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What is Matrescence?

Updated: Mar 27, 2023


The Process of Becoming a Mother.

First coined in the 70’s by anthropologist Dana Raphael and later revived by clinical psychologist Aurélie Athan, Ph.D, the term refers to the transition to motherhood that transforms a mother to her core. It's like adolescence, but for mothers. The changes we go through during this period (that varies in length for each of us) aren't so different than those experienced at adolescence and have a profound effect on our Being; on a physical, emotional, social, political and spiritual level.

Think about when you were 11, and then when you were 19. What changed? How were you different? Now, think about a woman before and after she became a mother. What changed? It might not be as apparent when you look at her, but everything.

Imagine if, before welcoming a child into your life, the women around you would've told you what's ahead. I'm not talking about discussing sleepless nights, cuddles, and poop explosions (although all these will definitely happen 💩). I'm talking about something deeper. What if they told you that you would never be the same, ever again? What if they explained to you that it would be a time of challenge and beauty, a time of shaky confidence and unbelievable love? What if they had told you that you would live your own little revolution?

How would your experience have been different had you thought about these questions beforehand? Would you have felt more prepared? Less disoriented? More grounded? More confident and "normal"?

I believe the lack of support in social institutions and that of honest conversations about matrescence results in mothers feeling isolated and lonely. The old adage says that it takes a village to raise a child. True. But the same village used to also care for the new mother. The sisterhood, the elders' wisdom, the community bonds...where are they today?

Luckily, more and more people are talking about matrescence. About the normalcy and inevitability of the transformation. At the end of the day, it's about having a better idea of what's in front of you, to help you keep your footing during this magnificent time. So you don't think there's something wrong with you, or that you are doing motherhood wrong.

If you resonated with this post, please share it with other moms around you. By spreading the word on matrescence, we can change the limiting perception of becoming a mother in our society and empower moms with the gift of deeper self-understanding.

- Alex

P.S. Through coaching, I offer you the support you need on your matrescence journey. The container we build together is a safe and non-judgmental space for you to explore who you are, how you are transforming, and who you are becoming.

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