When do you become a mother?
The term "matrescence" was coined in the 1970s by American anthropologist Dana Raphael.
Matrescence is characterized by the "birth of a mother", i.e. the moment when a woman feels she has become a mother. It's a delicate moment, which can provoke a number of emotions: sadness, doubt, depression due to hormonal changes, but also because of the psychological change involved in becoming a mother. It's a transitional period when many emotions come together, sometimes leading to doubts about the child's birth and desire. It can be a difficult time. However, we'd like to remind you that it's perfectly normal to have doubts, and that this doesn't mean you don't love your child.
It's just as important to add that, contrary to what you may read or hear, a child's love isn't immediate and can take time to manifest itself. There's no need to feel guilty. Motherhood is a stage in the life of a young mother, and each one experiences it differently.
Yet all too often, the (sometimes more negative) emotions felt by mothers during matrescence are put aside or given little consideration. The clichés and injunctions that exist in our society around the ideal mother are numerous, so this can sometimes give way to post-partum depression. But motherhood doesn't come naturally to everyone. Feeling at peace with yourself as a mother can take time. Sometimes, too, some people will never feel a desire for motherhood or fatherhood, and that's okay. Having children is not a compulsory step in life.
That's what Anne Raynaud, psychiatrist, tells us. Founder and director of the Instituts de la Parentalité in France (Bordeaux & Paris). She offers parenting support programs, consultations for parents of young children and training for professionals, to help them deal with the specific problems of parenthood and building attachment bonds.
When Anne s felt like a mother
"The desire for a child: so many inner questions
Being a parent sounds like quite an adventure...
Being a parent is "quite simply" lthe story of an encounter. An intimate encounter with oneself, through the eyes of my child, this being to whom I give life and who gives me the gift of discovering myself.
This idea, so far away from having a child, has been s'intensifying inside me for some time now. It's hard to describe, so obvious and, at the same time, a little strange. The questions come and go, and then they s'fade away. But what questions could possibly be holding back this impulse I feel deep down inside: do I want a child?
Sometimes, the conditions seem right. My partner is there, very present in my life, I finally feel professionally stable and it's just the right time. It's also the time when we're building our cosy nest, for this new family. It's all happening at the same time, and sometimes it's a bit overwhelming in my head, but what a joy it is to see our couple turn into a family and to see our love grow through this desire for a child.
And then, for others, it's a bit of a surprise, or all the rational criteria don't seem to be present in my existence and yet, it's now that I feel called to this great adventure.
Is it really reasonable to change our lives, to give birth to a little being that we're going to make, that's going to prolong the intensity of our love and transform our lives? It's true, I so often feel inside myself, like a struggle between the irrepressible desire to give birth and, at the same time, all that this will transform. Changing my habits, no longer having the freedom to go out or do sport when I feel like it, all the constraints inherent in the arrival of a little baby on my sleep, for example, the material reorganization of our lives... But whatever, I feel ready.
So it's normal to feel this desire tinged with hesitation. It's just that I feel deep down that this commitment will change my life. So it's essential that I feel all these questions inside me. It's not that I don't want the baby I'm dreaming of. It's just that, through these deep questions, I'm taking on the dimension of this great adventure. Sometimes, it's already inside me, when I feel indecisive and unsure about continuing the pregnancy. I mresent the thought that maybe I don't want this child. But these ideas and doubts are not built up against this baby, already inside me, but bear witness to the feeling of responsibility that is beginning to take hold, now that this path towards parenthood is taking shape. In contrast to guilt, it's the emergence of an essential feeling of involvement with this unborn child. These questions are essential, and it's vital to ask them consciously right from the start. It's the signal that I'm already beginning my preparation for becoming a parent. My baby can't m'resent asking me if I feel ready to welcome him/her. On the contrary, it's a lovely gift.
So I get it, wanting a child is a bit complex and ambivalent: between an irrepressible desire and a fear of not being able to do it. But all the same, what an experience, and we'll learn together..."
If you're feeling lost and need psychological support, don't forget that healthcare professionals are there to help you.
For every stage of your life, from pregnancy to post-partum, Elia accompanies you with a collection of menstrual panties that are gentle on your skin at the most sensitive times.