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Motherhood and the loss of self

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
motherhood, mom life, mum life
Becoming a mother is bigger than any mum envisages.

A recent blogpost in Women's Agenda caught my attention and its' topic of the Loss Of Self.

Not many of you know, that 17 years ago I completed a dissertation on Motherhood and Life Changes, in my Psychology Degree in the UK. I interviewed 10 mums on what were the biggest changes to their lives after becoming a first time mum.

Five mums were from a University educated background, Five others were educated to 16 years old and were single mums living in a housing commission/council estate in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Dewsbury is a low socio-economic area and is near to Leeds and Bradford.

I conducted 10 separate interviews and asked them many questions. The answers were transcribed and analysed by myself. It was huge. I was a Midwife but had no idea on the impact of becoming a mum.

Three major themes were identified.
    • The Loss of Self
    • The Loss of Identity

    • Responsibility
It didn't make any difference how well they were educated or not, how much money they earned or if they were married or had a partner. It crossed all social boundaries.

I think many mums feel this huge loss of self. They mourn for the person they were and the new person they have become. They are not sure about this new person. They are someones mum and are not their own identity anymore. They feel responsible for everyone and everything.

I still have those interviews and that dissertation. It was profound and probably its the biggest thing that has formed me as a health professional and has formed my career and my passion for helping families and especially mums.

Mums I really 'get you'. That research is as fresh today as it was then. And if I can help make that transition any easier then I'm here and I'm listening. And I have plans for making things even better for all of you. It may take a little time and effort and money but I'm working on it. 

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