Usernames and the momidentity crisis

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Original photo by Kerry Vaughan, used by Creative Commons License
I’ve been on the interweb a LONG ass time (my first internet date was in 1992 — we went to a Pearl Jam concert), and one of the social aspects of the web that’s always fascinated me is usernames and online identity. My first handle was “rosewater,” named after my favorite perfume, but over the almost 20 years since, I’ve got by a lot of different names online. Q. Ver and Electrolicious, were a few of the handles I used before I settled on my first and middle names as my standard username.

Running an online network, I get an interesting insight into the names that people (women, specifically) use for themselves online. Since both Offbeat Bride and Offbeat Families are essentially about women in relationships going through a transition (marriage, starting a family) I feel like I catch people in a really interesting state of identity shift. One of the many ways these shifts are expressed are through usernames and avatars.

Certainly, I’m not the first to mull over this — Katie Roiphe stirred up huge controversy in 2009 when she wrote “Get Your Kid Off Your Facebook Page,” which asked, “Why do women hide behind their children?”

I think the Offbeat Empire probably sees less users with handles like JessesGirl87 or EmmasMomNYC, but we still see a fair number of community members who identify themselves online as defined by their relationship. I mean, that IS why most of us are here, right? We’re in a relationship planning a thing, and looking for inspiration and ideas. Of course these relationships affect us. Flavor our days. Shift our perceptions. Rejigger our priorities. Impact our personalities. And yes, change our identities. That’s why I’m IN a relationship: I LOVE how my partner influences me. He’s awesome! Of COURSE he’s a huge piece of who I am.

That said, my online identity didn’t feel much of a shift when we decided to get married. I got active on IndieBride, but I used my same old handle. Granted, I’d been with Andreas for six years when we decided to get married, so while I was overjoyed to be engaged to Dre, the handle DresGirlSeattle had lost its new car smell when Clinton was still in office.

…Then again, when I had a baby in 2009, my facebook user photo went from a series of glamour-shot self-portraits straight to pictures of my son. I’d worked five years to have that dang baby, and if becoming a mother is an identity shift with powerful emotions attached, it was profoundly so for me. This is all to say, I’m certainly not one to criticize anyone for making profound, and highly visible online identity shifts.

My only concern comes in when people feel criticized for NOT having a demonstrative shift. I wrote about this on Offbeat Bride four (!!!) years ago with a post called When brides don’t squeal enough. I’m all for ladies being MrsHisName2011 if that feels right for them … but I’m also all for them staying firmly in their existing identity. I think the bridentity crisis moment can come when you feel like you SHOULD be SquealingBride1984 and something’s wrong with you if you’re still just @filthypuppeteer or [email protected] or dorkbot3k.

Your identity doesn’t NEED to shift when you go through a big transition like marriage or starting a family. Your life will shift, but I believe that each of us holds true ultimately ownership of our identities — regardless of our relationships, and no matter how much they might shape us and inspire us.

This post is being cross-posted on both Offbeat Bride & Offbeat Families. If you’re interested in how the other side comments, head over there.

Comments on Usernames and the momidentity crisis

  1. LOVE THIS! Thank you! It’s funny how people are already building me up for an identity change, before both my marriage and my first child being born. Yet, the reality is, I don’t feel any different. I’m still Jessica Gibson, I’m just Jessica Gibson with some really really awesome accessories. 😉

    While my identity and life have changed over the years as I grew up and matured and all that jazz, the reality is that I cannot define myself solely based on my connection to someone else. That’s just me, and I’m ok with that 🙂

    • I can not agree more. I got lots of “everything will change” comments before my wedding even though my guy and I lived together forever. I really didn’t see how a piece of paper was going to change “everything.” It didn’t. We’re planning a pregnancy now and yeah things are going to change, but I’ll still be me.

