Few moments in life so clearly delineate former self from current self like the moment you become a parent. Whether you longed for parenthood, or it happened by surprise, at some point you may find yourself questioning who you are- something you thought you’d long ago figured out.
You may realize that what once worked to help you feel solid and assured- maybe work you were in love with or steady routines with a core group of friends- falls away. Discovering that your identity is not static, and even beyond your absolute control, can be destabilizing.
To thrive in this new terrain, invite the questions and set aside the self-doubt. Throughout adulthood we actively shape our identities for social recognition. Often, we’ve invested heavily in realizing certain dreams, only to find out that what once was so certain no longer suits how we want to live, or work, at present.
Whether this feeling gives way to a real sense of loss or relief, it is an opening to a new way of being. Parenthood is by nature a recalibration.
With the addition of a child, the orientation of your life and what really matters to you will dynamically continue to contract and expand to include new possibilities.
Some days your world may feel smaller than it once was, but with deeper meaning and importance. Other days that smallness may feel restrictive and you’ll find yourself longing for your own expression in the world.
Know that this transition is a process of learning, flux, integration and gradual transformation, and the opportunity is for you to allow questions such as “Is it ok for me to let go of what I’ve worked so long for?” or “What happens if I choose a new path now?” to arise.
Although it can be scary, unsettling or thrilling to invite these questions, let them settle and mingle with your shifting reality. Inquiry and self-reflection allow the future to call to you and for its concrete shape to emerge.
Just as seasons change, your own timing for releasing and claiming aspects of yourself will be gradual and not linear. In the intimate and confining days of your child’s early life, you are actively shaping who you want to be in this new reality just by being with the stirrings of what’s possible now. The only certainty is that there will be both a falling away of pieces and a refinding of what is yours until one day you discover that you are once again on known ground, in a form that feels ok, that makes sense, perhaps even more than ever.