baby for who she is—and yourself for who you are

By the time most of us become mothers, we’ve spent years dreaming about our future family and determining what type of parents we will be. Then baby is born and you can feel thrown for a loop, either because of a child’s disabilities, external life struggles or even simply the this is real-ness that sinks in. It’s more than understandable that this can feel both disappointing and heartbreaking. But then you adjust and realize, yes, you’ve got this, too.

The silver lining: When you begin giving grace to yourself, you’ll find it positively affects all relationships.

4. Know that your child doesn’t need a perfect mother—they just need you

Whether it’s on the first day of your child’s life or a week down the line (because it probably won’t be any longer than that), we all realize at some point that we aren’t perfect parents. And, of course, we really wanted to be! But instead of letting shame take hold, Sacks says aiming to mother “good enough” isn’t about settling, but rather about accepting your humanity and allowing guilt to slide away.

The silver lining: When you dismiss the goal of “perfection,” everyone is happier—and life is, perhaps, a bit more perfect, after all.

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One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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