The photo above is my mother, Donna Jean Pack, age 25, holding her first baby, my sister, Rachel Emily Stanley. It was taken in 1969; my sister would have been about 3 months old. My mom, and the whole photo, is so styling, right? The hair, the necktie, the confidence, the lamp, the suede sofa. 

I hadn’t seen this photo in years, and when it came across my desk last week, I started thinking about parenthood and identity and how children change us. Did you watch the Grammys a few weeks ago? I read a good article about Adele’s Grammy speech and the unspoken “loss of self” that mothers often experience, and I’d love to discuss it with you.

In the speech, Adele said, “[This pregnancy was … ] the biggest blessing of my life. And in my pregnancy and becoming a mother, I lost a lot of myself. And I struggled. And I still do struggle being a mum, it’s really hard. Tonight feels like full circle … like a bit of me has come back to itself.”

The part that stuck out to me is when she said that she *still* struggles and that’s it’s really hard to be a mother

Do you relate? Do you find parenting to be hard? Is it the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Or just one of many hard things? And what about loss of self? Do you feel like you experienced a loss of identity when you became a parent? If yes, have you managed to find a new identity, or are you maybe still struggling? 

I married so young (barely 21), and had my first child so quickly (barely 23), that I don’t think I experienced a big identity loss when I became a parent. For me, learning to be an adult and learning to be a parent happened basically at the same time. I think my biggest identity losses have come from moves. Moving from New York felt like a huge identity loss. Moving from France felt similar.

How about you?