The Parental Shift from "Self" to "Other"
One of the biggest transitions as you claim your new identity as a parent is shifting from “self” to “other.”
In many ways, this is positive and empowering. Your sense of “self” has now been transmitted to another person, whether you gave birth to your child or adopted. You have a new superpower to sustain another life!
Yet with this power comes responsibility. Your sense of freedom can feel like it contracts rather than expands. Hobbies, friends, and activities that used to be important to you are abandoned due to your increased workload. It can feel like your “self” gets lost in the shuffle.
If you’re experiencing this right now and panicking because it feels like your old life is over, here’s something to try on:
Rather than feel like “self” gets traded in for “other,” what if you are simply ADDING “other” to “self”? What if your life has gotten bigger, not smaller?
It can also help to remember many of your current limitations are temporary. Over time, you’ll find that some of the things you set down right now get picked back up, perhaps with a fonder heart after some absence. You’re on the path of brand new experiences and ways of being that will expand your view of who you are for the rest of your life.
In other words: it’s a long ride. When you feel moments of panic, breathe. Your old self hasn’t disappeared; you’re simply the caterpillar with new wings.