  2. Great post!

    Children as Facebook profile photos (and scenery and cartoons and anything that is not a photo of the person) bug me for a very practical reason – the “do I know you” factor. if I get a friend request from someone outside of my immediate circle, I don’t know their children but if I see their face with their name, I might know them – otherwise, no chance.

    I’m stuck with an old yahoo account with my favorite number and an underscore in it (silly! but I’ve had it 14 years so I guess I’m sticking with it). I was very careful choosing my gmail account name though. Elsewhere on the internet, I just go by my initials or first name.

    • This is so funny because that is exactly why I have a picture of my daughter as my profile pic on facebook. If you don’t know what my kid looks like chances are I don’t want you as a facebook friend but I’m also one of the losers who only has like 40 facebook friends – lol.

      • Same here! I have the *least* amount of friends of my fb friends 140+ which are all ppl from my main 2 high schools I went to, and family because we all over the us and world. It’s easier to use fb.

  3. I NEEDED this today. I’ve been having a rough time with the shifting identity. I don’t want to lose, and then mourn, who I was pre-baby. I mean, obviously, I’m ok with being a “Mrs” someone as my domain…I do not take shifting identities lightly, to say the least. Anyway. I needed to hear “It’s ok to change” and “it’s ok not to, too.”

    Thank you.

    • Well, now that I am married and have 2 young children, my fantasies include such exotic things as taking a shower without any visitors, and eating a meal by myself, and shaving both legs-at the same time! It’s not really that you change, it’s more like your priorities shift. Oh, the big fantasy? ALONE TIME!

  4. Amen! Thank you for writing this. I was shocked at the number of people who were not okay (and were expressive about their distaste) when I kept my name after recently getting married. And while I have no problem being occasionally referred to as Dillon HisLastName, I found it really unnerving that I was unable to cash any of our gracious wedding checks (many of which had no mention of me). And I didn’t want to change all my emails and usernames – or have different names on my BA and MSW degrees – or have to learn a new signature.

    And Jessica – thank you for the quote, “I’m just Jessica Gibson with some really really awesome accessories.” I love it. I’m using it – inserting my name of course. It completely touches on one of my concerns about havin’ babies. (Namely losing my identity to mom-ness.) I’m still fairly new to the offbeatmama site and it’s so very empowering and refreshing to hear from women like you all.

    • Good for you for keeping your last name. I hyphenated my last name when I married. It’s been almost 7 years and his family still puts
      “Laurie Hislastname” and NOT the hyphenation. It annoys the crap out of me! They can’t seem to grasp the whole concept.

      • Laurie, do you have any trouble, say, cashing checks made out to you with just his last name? I still haven’t decided finally what I want to do with my name, and we’ve been married 17 months now. I have a 2-syllable last name and my husband’s last name is a 2-word, 3-syllable name. I also actively use my middle name. I’d like to hyphenate legally, but I don’t want to necessarily inflict the longest name in the world on our families (both of whom can’t grasp my last name being anything other than his).

        • I didn’t hyphenate, but I use both last names legally. I don’t have any trouble when folks write just his. I don’t know if it would be more problematic with the hyphen, though. The problem for me is that I use my name for writing, publishing, etc, but it usually gets shortened to just his name at work. I wish I had just kept my name and left it at that. It would have been less complicated in a lot of ways and I wouldn’t have had to get a new drivers license.

          • That’s actually closer to what I was thinking of doing. There is already a space in his last name–what’s one more? My dl still shows my parents address 450 miles away, so I should probably change that anyway. Not having his last name at all has complicated things in a dozen little ways over the last year, which is part of what has me thinking of adding his too.

        • I had some trouble in the beginning (cashing checks) but after talking to the people at my bank – they’ll cash them for me.

          It’s a really personal choice. We’ve only been married for 3 months (but together for 7 years) – granted we haven’t purchased a house yet, but I don’t think I’ll regret it. My parents are divorced – I have my dad’s name and my mom took her maiden name back – it’s not weird having a different last name than your mom – but I get the desire to have that cohesive family. I’m kind of sad we can’t really have return address labels or a little family stone “HisLastName est. 2010” (hyphenation isn’t an option with our two hella long names).

