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Matrescence: A Transition Into Motherhood

Updated: Jun 2, 2020



I would like to think that labour and birth was the easy puzzle in the grand scheme of parenthood. After the birth of Larah, my now two year old daughter, a very spirited child, I didn’t think that it would be tough to take on this new role as a Mother. Boy, was I so wrong. I found myself crying so much in the first few weeks (I still do at times now!), not knowing what to do, feeling like I wasn’t a good enough Mother to her. Thinking that, “hey, I am supposed to know how to be a Mother, how is that I am finding this so hard”. The icing on the cake was when the attention shifted all to my baby. It was as though that pregnant lady whom everyone was so concerned over, didn’t seem to exist anymore. I felt unloved and uncared for. I found it really hard and there were so many times when I wished I didn’t have this baby. No one told me that it wasn’t all rainbows and ponies, it was crying, sleepless nights, poop explosions, a crazy identity shift and a huge change in my relationship.


When I went back to work, it was expected of me to be a Mother, a wife and a working parent. I had to juggle all these hats and I felt suffocated. In the essence of being a Mother, I lost myself and I had no idea what I was experiencing. Then I came across this word, “Matrescence” and it opened the way I looked at Motherhood.


The term “Matrescence” was introduced by Dana Raphael, an anthropologist in the 1970s. It describes beautifully the transition from a Maiden to Mother. Just like pubescent transitions to adolescence, where a teenager gradually enters adulthood. Matrescence describes a woman’s transition into motherhood, a quick shift that comes with psychological and physical changes.