The Soul Shift of Motherhood

| October 12, 2016 | 15 Comments

The Soul Shift

The Soul Shift

I consider myself a keen observer of modern motherhood. I’ve stood outside the lines of the working mom playing field for three years now and have treated my career break as a planned sabbatical. I made the conscious decision to create space for a life shift and a new identity no longer defined by a professional title.

Before babies, my work was my everything.  I knew it like the back of my hand. I was in control. In a way it felt like home. Then there she was, my first born. A seven-pound life changer. Work, the center of my main stage with its accolades, it’s invigorating pace, it’s all encompassing rhythm…well, it evaporated. Who I identified myself as for the last ten years of my life slowly became a blurry image. I mean, I know I was her at one point – her business suits hang in my closet – but as much as I seek her out I can’t find her.

The soul shift of motherhood – this is how it happened to me. Every fiber of who I knew myself to be fell out of order. Almost three years later it remains a bit of a jumble, like wooden puzzle pieces waiting to be put together. How can I continue to be the mother I am, the mother I strive to be and also the career girl who has me looking over my shoulder? Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent says “Who we were before becoming a parent doesn’t and cannot exist with the same ferocity. Once children enter our life, their impact is indelible, and we are required to reinvent ourselves in response” (emphasis mine).

Reinvention. Maybe this is what I am missing. Maybe this is why it feels like I am hammering away at a round peg willing it to fit into a square hole. Trying to sneak up on my old identity like a child with a butterfly net. Knowing she is there but unable to recognize her long enough to grab hold. 

So what if I stop the chase, put down the butterfly net and trust that my personal soul shift is leading me toward a better path. Urging me to unlearn who I was in order to become who I need to be. A sign that it is time to take the best parts of who I was pre – parenthood and paint a new picture.  If I buy into this idea – I mean really buy in – could there be a new definition of self waiting to be scooped up, soaked in, and loved?

The soul shift of motherhood is universal, I believe. And like the mothers before me who returned to professional work after making time and space for another life, I too will return to my business suits and dance to the rhythm of career when the time is right. But this time the dance will look different; it will be less rigid, less vigorous, less all-encompassing because I know longer dance alone. This new identity, a blending of the best parts of past and present will be uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but if embraced can spur on the evolution from who I am to who I want to be. Personal evolution born of a soul shift. A life changing combination, don’t you think?

Photo credit: Phillip Durand

Julianne Durand

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Category: Family, Living, Moms, Work

About the Author ()

Julianne Durand is a Masters educated Social Worker and a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator. She has over 10 years of experience working with children, parents, and families in community-based and governmental settings in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. Currently, Julianne operates Parenting Calm, Living Connected, a family-focused counseling service in the community of Russell. Julianne is a proud military spouse and mother of two little girls who she strives to parent in a mindful and connected way. Read more about her work at

Comments (15)

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  1. Cheryl says:

    Our little guy heads off to school next year so I am looking towards a shift as well. Not sure what yet??!! lol

  2. Pat says:

    A well written article that sure to resonate with any mother facing the same ‘shift’.
    More articles by this writer please!

  3. AD says:

    It was nice reading this… I never took any time off to be with my boys (they came to me in a non-traditional manner), I have never regretted it. I appreciate that we all have more choices these days then ever before.

  4. Kristi says:

    Yes, definitely a soul shift. I agree that it is inevitable when becoming a parent.

  5. Marisa says:

    This is EXACTLY what I have been going through – especially since my daughter started school last month. I’m trying to get to that next act in my life while being a mom.

  6. loriag says:

    I would agree we reinvent ourselves once we have children, and again when they leave home. Life changes and it is a wonderful to be able to change with it and adapt to where we are and who we are.

  7. sarah alexis says:

    What a thought provoking article! Thank you. I totally agree, we are always evolving!

  8. Julie says:

    I like the reinvention idea. It’s much preferable to the idea of staying the exact same person or of becoming a completely different person.

  9. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    It is so very true that you experience a soul shift when your first baby arrives, your children are the most important part of your life. Returning to work is often difficult and you are drawn between two different worlds. This was a great post and I very much enjoyed reading it.

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