          • With the house purchase — my partner and I aren’t married, but we do own our home. Having different names hasn’t been any kind of issue (and neither has being unmarried) in that instance. The only annoyances *so far* have been social. (We did have to sign all those power of attorney forms, but that’s not something a married couple needs to worry about.) We’ll see what happens when this baby pops out, though.

    • Awww I’m so happy that rung with you, because its definitely something I struggled with for the last 7 months. I didn’t want to lose who I was, I know my identity as a mom will be different… but not so different that I lose myself behind my kids.

  5. When people put pics of their kid as their profile pic it annoys me and even more so when they tag themselves in photos of their kids. The kids are their own person now, regardless of the genetic material you donated.

    My identity has always been important to me. So much so that when I found out I was pregnant with my first child at 32(after years of swearing that I *never* wanted children)I went through a very serious identity crisis. Like involving therapy and everything. I’ve seen a fair share of women around me change so completely after they had their kids and I didn’t want that to happen to me. I like who I am!

    Thankfully I eventually came to realize that I don’t have to change the core of who I am. Some things will change, but not in a bad way. I will continue to be ME, just with a little one. My daughter was born three weeks ago and I’m amazed at how not different I feel. I AM still me! Woo hoo! My daughter is important to me but there are other aspects of my life that are also important and continuing to focus on those areas as well will benefit all of us in the end.

    • I occasionally tag parents in photos of their kids, because the kids don’t have facebook accounts and I want the parents to know the photos exist. Which is to say I think people have lots of different reasons for doing things–maybe some people think “here’s what I’m looking at” makes more sense as a userpic than “here’s what my face is.”

  6. This is an interesting topic for me. Pre-baby, my identity was all about being queer and high femme. I belonged to a group called the Femme Mafia, I went to femme conferences, I was photographed for a book about femmes. A huge chunk of my time was taken up with the femme rituals of getting my hair and nails did, shopping for femme costumery, and, of course, going out in my false lashes and big hair. Think brunette rock n’ roll Dolly Parton with smaller boobs. I LOVED it because it was fun getting gussied up, screwing with queer gender stereotypes, (in the queer community, we femmes have been much maligned in the past decade for not being dykey enough), and freaking out straight people (mainly men) who never before realized a woman in spike heels and a corset could be a gold star lesbian.

    Then I had a baby. And without any crisis at all, my identity shifted. Sure, I didn’t have time to shower every day, let alone affix lashes and tease my hair, but I also didn’t care. Mothering became my new, unrelenting, and wholly fulfilling desire.

    Am I still queer and femme? Yes. But I’m a mother first. My FB page, by the way, sports a very cute picture of me and my little guy, both fancied up for a friend’s wedding. But if I were to post a photo of what I really look like on an average day, I’d be in yoga pants with oily hair and toddler-created yogurt stains on my shirt. So, I wonder, which picture would more accurately reflect my true identity? Aren’t all online personas just carefully constructed representations of the people behind them? It’s been a while since I’ve read Judith Butler but her ideas about identity as illusion created and reified by performance still resonate.

    • I have no problem with mom & baby photos for profiles because the mom is there to identify. It’s kid only photos that are frustrating for identification purposes.

      • Oh I understand that it can be hard to identify people who don’t use their photos on FB but then I usually just refuse their friend request if I can’t figure it out. The most annoying FB behavior to me are the obsessive updaters who write statuses like “Going to Chick-fil-A with my mom!” and “Laundry done. Now time for my afternoon walk.”

  7. while i am terribly excited to become a mom (um, any day now, literally), and i’m perfectly happy to not have to work for the first six months or so of her life, i can’t fathom simply identifying as someone’s mom or partner… there is SO MUCH MORE to me than just that! I agree with what Laurie said completely.

