Hi! I'm Lyss.
I love inspiring other moms to live a life they love. Get on the lysst to stay current on our weekly blog posts, new podcast episodes, and other inspiring stories, strategies, and ideas that will help you to live a life of joy, fulfillment, health, and wealth.


follow along


Matrescence: A Time for Embracing the Woman You Were, Are, and Will Be

Photo by Color Me Beautiful Photography

Psychology has never really come up with new concepts — it has just given us the vocabulary and the space to talk about issues that were always there but never spoken of. It wasn’t until very recently in history that motherhood was really considered beyond the act of birthing and then raising children. So what about all the parts that really have nothing to do with the kids? What about motherhood as it relates to the massive and life-altering changes that happen for the human person who becomes “mom?” Who completely loses the old self to make space for the new self, who is suddenly not just expected, but REQUIRED to ditch all selfishness and revolve their entire lives around being “mom?” Psychology gives us: “matrescence.”

“Matrescence” is a new term buzzing around in the mom space online, and as expected, desperate moms everywhere are grabbing hold of it to finally have a voice. I have really started internalizing this term, even though the idea of matrescence has been present for me ever since I became pregnant. So, let’s talk!

Losing the Person You Were

For anyone who sees that positive result on their pregnancy test, that moment is life-changing. There is no skirting around it. Becoming a mom, whether it was long-desired or unexpected, means never being the person you once were — ever again. It is similar to the day that you break up with your first love, the day you graduate college, the day you make your first-ever adult financial transaction… you can never go back and be that person before that milestone. What’s different, though, is that becoming a mother involves changes in literally every aspect of life, from the big social decisions you make all the way down to the actual chemistry and makeup of your body and brain.

Because of this, people who have never been or can’t be mothers can never understand what matrescence is like (although they should be very open to listening and believing mothers as they try to speak up). Only other mothers can empathize with mothers. Psychology does its best to help everyone understand “matrescence” by likening it to “pubescence,” where we all hormonally and socially change as we transition from child to adult.

Matrescence can look and feel different for every mother, but a commonality rings true for all of them: missing your old identity is normal — though painful — for all mothers. Losing the sense of autonomy for your body and mind is incredibly uncomfortable, and what’s even more uncomfortable is realizing that you may never get that autonomy back.

How do we cope? We don’t have to lose ourselves. Matrescence is a time to embrace who we once were, never losing sight of what makes us US. Yes, we might not be able to act the way we used to, and our decision-making might need to change. We might not be able to even go to the bathroom without little hands grabbing at us. But we don’t need to completely lose our identity. That’s so important!

Embracing Who You’re Becoming

As you close the chapter on your single, carefree, independent self, you take on the many complex emotions and thoughts about becoming a mom. Psychologists have found really interesting things about what happens to the female mind as it undergoes matrescence and begins taking on the complicated issues of being responsible for another human being’s development and survival. Everything from contradictory and intrusive thoughts to despair, anxiety, and even psychosis plague mothers. Matrescence is a scary time where you fully lose control of your body and sometimes even your mind — your human DNA takes over, and the chemical changes in your body start chugging away, whether you get on that train or not.

For most, matrescence is really distressing. And this truth is across the board. It is true for all mothers, whether they were ready or not, whether they planned or not, and whether they were happy and excited or terrified and miserable. It is even okay to be all of these things at the same time. That’s just matrescence, and it’s so important that we normalize this process and all the feelings that come with it. It’s time for mothers to no longer sit in silence, wondering if they’re insane for thinking and feeling the way that they do.

The best way to embrace who you’re becoming is to fully embrace what it means to go through the transition. By educating moms about matrescence in all its forms, we can liberate them to FULLY feel what they feel without judgment or shame. Then, they can come to terms with that process and take on motherhood in full health and well-being.

Healthy Kids NEED Healthy Moms

Mom self-care and shame are topics I never stop hammering on. Without the foundations of self-care, mothers can never be entirely present for their families. Without mental health and physical hygiene, moms can barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone run the lives of everyone around them. Matrescene is the fundamental issue that lies under this mommy self-care. We MUST embrace the transition. To do this, we must embrace who we were, who we are now, and who we are becoming. Yes, we can embrace all three, and we should for the well-being of our children. Otherwise, our unattended unhealthy thought processes and repressed emotions can turn into guilt, shame, resentment, and worse.

If you’ve never heard of matrescence before, I really hope this inspires you to research it more academically. I am not a mental health professional of any sort, I am just here to advocate for moms and help guide them toward the resources they need to thrive. Please do what’s best for you and your family, and keep in touch with your healthcare providers throughout your transition to motherhood.

I love you all so much — we’re in this together. Please get yourself on The Lysst so I can keep sharing with you things that are helping me thrive as a mom-preneur. If you love topics like this, please check out the Making Mommy Moves Show, episode 40 – Goal Challenge: The Importance of Mommy Self-Care, and keep an eye out for my mom-preneur guidebook, “Welcome To The Room, Mama,” coming soon!

Talk soon!

XX – Lyss

comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *