• Kacee Tannenbaum, LCSW

What happened to the person I used to be?



When people think about having babies, they usually think in terms of what will be gained: a new baby who will carry on the family name and traditions, a source of pride and joy, and one's hopes and dreams. 


But as with gains, there are some very real losses. Our culture doesn't really acknowledge these losses, but most mothers experience them to some extent. We all have a picture of the idealized version of maternal love.  How can we provide this love to our new baby or child when we don’t feel like ourselves?


Oftentimes, it is easy to operate on autopilot and just run through the motions of the day (feed the baby, bathe the baby, pack lunches for school, get the kids dressed, make dinner, be a taxi, etc). Life becomes a rut and you are unhappy.  With all the activities and responsibilities, we juggle as moms, how often do we truly examine our life?


The answer to this is to rediscover parts of your self-identity that seem out of reach. I help moms through the self-discovery process so they can create a loving, fulfilled life. My hope is to get this started with you today.


Taking time for yourself as a mom, especially for the purposes of self-awareness, is a choice that takes courage.  I know it is hard sometimes to reach deep within ourselves to find that COURAGE. I would like for you to say to yourself, “I have the courage!”


As we explore your self-identity, First, I would like for us to have an open discussion on some of the losses you have experienced after having a baby.  Here are some losses that you have may haveexperienced:


  • spontaneity,

  • self-confidence,

  • independence,

  • control,

  • predictability,

  • security,

  • money,

  • sleep,

  • physical shape,

  • self-identity,

  • couple time,

  • career,

  • time for herself,

  • intimacy,

  • the dream of being a perfect mother,

  • and adult company. 


This process of understanding what you have given up will validate the feelings you have associated with each of these losses. Your feelings are not unusual. Many women experience these losses. Admitting these losses does not in a way make you less of a mother. Instead, it represents a shift in the equilibrium of your life events.  When we experience something new, different, and challenging, we have to make room for it in our life. Often, this accommodation is made by giving something up. Once you are able to acknowledge your losses, the next step is to grieve your losses.


Take a minute and think about the “old you.”


  • What was she like?

  • Can you describe her on a typical day?

  • What did she look like?

  • What did she do?

  • What do you miss about her? 

  • As you think about this former image of yourself, try to be aware of how it makes you feel.

  • Does it make you feel sad when you think of how you used to be?

  • Does it make you angry or scared?

  • Confronting these feelings is an important step in the grief process, as you mourn for parts of your previous self.

  • What do you do with these feelings?


Most likely, you have tried to tuck them away, because you couldn’t bear to admit you felt them.  Let’s take a moment and write them down now. Let’s get them out on paper. Let’s welcome them. Let’s move beyond these losses and feelings and welcome some of the new and positive feelings in store for you. It takes so much more energy to stuff negative feelings inside than to confront them.


Now that you have made room for some good, positive feelings. It’s time to have a date with your intuition. Let’s pretend you are on a first date and you are interviewing your potential partner, actually you are interviewing the depths of you, your soul. It’s time to take a deep dive into who you truly are.


What are some questions you would ask yourself? Here are a few basic questions to get your wheels spinning.



As you went through the list, did you feel you knew the answer to these questions with certainty and confidence? Could you articulate the answer quickly and with the truth? Most of you probably answered “NO!”  Now, you have the opportunity to check-in and find answers within you. You will be empowered to evaluate the “opportunities” you say YES to and the ones you say NO to.  You will be able to make more conscious and intentional choices in your life.