  8. Funnily enough, what I have the problem with is other people deciding they have a problem with whatever I do or do not choose to post on my FB page. Sometimes my profile pic is me, sometimes me and the baby, sometimes just the baby, and sometimes something completely random, like when I took a pic of a cool Mai tai glass in Maui. If someone wants to judge me because of whatever picture I choose to represent myself, my life, and my interests at the moment, that is THEIR issue, not mine. I think one of the things I most enjoy about FB and similar sites, is the ability to change the small details at will so you can represent all the different aspects of yourself.

  9. I was thinking more about this and got to wondering: can someone define “identity” for me? Is it what we’re interested in, who we love, what we do, our values or beliefs? All of those things? I’ve seen a lot of articles lamenting women who “lose” their identities to motherhood but can an identity ever be lost? My identity has changed, sometimes slower and faster, but constantly over my lifespan. What I said above about mother being the main component of my identity now is true but I also know that as I get older and my kids get older, my identity components are likely to shift again.

    Also, re: name changes. My partner and I both abandoned our old last names and took a new one together. We love sharing a last name and neither of us feels resentful or like we gave something up.

    • A change in identity is so totally not a loss of identity. I’m not sure how a person who defines herself by her relationship to people (partner, children) is somehow inferior in identity to someone who defines herself by her relationship to things, activities, or a job. It smacks of misogyny to me.

      Personally, I’ve never been comfortable with defining myself by my interests or relationships or situations. I used to say “my identity transcends mere taste in music and style” when I was young and obnoxious, but I still agree with the sentiment. My identity has always been a kind of amorphous feeling more than anything–a kernel of sense of feeling female and opinionated and cheerful and snarky, accessorized (so perfect! thank you Jessica!) with my interests and relationships and situation.

      We don’t have a child yet, but we’re hoping to close the year with a baby somewhere in the baking process. The only personality or identity change I can’t abide in others and refuse to succumb to myself is whatever causes the inability to listen to or discuss anything that isn’t baby-related. My sisters-in-law and best friend all feel free to unburden themselves to me about struggles with their little ones, and to share the cuteness and triumphs, of course. But they also still know how to girl talk about everything else under the sun. I want to be like them.

  10. Other than a first year or two of using my initials, my username has been the same since @1998. (My name + my Hebrew name, which I picked as an adult, when I converted.)

    I’m trying to (re)register my domain though, and found out my — exceedingly unique — name has been registered! Ugh!

    I did a FB poll and it’s about 50/50 with people saying “” and those who liked my totally different “Lexielandia” (a catch phrase I’ve also used for years).

    Anyway, I thought this post was timely, as I ponder this identity change! Although not for the same reasons! LOL

    (PS: I kept my last name and still have people address me as “Mrs….” 11 years later! ARGH!)

  11. Honestly, I don’t know why people think that posting pics of just your kid as your profile picture on FB or anywhere else means you’ve lost “yourself”. Even people using names like “jacobs mommy”, which I think is exceedingly cheesy, means a great deal to Jacob’s mommy! I think that alot of people have different online personas depending on what sites they are visiting. I myself use this one the most but I have one for commenting on newspaper articles which is different from one I use for community activities like Freecycle. So, I think that while using a handle like “jacobs mommy” may not say much besides that you are a mom, and you have a kid named Jacob, what does any other online name REALLY mean? Not much more, I am sure! And maybe that handle is relevent to the particular issues a certain site is dealing with. And maybe the use of only a child’s picture is a special picture that Jacob’s mommy took of him doing something that she shared in with him and it is deeply personal, something that maybe not all of us would also be able to share in? I don’t know… it’s hard for me to sum this all up cause I quite frequently use only pictures of my kid (who is not Jacob BTW) but she is pretty much all that I pay attention to in a day so what else would I want to tell people about, you know? Maybe I’ll start posting pics of my full laundry hamper, or the dirty bathtub, cause those define ME as well (in that I am lazy and don’t like to clean them.. ha ha ha). Maybe it is easy for me to look at this as a non-issue because I have always felt fairly strong in my identity even as it shifts around. I didn’t change my name when I got married, I still do the things I did before, I still FEEL like I did before, but now I have a little friend to share everything with all the time. I think that’s pretty cool, and it is a big part of my life, so I am probably going to show you that stuff online cause it IS who I am!

