Motherhood Changes You, But You Are Still You

By Charlotte Pence Bond

In the summer of 2022, I signed up to complete an Olympic Triathlon. A few months into my training, I found out that I was pregnant. I was overjoyed at the news, but it presented a question as to whether I would still be able to do the race. I decided that I wanted to try, but my goal needed to change a little bit. Instead of completing the full-length triathlon, I signed up for a mini-length one so I wouldn’t need to increase my training ahead of race day. I still had a time goal in my mind, and as I crossed the finish line right under my target of one hour, I hugged my husband and was overcome with emotion. I knew motherhood would change me, but I didn’t realize it would also empower me further in my passions.

Overcoming Doubts and Fears

There was a time when I thought I might not be able to finish the race or do it at all, and here I was, at the end of it, with my daughter growing inside of me. She and I had done it together, and it was the first thing I accomplished as a mother that showed me that becoming a mom didn’t mean I had to stop doing the things that I loved. My life would look different for a time, and I might need to reassess my goals, but I could still do the things I did when I was not a mom – and I was still the same person with the same ambitions.

Cultural Perceptions of Motherhood

In our culture, sometimes it can feel as if there is little value placed on becoming a mother. This leads young women to struggle with the decision to have children. They seem to be concerned that once they become a mother, they will lose the person they are now. They believe that their lives will be over, pregnancy will be terrible, and they will no longer be the same person. I think this message mostly comes from the culture rather than from the shared experiences of mothers. Once I became a mother myself, I realized that not only did motherhood not take anything from me, but it added so much.

My Fear of Losing Myself in Motherhood

I empathize with these women because I have similar feelings. Before my husband and I decided to have children, I, too, was afraid of the impact motherhood would have on my daily life. I often lamented to him how worried I was that I wouldn’t be able to do outdoor activities I loved doing once I was pregnant. He was very supportive, talked through the scenarios, and encouraged me. During my pregnancy, my worries were alleviated. I backpacked, hiked, camped, surfed, and even started writing a book with my dad, the bulk of which we wrote after my daughter was born.

A Changed Perspective

The reality is that I didn’t need to worry. Since having my daughter, my perspective entirely changed. I settled into the role and identity of “mama” with pride and vigor. Not only was I the same person I was before, but I had new hobbies and interests. I became more interested in cooking and growing food in our garden – activities that were a burden when I worked full-time. My priorities were also different. The things I had been concerned about before my husband and I welcomed our daughter seemed so small and insignificant compared to my daily role of caring for and spending time with this little human.

Embracing Motherhood and Change

When I became a mother, I did change. I am not the same person that I was before. It is normal for women to feel nervous about this prospect. Since becoming a mom, however, I have added so many new things to my life. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do the activities I loved, but that turned out not to be true. I can still do them, even though they look slightly different. And the truth is, even if I had had to let go of more experiences and activities, it all would have been worth it. I got to live my life alongside the wonderful gift of my children.

Read more from Charlotte Pence Bond:

The Importance of Medical Care for a First-Time Mom

Better Access to Healthcare for Black Women

How To Discuss Abortion and Other Hot Topics Over the Holidays



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