Identity is so much and nothing simultaneously. It can be fundamental and flexible. It can be tangible objects and ephemeral ideologies.
There are moments when I stop and reflect on the person I was before I had my child and feel like she is just a shade different to who I am now; more green, a little more naive than I am today.
But, there are other moments when I look into the mirror and wonder who the person was before I birthed myself as mother.
Of course, as mothers - and women, in general - we are always changing and shifting. Moving up and down in ourselves and finding new lenses through which to see and offering new windows through which to be seen.
But, as I grunted and groaned in that birthing pool almost 3.5 years ago, I was bringing forth more than my son. New flesh and ideas had been forged during my pregnancy and I crafted those new ounces of fat and my new parenting philosophy into the mother I am today.
Inside that newly fired soul were so many aspects of the person I was before my son, the aspects that I held close to my heart. Aspects like feminism.
In some ways, feminism has become more important to me now that I am a mother to a son. My eyes have become more keenly sharpened to the influences media, peers and social convention play on some issues that are fundamental to feminist thinking. I act much more intentionally as a feminist in ways that I never did before.
Despite the crowing of recent popular media, as a mother I am no less a feminist and I certainly have no less of an identity. My identity has changed and made room for new and more aware understandings of mothering.
Breastfeeding, co-sleeping and stepping out of wage-earning work does not make me less aware of women's issues. It makes me more aware of some women's issues.
As I look into the mirror of myself and examine how motherhood has changed this piece of me, this chunk of feminist-me, I see a less angry and raging self and see a more gentle and persistent hand on a more concise pen of action.
Becoming a mother has made me want to do more for all the women, mothers or child-free, in the world. Becoming a mother has made me a better feminist.
This month we’re sharing self-portraits that complete the sentence “I’m a Mum and a…” What’s the first word that comes into your head? Write it on a piece of paper and take a photo of you holding it up. You can see what other mums have told us about their identities and share your photo here.
For more posts on motherhood and identity, try