  12. i’m a physician, MD’ed, published and licensed in my before-marriage name. i kept that name when we got married. likewise, my husband, a well-published PhD kept his name. we both felt strongly about this.

    but then last year we started talking baby. and our plans are to start trying (timing is a huge deal, given my field) in the next 3-4 months. and we got to talking about names.

    we decided that we would invent a family name. we took 3 letters from his last name and 3 letters from my last name and made a name that we both liked. we’re going to legally take that name as an additional middle name (so, legally and professionally we can keep our given names) and give that name as a surname to any children we may have.

    not the ideal solution for everyone, but for us, it satisfied our desires to hold onto our identities (something that was important for us, but may not be for everyone,) AND our desire to have a way of demonstrating the “shift” in identity in the form of a united family. 🙂

    • we had the same problem. Your solution sounds fantastic! what we did is that our daughter has her fathers last name, and her middle name is my last name. Again not ideal but I like it

    • We also had a similar name arrangement when my wife and I got married, but for different reason.
      My wife and I, as a lesbian couple, didn’t want to “favour” one side of the family over the other. For us, a hyphenated name wasn’t an option. We tried to make something reasonable with both our last names, but it wasn’t working, so we opted to use our mother’s maiden names to create our new name.
      As first, some of the family was a little put off that we didn’t want to continued our family names, but now that we’ve fully legally changed our names (and have a daughter with the same name), everyone seems happy.

  13. This has been a pet peeve of mine for awhile! I would lament to my husband about friends who would have a baby and suddenly never post a new photo of themselves on Facebook. Personally, I still have an avatar of myself from almost a year ago simply because while having a child is awesome, it does mess with your self-image. Overnight I went from pretty pregnant girl to just a fat chick, in my mind anyway. Still, I knew going into pregnancy that I was never going to be ‘that’ type of mom who rocked a hoodie every day and only shopped for new kids clothes.

  14. To be honest I’ve never given this a lot of thought. Its never occurred to me to use Nathan’sgirl or Mrswhatever, just like I dont think it would ever occur to me to use Delilah’sMommy. I’ve got no beef with people who do, just doesnt feel like me.

    I’ve had the same handle for the past 10 years and use it on every site for every purpose. That’s just me. Getting married and starting a family doesn’t change who I am.

    Yes I am my child’s mother and my husband’s wife, and my relationships with them will affect my identity (as all experiences in life do), but it in no way defines me or how I view myself.

    As for fb, the worst is when the profile pic is their sweet baby but then their status update is something really child inappropriate like how they were so plastered they spewed in the bushes last night!!

  15. Identity changes over time. It’s not just me anymore and my daughter is a HUGE part of who I am. And I do have my own life, but one has to argue that when a woman is on maternity leave their baby IS their life. My body still isn’t my own because I’m still breastfeeding (which I love – don’t get me wrong) and I don’t get a whole lot of “Me” time. Once I go back to work I’m sure this will change. But I certainly haven’t lost my identity to my child. I happen to be quite proud of this little person my husband and I made together. She’s awesome! Just like everyone’s own kids are awesome! Be proud!

    Did anyone see this paper by the same author: (check out the date on it – I wonder if she changed her mind at all about hiding behind children? Interesting! 🙂 )

  16. I read a book called “Sex, Lies, and Handwriting”, which talked a bit about signatures. Working in a medical office where the patients have to sign in, it has been interesting to see their signatures on the various forms, etc. The theory is that you may sign one part of your name larger than the other part, indicating your preferences.

    For example, my aunt signs her first name legibly, but her last name is very squished and hardly readable. This is most likely due to a bad divorce that she had and she is still using her ex’s last name.

