Parents often worry that having a new baby in the house will make their older children feel left out, forgotten, or invisible. But the presence of a new baby doesn't just take attention away from other kids, it arguably takes the most attention away from the mom.
Anastasia Aligiannis pointed out how invisible having a baby can make women feel in a Facebook post last week. A simple social experiment proved to Aligiannis that family and friends stopped noticing her after she had a second baby.
After feeling invisible to her family and friends, Aligiannis decided to start wearing only one earring every day to see how long it would take her loved ones to notice. It took seven months.
"7 months worth of social interactions, and no one ever looked me square in the face and noticed," she wrote. "It sort of cemented to me that as mum of then 2 children under 2 who was always out and about, who "just stayed at home" or "didn't work" I had just about become invisible; not just to society (who may not notice or be curious why just 1 earing), but to my family, to my friends and really maybe if I am truly honest even to myself."
And it wasn't just that no one was looking at her face. All of the conversations she had with family and friends centered on her kids and her husband, but people rarely asked how she was doing.
"When I think about it now my guess would be everyone probably just figured if the people it was my responsibility to care for were ok, then I must be," she wrote.
She realized with this experiment that she didn't want to be invisible — to herself or anyone else.
"It’s hard when you have spent your whole life connecting your identity to what you do, the career you built, where you have been and where you are going," she wrote. "The shift to realigning your self as you transition to motherhood can be tough. To take a love that is all consuming and not let the role consume you is difficult."
Aligiannis wrote about how she had been feeling in hopes that she could show other moms that they aren't invisible either, and that they matter.
"You are so important, and are probably the cog that keeps everything running smoothly," she wrote. "Keep up the good work, and if no one else says it to you this week know that you are invaluable in the work you do and your sacrifices do not go unnoticed."
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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