Anthropologists have a word for the often-radical shift into motherhood: “matrescence.” This chapter of intense change is one — as many new moms can attest — of physical and emotional transformation, and can also be, quite truthfully, very hard.
In a new interview series, made in partnership with Perelel, fashion influencer and new mom Aimee Song — who welcomed son Teo Felix with partner Jacopo Moschin in February — sits down with reproductive psychiatrist and Perelel founding advisor Sarah Oreck to pull back the curtain on the realities of the postpartum experience.
Each video explores the nuances of the fourth trimester that moms, moms-to-be, and women hoping to be on the path to motherhood can relate to. Song and Oreck honestly discuss societal pressures on women and comparison culture, hormonal and body changes, self-identity after motherhood, and how to care for your mental health as a new mom.
Below, Scary Mommy chats with Song about topics in Episode 4 of Matrescence, titled “Support Systems.”
Scary Mommy: What’s the best advice you received from a fellow mom? And what advice would you pass on now?
Aimee Song: There’s no right or wrong. The choice is what works for your family, and for yourself personally. Don’t forget your own identity because the more you are yourself, the better it is for your child. You are the best mom for your child.
SM: What’s your biggest fear about motherhood?
AS: When I was going through postpartum and early matrescence, I remember having these anxious and irrational fears — like, what if I drop my baby? What if the baby becomes sick? The exhaustion and lack of sleep that accompanied this period didn’t help.
It was really helpful to talk to Perelel’s Dr. Sarah Oreck in this series to understand just how common all of these fears are. I wish everyone had a Dr. Oreck, but the reality is reproductive psychiatry is still a very rare specialty, and even basic forms of mental health support are still incredibly unattainable and unaffordable for so many women going through matrescence. That’s why I’m so happy we were able to put this series together, so that we can make the information more accessible but also let women know they are not alone in these emotions.
Check out more Matrescence videos here.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.