    Over the years, I’ve gradually become April when I sign. I don’t sign my last name. My husband (who also read the book) teases me that it means he’s not in my life. I have taken his name in everything, but my SS card, just cause I’m too busy or lazy to get down to that office. Before that, I myself was divorcing my first husband, so I didn’t identify with that name either. So, I am April in person and, usually, Davonia (my middle name), online.

  17. I have such conflicting feelings about this: (1) the gut reaction and (2) the reasoning reaction.

    Gut reaction: I admit that when I see identifiers like “MarksWifey” or “SethsMom” it makes my stomach lurch a little bit. It’s not that it represents a loss of identity (I don’t buy that argument) but that it suggests to me a gender imbalance in the meaning of relationships. Maybe Mark’s username is “JanesHubby” but I doubt it. And using your child as an identifier, at a gut level, strikes me as another version of Mommy Martyrdom, which has been discussed on this site before (okay, okay, I realize that maybe I do see it as a sense of loss, even if it is a voluntary loss).

    Reasoning reaction: But I also recognize that we all derive a sense of self (at least a social self) from our relationships to things, activities, and people. My handles have been about my work identity and my relationship to books (yawn!). So why not to my (forthcoming) child? The relationship to one’s child is more important than the relationship to one’s job or one’s music tastes for most people. So it makes sense. But still, on a gut level, the use of relationships with people to identify oneself just FEELS different than using characteristics like “bookworm” or “surfer.” I wish I could put my finger on what that difference is.

  18. I read through the comments here and on OBB. I find the differences between the two sites is interesting. The women on OBB are talking about a very specific identity change. They are talking about changing your real name, about going from who you’ve been since you were born to suddenly being someone new. I remember feeling strange about that. I had always assumed that when I got married I would take my husband’s name. When it came time to do it, I was more uncomfortable than I had ever imagined I would be. My husband was extremely kind about all of it, and never became offended at my discomfort about my changing identity. He even offered to take my name if it was what I really wanted.
    I weighed the possibility of keeping my name, but I was concerned about eventually having a different name than my children. I gets complicated.
    I thought about hyphenating my last name with his, but that seemed unwieldy.
    I thought about changing my middle name to my maiden name. I worried that it would still get lost though. I mean, how many people regularly use their middle name? But it was ultimately what I settled on. And I used both. I sign my full name. On facebook, I have both names. My voicemail uses both. I introduce myself using both.

    The women here on OBM, however, are talking about something more fluid, a little less black and white. I don’t want to say that in marriage you maintain your identity outside of your name completely. You change a bit. But many of us had been in that relationship for years, and the wedding day didn’t necessarily change the dynamic. Having a baby is different. Suddenly your life is all about someone else. Your friends stop calling you to hang out because they don’t know what to do with you. People stop asking how you are doing and start asking about the baby.

    I am 6 months pregnant with my first. I just got married last June. I graduated from college only a month before that. I’m going through these changes almost simultaneously. By the time I got through all of the legal garbage involved in changing my name (I’m still fighting with my HR office at work because they can’t understand that I have a different middle name) I was already pregnant. Sometimes, I feel like even I don’t know who I am.

  19. It’s the gender thing that bothers me- it seems to be all mums who are posting pictures of their children and every detail of their childrens’ lives. Where I’m friends with the daddies as well, I don’t see that nearly as often.

    • I guess my husband is just a really awesome DILF, so his fb profile pic is of our wedding day holding our daughter. He’s definitely not online as much as I am, but his pic has always been a picture of us or our daughter.

  20. I didn’t take my husband’s name. We discussed his taking mine, and picking something new for both of us, but in the end inertia won out and we both just still have the names we were born with. Sometimes we get mail addressed to Me HisLastName, or the HisLastName Family, but it doesn’t bother me much. Since most of our bills are under my name, we also get telemarketers calling for/addressing him as Mr. MyLastName, so turn about is fair play, I guess.

