Matrescence: The Unspoken Chapter of Motherhood

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I want to shine a light on something that doesn’t get nearly enough airtime: matrescence. It’s the term used to describe the emotional rollercoaster of becoming a mom.

What is Matrescence?

Matrescence is our transition into motherhood, like adolescence but with its own unique twists. It’s a time when hormones run wild, and our hair and skin seem to have a mind of their own. Unlike adolescence though, where everyone nods knowingly about that awkward, life-altering teenage phase, hardly anyone talks about matrescence. What’s worse, society expects us to “bounce back”, as if childbirth is just a blip on the radar of our lives, rather than the seismic shift it truly is. After announcing a pregnancy, the spotlight shifts to the baby, leaving Moms to navigate our transformation in the shadows. No wonder motherhood leaves us feeling overwhelmed, overlooked, and underappreciated.

An Ambitious Mom’s Matrescence Journey

Like many of us, I found myself swept up in the idea of “bouncing back” after maternity leave. I convinced myself that success meant squeezing back into my pre-baby clothes and seamlessly slipping back into work, as if nothing had changed. Wow, was I in for a rude awakening! I didn’t realize that this time around, I’d also become the default parent with a crushing mental load, a forever changed body, newfound anxieties and a revolving door of viruses to deal with mid-work day.  

Fast forward to 2022, with two little ones under three, I had gone from survival mode to full on struggleville. I needed a change – a big one. So, with the support of my husband, I did something I had been conditioned never to do: I quit my job, with no backup plan in sight.

Photo by BĀBI on Unsplash

Liberation then Back to Strugglesville

At first, it felt liberating to take away the stress that comes with full time paid work. Then I found myself back in struggleville. In a society that measures worth in titles and paychecks, I couldn’t help but feel like I was falling short, again. I was giving my all to my new role as stay-at-home Mom and burning myself out doing everything for everyone else. For an ambitious woman motivated by recognition and promotion, doubling down on unpaid work that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated felt far from fulfilling. On top of that, I felt guilty for not feeling happier and more grateful about having the choice to stay at home.

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination Google-Search to the Rescue

Feeling lost and confused, I stumbled upon an article about matrescense in the midst of one of my late-night Google sessions (hello, revenge bedtime procrastination). Suddenly, it all made sense – the struggles, the doubts, the constant comparison to the “old me”. Motherhood has changed me. My priorities have shifted, my body has changed and my career aspirations are different.

So, I made a choice – no more “bouncing back”. Instead, I’m on a mission to bounce forward, learn more about this transformation phase and embrace the new me. It’s ok for me to explore, learn, and grow during this transition. By the way, Matrescense doesn’t end at a certain age. It can start before the baby is born and last for years and years. That’s ok and it’s important to talk about it more with friends, family, and medical providers. 

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Join the Conversation

I’m sharing my story today in the hopes that it sparks something within you. The more we talk about matrescence, the less alone we feel in this awkward transition phase. We will also have more research, support and resources developed to help future mothers through this transformation.  

If you’re looking for some extra inspiration and solidarity, I highly recommend checking out Instagram influencers like @kendramariewilliams and online resources like Mother Untitled. We can pave the way for a future in which we not only acknowledge but celebrate matrescence, ensuring that every mom has the support she needs to thrive.

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