Finding Yourself in Motherhood
When we are pregnant there is so much focus on the mother. Our days are filled with appointments with doctors and midwives, birthing classes, parties and the general excitement of family and friends not to mention all of the anticipation of what life will look like. You are offered seats, doors are held, strangers smile and lots of advice (good or otherwise) is given. You feel special.
Once baby arrives there is a shift that happens. There are many visitors coming over to see the baby, hold the baby and bring gifts for the baby. You smile and clear the dishes or bring more drinks all the while realizing that not once has anyone asked how you are doing. Or maybe you don’t even notice until well after everyone has left and wonder why it didn’t occur to you sooner.
Now that you have done your duty of bringing your child into the world you are brushed out of the limelight as the focus becomes all things baby. You are expected to take on your role as mother- to run a household, care for your child, do it all, and of course you can’t forget to look like you never had your baby. Oh and if you don’t do it effortlessly and without flaw what kind of a mother are you?
In the meantime you have just had a baby, are dealing with hormonal shifts, healing from birth, experiencing sleep deprivation, trying to breastfeed, keep baby happy, deal with changes to your body and basically figure out a completely new life. All the while with little to no support. It’s no wonder that more than 80% of moms report feeling stressed out and overwhelmed after having their children.
After having your baby, time to heal, recover and get to know who this new woman, this mother that you have become truly is, is essential. Birth is a sacred time and incredibly transformative as it is not just the baby being born but a mother being born as well. When you are not given the time or the permission to delve into what that means for you it creates a disconnect that over time can turn into a negative relationship with your body and self. Add to that messages telling you that you need to bounce back & be everything to everyone and you are set up for failure.
A big part of this is not putting yourself first. It is expected of mothers to sacrifice and put everyone before themselves and the truth of the matter is that is not best for anyone. The more you are able to do for yourself the better you will show up for everyone in your life. But it can be hard to do this when you don’t even really know yourself or what is holding you back.
Take the time to ask yourself some questions:
How am I speaking to myself? Would I say it to someone else?
Are these stories I tell myself true or are they limiting beliefs?
Are the limiting beliefs mine or from someone else?
How can I change the words to change my story in a positive way?
The stories we tell ourselves are incredibly powerful. We have 60,000 thoughts a day and if a majority of those are negative that is what we are inviting into our lives. By identifying our limiting beliefs and negative stories we tell ourselves and making efforts to change those stories in a positive way we bring more positivity into our lives.
A good example I use is:
“My body is broken from having my baby” to “My body is powerful because it grew, carried and birthed my baby”
So your internal dialogue turns from:
“I am broken” to “I am powerful”
It may seem like a small change but it has massive effects over our mindset and how we view ourselves. If most of your thoughts are that you are broken you would see that reflected in your life and it may even potentially manifest itself as pain in your body. If the shift happens and most of your thoughts are that you are powerful think of all of the things you could accomplish. Nothing would be in your way.
You would be limitless.
So in a society that tells us we are not the focus in the postpartum period I tell you this:
You have the permission to rest and recover
Your body is supposed to change and look different and should be celebrated for that
You are allowed to come first
You are far more powerful than you are ever led to believe
I encourage you to take the time to get to know this new woman you have become. To give her love and support and speak to her that way. To see yourself as powerful and without limitation because you are capable of more than you ever thought possible.
You are not meant to fade into the background. You are meant to Glow.