    Before our our kid was born, we had to decide what last name to give the baby. We talked over a few diffenent scenarios, and finally decided on “if it’s a girl, my last name, if it’s a boy, his last name” – maybe not the most creative system but it worked. So our son has his father’s last name. I was a little worried that it might be wierd or disruptive to have a different last name than my kid, but so far everyone – from the doctor’s office to the bank to our extented network of friends and family – has been cool with it. Literally, not one person has batted an eye about it.

    • One of my professors did this. She kept her last name when she married. Now, one of her sons has her husband’s last name and the other has hers. It’s kind of cute!

  21. I’ve had the same username since 1997 or 1998, when my family first got the internet. I was about 12. At 25, it’s so deeply associated with me online that, while I’ve considered changing it (my e-mail address was an attempt at that), it’s never worked.

    But I’ll also probably never change my legal name — my partner and I, as I mentioned above, aren’t married. In some ways, I feel like I missed an identity change there, but in other ways, it helps me hold on to a core of myself, which I might otherwise have a hard time doing.

    We’ll see what happens when the baby comes. We still haven’t fully settled on a last name for the sprog; our names sound terrible hyphenated, we haven’t been able to come up with another last name to use, and we’re not terribly attached to passing our names on. It may boil down to using whichever last name sounds better with the first & middle names we choose.

  22. Great post. My usernames didn’t change when I was a bride, and they won’t change when I become a mommy. I am still me – regardless of who I love. As far as facebook goes, most of the time I do have a profile photo that is me with someone I love – my husband, my grandmother, etc. So, no doubt it will be full of baby including photos in the future.

    One of the things that gets me.. Is I see these statuses posted on FB that equate to “Repost this if you gave up your style, taking care of yourself, and basically anything that may make you happy.. but it’s worth it for the kid!”.. I don’t intend to become some frumpy, frizzy haired slob because I’m having a baby. I plan on transferring my sweet ass style TO the baby, and we’ll both look great. 🙂

  23. If I didn’t have my kid as my facebook profile photo, it would be one of my cats, or perhaps a random animal image I like. Sometimes it is a photo of me, but not often, because I don’t like having my photo taken.

  24. one of the things i’ve been thinking about this week is how incredibly LIKE MYSELF i feel during pregnancy. for some reason i thought i would feel different somehow. but my body still feels like my body even though it is a different shape and size, and my mind still feels like my mind even though i spend a good 50% or more of my time thinking about baby related things and cry about nothing at all. i’m still me. and i’m surprised that i’m surprised because before i got married i KNEW that it was not changing the person i was. i never even considered changing my name because it’s MY name. a different name would be a different person’s name. my seamstress freaked me out at a fitting one day because she was gushing about how she suddenly became a different person as soon as she got married–but then she saw the terror in my eyes and backpedaled a little. two days after the wedding my mom asked me if i felt any different. “yes,” i said, “the moment the ring was on my finger i grew a tail.”

    • That’s so great you feel like yourself during pregnancy, I wish I did!

      I didn’t feel like I changed at all when I got engaged or got married (nor did I expect to), and I don’t feel like I have changed who I am now that I’m pregnant, but I have really felt like my body doesn’t belong to me at all. My mind is still me, my body is something else.

      Going from someone who drank socially most nights, ate pretty much every food you’re not allowed and never got emotional, being pregnant has been a really huge adjustment and I’m still struggling.

      I feel like my body is being rented by the baby for 9 months and when she’s born I will get to be myself again.

  25. i completely lost my identity for the first 18 months. no i wasn’t me anymore. i thought i was well sometimes. i definately changed alot. ive always had a strong sence of self but that first year was hard. my myspace pic was my daughter because i felt ugly and didnt want any new pics of me up. i felt like having a profile pic of me in my former glory was a lie. plus having ur child as a profile pic is cute.
    being a mother is part of my identity. and since i have a blog about being a mama in burlesque i geuss its part of my online life too!

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