Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Missing in Action

This is a book I read a couple of months ago and mentioned in my post Grieving and Coveting.

The tagline was what drew me in...How mothers lose, grieve and retrieve their sense of self.  After struggling with an identity crisis since becoming a mother, I felt I was meant to read this book!

Anne M. Smollen shares how she felt following the birth of her three children and the book includes many, many quotes from other mothers.  I found this aspect of the book really helpful.  It made me feel less alone having others articulate exactly what was going through my mind.  She helped me feel that it's ok to miss aspects of my pre-baby life - my friends, my work, my creative pursuits etc., and that that loss needs to be acknowledged and grieved just like any other loss.

Some of the struggles other women mentioned that I can relate to include:
  • Not really knowing what I want, having a confused mind.
  • The frustration of mental checklists and things taking so long to complete.
  • Not having adult company as much (without children).
  • A readjustment of goals as far as career goes (in my case, my book).
  • Increased anxiety over silly little things.
  • Dropping to one income.
  • Feeling so tired and unable to put as much effort into friendships and marriage.
  • Not liking the person they've become since becoming a mother.
  • Feeling like they had nothing to contribute to conversations.
  • The frustration of not being able to complain because other people think they should be happy because they 'have it all'.
The thing I didn't like about the book was that while it reassures women who are struggling with their identity as a mother, it simply encourages them to find it somewhere else.  There are checklists and questions in the book about dreams, hopes, aspirations etc. and while these are good things to have, my identity is not in those things either.  My identity is found in Christ.  I am a child of God first and foremost.  Having a child has been a huge wake-up call in that it has forced to re-evaluate how I see myself. 

If you're struggling with the demands of motherhood, it's quite a comforting book.  I said, "YES!" a number of times when reading about others' experiences.  It's always nice to know others are going through the same things and that it's not just me.

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