Navigating Matrescence: Redefining Identity Beyond Motherhood

Midnight feedings, diapers, tantrums, unconditional love, finger paints, bedtime stories, spilled milk...repeat. If you've ever felt like you've lost a piece of yourself in the whirlwind of motherhood, let me assure you: you're not alone. You’re on the wild ride of matrescence - the transformational journey of motherhood that reshapes not just your body, but your entire sense of self. 

Amidst the chaos and overwhelming love, you might find yourself grappling with questions like, "Who am I now?" or "What happened to the 'me' I used to know?" And guess what, apparently it's all part of the process. 

Matrescence, that sounds much like adolescence, was a term coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael. It describes the psychological and emotional changes a woman goes through as she becomes a mother. It's like puberty, but with stretch marks and sleepless nights instead of acne and awkward growth spurts. 

Research shows that matrescence is a profound journey that involves rewiring your brain, reshaping your priorities, and redefining your identity.  So it's totally normal and healthy to be asking questions like "who am I now?"  because it's a completely normal process. You might feel a little lost or overwhelmed along the way of finding and redefining yourself on your motherhood journey and you're definitely not alone. 

So, how do we navigate this uncharted territory with grace and sanity intact? Here are a few tips to make the journey of matrescence a little smoother:

Motherhood is messy. From spit-up stains to sleepless nights, it's easy to get caught up in the chaos. But amidst the mess, there's beauty. Embrace the imperfections, and remember that perfect is overrated (and actually not the goal). 

To all the mamas out there navigating the messy, awkward, yet beautiful journey of matrescence, I see you. You're stronger than you know, and you're not alone. Embrace the chaos, find your people, and remember to rediscover and take care of yourself along the way. And above all, know that your identity as a mother is just one piece of the beautiful mosaic that makes you who you are. You've got this.


Shoshanna Rome. Therapist and mother of two. 

Thriving Through the Holidays:  Coping Strategies for Parents

The holiday season can be a magical time, filled with joy, laughter, and special moments with loved ones. However, for many parents, this time of year can also bring a whirlwind of stress, expectations, and overwhelming responsibilities. Amidst the to-do lists of decorating, shopping, cooking, and coordinating family gatherings, it's the time to prioritize your well-being more than ever. Here are some coping strategies to help you (and me!) navigate the holidays and find moments of peace amidst the chaos.

Prioritize Self-Care

As a parent, you may find yourself putting your family's needs before your own. However, taking care of yourself is essential. Make self-care a priority by setting aside time for activities that rejuvenate YOU. Whether it's a quiet moment with a book, a bubble bath, a walk in nature, or pouring yourself a cup of herbal tea, these gestures of self love and self care may seem small, but can fill your bucket.

Set Realistic Expectations

The pressure to create picture-perfect holidays can be overwhelming, and social media doesn’t help. Remind yourself that it's okay if everything doesn't go exactly as planned. Set realistic expectations and be kind to yourself. Prioritize what truly matters to you and let go of the need for everything to be picture perfect.

Delegate and Collaborate

You don't have to do it all alone. Delegate tasks and involve your family in holiday preparations. Whether it's decorating the house, wrapping gifts, or preparing meals, sharing responsibilities can foster a sense of togetherness and lighten your load.

Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude

Amidst the chaos, take moments to practice mindfulness. Whether it's through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply being present in the moment, mindfulness can help alleviate stress and bring us into the present moment. Additionally, noticing gratitude can bring appreciation for what is right in your world.

Set Boundaries

Learn to say no when necessary. It's okay to decline invitations or limit commitments if it means preserving your well-being. Setting boundaries is essential for maintaining a healthy balance during the holiday season.

Seek Support

Remember, you'e not alone. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups if you're feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, sharing your feelings and experiences can provide comfort, perspective, and connection.

Celebrate Traditions, Create New Ones

Traditions hold special significance during the holidays. Embrace and celebrate cherished traditions while also being open to creating new ones. It's these rituals that often create the most enduring memories for you and your family.

Reflect and Recharge

Take time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the upcoming one. Use this time for introspection, gratitude, and setting achievable goals for the new year. Taking a break to recharge and plan ahead can provide a sense of purpose and direction. 

The holiday season can be a challenging time for parents, but with mindfulness, self-love, and a focus on your values, it can also be incredibly rewarding. By implementing these coping strategies, you may navigate the holidays with more ease and find joy in the precious moments shared with your family and friends. Amidst the hustle and bustle, prioritize and cherish yourself, you deserve it.


Shoshanna. Therapist and mother of two.