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Mercy Train
A poignant look at three generations struggling with loss and love.
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Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

Created: 06/03/12

Replies: 20

Posted Jun. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 368

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Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

There is a running theme of identity and self throughout the novel. Iris feels that she put up a facade as a mother. Samantha loses her will to create art after having Ella. Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother? Do the women in this novel think that motherhood is worth the sacrifice?


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

It shouldn't be but it's easy to let it. It's a delicate balance, I think. I put my writing dreams on hold for my kids but I think that was an excuse as much as anything. It's more difficult, because being a mother makes life so fractured, but it is possible. I think my insecurities held me back the most and I blamed it on motherhood. So I understand Samantha's situation.


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
katerha

Join Date: 02/16/12

Posts: 3

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I agree with lisag about being a delicate balance.
After I had a child my priority was to my child. While that is important and necessary I think it is also healthy to try to blend your new identity as a mother with your pre-parent identity. Samantha wasn't able to blend those identities.


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
CoventryReader

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 22

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

For me, losing my idenity by becoming a mother, just seemed the right thing to do. I found myself not seeing certain friends, who happened not to have babies. I was in a book club at that time and I had to stop because there was no time to read. I did continue to read but it was confined to reading in bed. I was so enthralled with my baby that it didn't feel so much like losing my identity; I was becoming a new person and most of the time, that suited me.


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gretchenm

Join Date: 06/04/12

Posts: 2

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I think mothers don't lose their identities. Their identities just change to include being a mother.


Posted Jun. 04, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
CoventryReader

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 22

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

After some thought on the matter, I don't think I lost my identity, I enlarged upon it. I became more flexible and made many new friends who also had babies.


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
djn

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 44

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I think part of my identity is being a mother and is just another segment of who I am..I can't imagine not having that part.


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
annar

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 31

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I don't think I lost my identity when I became a Mother. It just changed. I love being a Mother and now a grandmother.


Posted Jun. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

Anyone in the discussion who doesn't have children? I'm interested in your perspective, on the outside looking in.


Posted Jun. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 200

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RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I think that one's identity changes(expands) when you become a mother but for your own good and that of your relationship with that child's father it should not become your only identity. Also the child does become and adult and leaves your care so you need to be something more that a mom.


Posted Jun. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 93

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RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I agree with most of the ladies that responded here. I think being a mother is part of who I am and I would say I even think before I had children it was inside me waiting to become. I am my own person, with my own secrets, but being a mother defines my life. I think it made me a more honest and giving person and now that my children are grown and out of my home I still feel like a mom, as well as all the other parts of me.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Beth350

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 53

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RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

Ditto gretchenm's remark. I don't feel I lost my identiy when I became a mother, I actually gained new aspects to myself.


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
julie

Join Date: 07/23/11

Posts: 2

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

My thoughts are somewhat similar to what others have mentioned. It is possible to lose one's identity in any relationship. However, becoming a mother does not necessarily mean giving up the ethos of one's identity. Every woman, as every individual, needs to establish and nourish her own interests, ideas, talents, relationships and personal growth. Motherhood becomes an integral, personal and joyous dimension of a woman's identity, which reguires balancing the many immediate demands of a multi-facited life. I feel that Sam was incapable of this juggling act, because she had difficulty diciphering what is required for demonstrating love and care due to her own insecurities concerning Iris'es mode of mothering. However, in the end, Iris'es choice of Sam, as her liberator from life, could count as trust, faith and love for her daughter.


Posted Jun. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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susanlsimon

Join Date: 12/05/11

Posts: 8

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

At first thought I would say yes but upon reflection I think that becoming a mother makes me the same person but with more faces..less selfish and more nurturing....


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 29

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I think you gain an additonal identity and some of the activities you used to do there isn't time for at the beginning of motherhood. You make new friends (other mothers) and you pick up your other life as the child grows and goes to school.
I think you are much more likely to lose your identity to marriage (a whole other topic).


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
job

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 8

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

Perhaps, but I think it really just changes, you don't loose who you are.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dhaupt

Join Date: 06/20/12

Posts: 10

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

unfortunately you do loose somewhat of your identity when you become a mother some of it is not a bad thing but some of it needs to be constantly worked on


Posted Jun. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
aprilp

Join Date: 06/21/12

Posts: 6

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

This theme ran throughout the book and was an integral part of each woman's story. I think I have struggled with this question throughout my entire motherhood years, my children are now 15 and I am just now starting to find a balance between who I am as a mother and who I am as just April. Being a mother always wins out over being April but I definitely think there is some kind of loss of self at least when your children are first born and in their younger years. As I say that I also realize that it really is about each individual woman and how she decides to mother. Will she be a hands on mother or will she always be at arms length with her children and have a nanny, etc., in that case it seems a mother wouldn't lose so much of her own identity. Or maybe her identity wouldn't be mostly "mother". But I do have to say that "mother" does become a piece of your identity once you have a child and that never goes away!


Posted Jun. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 5

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

I think that who we are continues to evolve throughout our lifetime...where we are at a particular point in time is who we are. Becoming a mother reshapes our identity and adds another (albeit wonderful) new dimension as did becoming a wife or graduating from college or starting a new career. I don't think we lose anything just continue to gain...for are we all not a work in progress?


Posted Jun. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

No, I don't think you lose your identity. Perhaps your identity changes when you become a mother but if you know who you are it shouldn't be a problem.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted Jul. 03, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 96

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RE: Is losing one’s identity part of becoming a mother?

lisag asked if anyone here was not a mother. Well, I am not and of course have had plenty of friends with children. I agree with what many of you said -- you don't really lose your identity but it would be easy to do so. I have seen friends struggle to maintain that "me" time so they do keep their identity. They know there will come a time when the children are gone and they want to maintain their interests, their pre-children friends and their new friends who have children, and their marriage. But I have seen others for whom it was too much and they gave up everything outside their children.

As for the women in the novel, Violet's mother didn't seem to think it was worth it. But I think the others did although at times it seems that Iris had some regrets.


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