Matrescence: The Transition to Motherhood


The road to motherhood has components very similar to those experienced by an adolescent, as it includes hormonal and identity changes. What happens at that moment in a woman’s life? How does she feel? More importantly, how long does a woman need to adapt to the full range of transformations promoted by motherhood?

What is matrescence?

Matrescence is the transition stage from womanhood to motherhood. It is a process of hormonal, physiological, identity, and emotional transformation. It has a profound impact on the way a young mother behaves.

 It totally changes how she sees the world and how she defines herself as an individual. There is an internal change that can lead to conflicts with oneself and with the environment. Women during matrescence must face several challenges.

From couple to family

First and foremost, the changes that occur in family dynamics. With the arrival of the first child, the couple becomes a family. The new mother has to adapt to the new situation and it is not always easy.  

The new roles after the arrival of the baby and the expectations of each one does not always coincide. This can give rise to conflicts. This is why it is recommended for couples to be supportive and understanding during this phase and avoid being judgemental towards each other.

Both parents have to find a way to distribute the tasks and organize the home. It can also be difficult to find moments of intimacy, then again mutual understanding plays a key role.

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Mixed feelings

It is very occurring for a woman in her matrescence to have mixed feelings. These feelings can provoke feelings of guilt, discomfort and can be contradictory. For instance, she can have an inner battle between the desire to care for the baby and the desire to have time and space for herself.

Fake conception of perfect mom and guilt

A woman’s pregnancy and motherhood can greatly be fantasies by her observations about other women’s. and when during her turn things doesn’t turn out the way she had visions; it creates huge disappointments.

This leads her to feel guilty and ashamed.  In most cases she often avoids talking about it, feeling that she is not good enough.

Alexandra Sacks, a psychiatrist who works with pregnant and postpartum women, says she has seen this scenario unfold in countless women: “I noticed a pattern. It goes something like this: a woman calls me; she just had a baby and she is worried. She says: “I am not good at this. I don’t like this. Do I have postpartum depression?”.

Then I see the symptoms of this diagnosis, and it is clear to me that she is not depressed, and I say this to her. But she is not reassured. “It shouldn’t make me feel that way,” she insists. So, I say, “Okay. Did you expect it to be like?”. She says: I thought being a mother would make me feel happy and complete. I thought my instincts would naturally tell me what to do. I thought I would always put my baby first”.

Matrescence is a time of transition, and transitions can be scary and painful. It can be a real roller coaster ride. There are times the woman will probably not be able to understand everything, but the dramatic ups and downs forever either.

However, with the right support and patient there is the peace and confidence that a mother is looking.