Identity Crises and Motherhood: What to Do

At some point or another, it's common for mothers to experience identity crises regarding their role. So, how can we face this situation?
Identity Crises and Motherhood: What to Do
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

If you think about it, it’s almost impossible for mothers not to experience an identity crisis after having a baby. If you talk to other mothers, you’ll come to learn that it happens to almost all of us. Whether it happens a few days, months, or years after becoming a mother, one thing is true… Motherhood causes an important change in our lives and can, at times, produce identity crises.

Before the baby and the identity crisis

Before having your baby, you may have felt completely sure that you wanted to go back to work after your maternity leave. However, you may now realize that working full-time and maintaining a growing career may not be the best option. You’re not sure how things will go.

You may wake up in the morning thinking about how much time you’ll have to get ready in the morning while tending to your baby. These worries may seem insignificant, but they’re real and valid. Therefore, when your baby arrives, you may realize you have much less time to spend on yourself. And this, in turn, can cause many mothers to experience identity crises.

Identity Crises and Motherhood: What to Do

New mothers constantly express changes in their priorities, which are good and to be expected. However, these changes can cause you to feel out of balance in several areas of your life. Before being a mother, you had time to enjoy with friends and family. Now, however, you struggle to find the right balance between your children, your partner, your job, your family budget, etc.

Identity crises and motherhood

As a result, many women come to experience identity crises. It’s completely logical – you’ve become a mother, your life has changed completely and will never be the same. But there’s something you need to understand clearly… You may just become a stronger and better version of yourself. So, when you feel like everything’s falling apart, follow the advice below:

Accept change when it comes to identity crises

This is fundamental: Don’t resist change. What would happen if you went from being a career woman to a stay-at-home mom? Nothing. Because what you do and how you do it is up to you. Accepting that life is constantly changing is a fundamental step in advancing toward the new you.

What used to seem like a good idea may no longer fit into what’s best for you and your family right now. And that’s okay! Look at change as an exciting opportunity. Take a step back and look at the woman you want to become in this new stage in life.

Be determined, but not stubborn

It’s easy to feel stubborn regarding the path your life is taking. You had a clear idea of what you wanted for your life, and now things seem to be heading in a completely different direction. If there’s something that the arrival of a new baby teaches us, it’s that being flexible makes everything easier. This is a time to be open to every new possibility.

Do one thing at a time

Don’t become overwhelmed by trying to discover “the new you” all at once. The arrival of a new baby affects many different areas of your life. For example, your internal and external confidence, relationships with your partner, family, and friends, professional goals, personal style, etc. Trying to take all of this in at once will be frustrating and ineffective.

So, focus on one thing at a time. Tackle whatever seems to be taking up the greatest amount of mental space.

Identity Crises and Motherhood: What to Do

For example, perhaps you’re constantly worrying about getting back into shape. Create a nutrition and exercise plan to help you get where you want to be. Once you feel more comfortable with your body and you’re doing all you can in this area, you can take on your next challenge.

Accept the new you during identity crises

Don’t think about going through an identity crisis as if you were trying to rediscover your old self. That person disappeared as soon as you held your child in your arms for the first time. Now you have a new YOU, in capital letters, yes, because this is important. You need to take time to resolve and accept this in order to feel comfortable.

Do you have friendships that no longer make sense in your new life? Do you need to learn new ways to communicate with your partner. Don’t waste your time crying over these changes. Rather, use them to boost your journey forward. This is your path and you need to take it on with enthusiasm.

We all go through identity crises

It’s very easy to get carried away with the images we see on Instagram and Pinterest. People on social media seem to have it all figured out, don’t they? But that’s not really the case. They’re just showing the parts of their lives that they want you to see. We all have difficulties and hardships – we just don’t always expose that on the internet.

That perfect mother that seems to have it all together had to struggle with her identity just like every other. When something as major as the birth of a baby takes place, no one’s exempt from having a crisis.

It all boils down to managing those changes with introspection, dedication, and grace. So, don’t be discouraged. You can do this!


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.