It’s so easy for everyone to forget moms are still multidimensional people
There’s such a drastic difference in the level of care pregnant women receive compared to new moms. Medically speaking, you go from regular doctor visits that assuage your fears and concerns to “Oh your body has been through trench warfare? Well, come on in for your 6-week checkup but then BYE see ya next year for your annual pap!”
Beyond that, the person you were Before Mom not only ceases to exist for you, but for everyone around you.
Anastasia Aligiannis noticed she was starting to feel invisible to everyone around her after giving birth. So she decided to remove one of her earrings to see how long it took for anyone to look at her and notice. It took seven months. She shared her experience on her Facebook page, and her post has quickly gained a significant amount of attention.
“All those social interactions, and no one ever looked me square in the face and noticed,” she shares on Facebook. “It sort of cemented to me that as a very busy mom of then two children under two who ‘just stayed at home’ or ‘didn’t work.’ I had almost become invisible not just to society, but to my family and friends, and really maybe even to myself.”
While the earring analogy might not be something every mom can relate to, who among us hasn’t felt this way as a new mother? It’s not easy to admit, because there’s a fear of being shamed for admitting you need some TLC, too. Mothers are made to feel it’s our job to be completely selfless, and that we can’t be vocal about our struggle without being afraid people will question our desire to be a mother or worse, the love we have for our children. It’s ridiculous.
“I guess people figured if the people it was my responsibility to care for were OK, then I must be,” she writes. How true is that? I’ve struggled with postpartum anxiety since the day I came home from the hospital. (I’ve recently started seeing a therapist, and it’s been incredibly helpful so far.) While I know those close to me have most likely noticed that I’m no longer my pre-baby, Type B, “hakuna matata” self, very few have ever asked me about it. Heck, in the last year I’ve gone from a full-time working mom to being laid off to being self-employed while launching my own freelance career from my dining room table. I can count on, like, two fingers how many people have asked me about any of it.
We love our children and as moms, it gives us a substantial amount of peace and happiness to witness other people loving them too. Sharing them with family and friends who appreciate their wonderful, unique qualities as much as we do is one of the many wonderful parts of parenthood. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes want to tap on the glass window of my life and say, “Hey, I’m still here too.”
Plenty of mothers can relate to Anastasia’s post, no matter how old their children are. Which is why she signs off with such a great message for all of us: “If today you are feeling overwhelmed, invisible or like you don’t matter, you do. You are so important and are probably the cog that keeps everything running smoothly,” she writes. “Keep up the good work, and if no one else says it to you this week, know that you are invaluable in the work you do and your sacrifices do not go unnoticed.”
Sometimes, it just feels nice to be seen.