Top 7 Ways in Which Understanding Matrescence will Change your Life

by Chelsea Robinson | Family, Motherhood

If you aren’t already familiar with the concept of matrescence, then I am so glad you are here. It’s amazing how ONE word can have such a profound impact on your experience and I promise you this one will do just that: for the better.

What is matrescence?

Matrescence is the profound and complex transition from woman to mother that impacts her in every facet of her life. It leaves no aspect of her life untouched, unturned. It impacts her emotionally, spiritually, physically, economically, socially, hormonally…in all the ways. Her values are changed, her priorities shift. She is UNDONE and RE-DONE; she is LOST and the FOUND; she is DISORIENTED and then REORIENTED.

To what, you might ask?

That is for her to cultivate, create and fall into (with intention and design).

If you aren’t already feeling validated in your experience by knowing there is a word to describe all the changes you have been feeling since becoming a mother…here is more.

7 Ways in Which Understanding Matrescence will Change your Life:

1. You now have a word to describe your experience.

So many women and mothers dont even know how to describe their experience…they simply feel confused, uncertain and surprised by their journey. This can often lead to feelings of embarassment as some mothers don’t want to admit to others, let alone themselves, that their journey has felt a bit more challenging than they expected. But with a word that encompasses ALL the changes, suddenly it makes sharing one’s experience more understood. Dr. Athan, leading world matrescence expert says…

“Words create worlds. When we have a lack of language and don’t know how to articulate our feelings, it makes the process incredibly difficult. We need words to heal.”

This is your word. Take it. Use it. Spread it.

2. You’ll feel more normal in your experience.

Yep, it’s true. Every woman that becomes a mother experiences matrescence, that includes through adoption and bonus children. So just know that even the mamas that make it look so easy, yep, they too, have experienced it. It looks different for each of us. As Dr. Athan said in one of my sessions with her, “Each mother has their own thorns”. Now, hopefully, when you see another mother in which you are comparing yourself too and you feel “less than”, just remember that she too has her own thorns and you BOTH are experiencing matrescence. It just looks different for each of us.

3. If you become a mother again, another time around, you’ll have so much more understanding of what to expect in your own experience!

Each time you become a mother, your experience of matrescence will be different from the last. Going from a mother of one to two will bring up SO much grief and excitement for example. Yet, there are many factors that influence a mothers matrescence (ie. income, career, relationship, previous trauma, mental health, physical health, values, cutlture etc.) and those are all bound to be different over time between children. PLUS you will know that your experience is going to be deeply profound and you’ll expect it to rock your world a bit more the second, third and fourth time…and just knowing that, being able to anticipate the great change coming, can lessen the impact.

4. You’ll find more compassion towards yourself.

Yes, becoming a mother is MEANT to undo you while simultaneously making you. It really is this HARD (especially magnified in our current patriarchal culture (lots to unpack there)) and can feel very disorienting. Remembering #2 can help you find compassion for yourself as you now understand that every single woman that becomes a mother experiences matrescence. So the next time you are feeling alone or defeated…remember “it’s common” and “you aren’t alone in your experience” (even when it feels so lonely!). AND also…

5. You aren’t meant to mother alone nor are you meant to become a mother alone.

Mothering is a communal experience, meant to be shared by other WOMEN and MOTHERS. It feels so lonely and daunting in today’s culture because it is: FACT. A mother NEEDS to be seen by other mothers to fully embrace herself in this new role and identity over and over again and it is with this village that she can then feel into her confidence and wholeness.

6. Mothering is meant to be motherly.

You are allowed to feel big emotions, desire tenderness, seek quiet, enjoy rest. If you’ve been feeling called to slow down, turn inwards, retreat from the busy-ness of the world around you…that is RIGHT. Becoming a mother begs of us to practice reflection, stillness and connection, not just with our village and children, but also with ourselves.

7. You can share this concept with your partner

Which encourages a deeper understanding of your own journey and drops hints to them too, that maybe they are also experiencing their own transformation (be it patrescence or matrescence themselves). Yep, it’s true. Men that become fathers experience patresence. While their transformation might not be as sudden or abrupt, it happens to them as well over time. They’ll go through their own transformation and grow in who they are as men through their experience of becoming a father. So if your partner thinks “you’ve changed” since you became a mama, now you can say with confidence that you have because you are meant to…and they are too, whether they can feel it, see it or want to believe it!

If these 7 ways weren’t compelling enough to beg of you to dive even more deeply into exploring your own journey and how to support yourself throughout it, then I invite you to come dig a bit more with me in either a 1:1 matrescence session, motherhood therapy or a Becoming Mama group.

Chelsea Robinson
Founder at Mama's Modern Village

Chelsea Robinson, LCSW, is a motherhood psychotherapist, matrescence educator, village builder and founder of Mama’s Modern Village. With over 10 years of experience in the field of mental health, she supports women on their motherhood journey at the intersection of modern motherhood culture and a woman’s matrescence, her transition from woman to mother. Chelsea is not a parenting expert, rather an expert on the mama, whose work centers on bringing the mother back into focus.

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