Here is a very salient comment left on the post below, that I was going to respond to in comments, but maybe it deserves more space than that :
I think I must be a very unusual mother indeed. Reading the lines 'This is the thing that women don’t tell each other about motherhood. That you will never be who you were' made me think exactly the opposite. Before my first child as born, I had an absolutely clear image of myself as a mother. It was laughter, patience, utter engagememt and closeness to my child, effortlessness, graciousness. Seven years and significant expenditure on anti-psychotics later, I wonder why on earth I ever thought that six hours in the labour ward would transform me into an entirely different person. I'm exactly who I was. Entirely untransformed. Certainly parenthood has forced me to engage differently with the world. I am less judgemental, more forgiving of human fraility, more nuanced in my views. But my essential selfish, impatient, intense and quick-tempered self is exactly as she was. I love my children beyond measure but find family life intensely claustrophobic. I'm happy for the lady who wrote this piece she has found such contentment and meaning in her life but honestly, Christ, this stuff is all pervasive and oppresive if you're not so much made never the same again by motherhood as exactly the same but even more so.
Oh, god, here is my confession: I didn't read that post fully enough - I loved the positive stuff, but the irony is that what drew me to it initially was the idea of the loss of self you experience as a mother! I didn't read it as a reinvention in some sort of maternal saintliness, nor mean to push that experience on anyone else. This sentence was what caught me:
When I did get back to me, I was gone. This is the thing that women don’t tell each other about motherhood. That you will never be who you were. That you will not see anything the way you used to see it, you will never hear language the way you used to hear it, music, color, photos, friends, family, career path–nothing or no one came through my transition from single woman to mother unexamined. Least of all myself.
And I didn't stop to realise that her message was a wholly positive one, and I read this paragraph in a far darker tone than the last line actually posits, thinking 'yes! You are lost and nothing is the same!' before I reached the end of the sentence. And then I just assumed the post was about there being a silver lining, somehow.
I can certainly report that I'm a FAR more awful person now that I have children. I too was consumed with their infant beauty but I couldn't cope with anything else and much of the time I just wish I could be off the hamster wheel and just ... be myself, by myself for an unspecified amount of time. And yes, all my negative characteristics and tendencies have been magnified tenfold, and everyone around me is burning like targeted ants in the beam of my ... untransformedness.
Your point about all pervasiveness is really important, and, well, I'm sorry for not reading this more carefully. I thought it was a far more balanced piece than it is. For me, the reality is that I felt all those feelings, but couldn't follow through. I want it all, but never had the gumption to make it real. As for you, I think you're underplaying the importance of your different engagement with the world, but I know exactly what you mean. I'm really glad you commented.
Ok, let's try another post by someone who made a point about bonding and new babies and motherhood and how it isn't the same picture book story for everyone. This moving post from Betty Octopus.