Have you ever had a moment where you find yourself omitting details out of fear of how it might make you look as a mom? Like the hour nap you took before making dinner. The store-bought cookies you sent along for snack versus something homemade. The two hours of electronic time your kid had because you needed a break. To some, these examples seem insignificant, but to many moms, it is the small details that we are often afraid to talk about. And then there are the larger scale things that are often not mentioned at all. Ever.
"I didn't bond with my baby right away"
"I feel like I have totally lost who I am now that I am a mother"
"I cry in the shower, a lot"
"I count down the minutes to when I can leave a birthday party or play date because I feel so anxious and "checked out."
"I don't want help, but I need it!"
"I just don't know if I can handle this another day"
"I am not comfortable in my own skin"
"I am doing the workouts, but honestly, I have to drag myself there. I just want to rest."
"I get frustrated that some of my friends seemed to have an easier time with this motherhood transition."
"Instead of hearing.."NO EXCUSES" "EARN THAT BODY" I want to hear people acknowledge my reasons and not make me "earn" a body I never lost."
Did you connect with any of those statements? If you did, don't feel bad. Feel normal. Those feelings are felt by many mothers on a daily basis. Pointing out that others also have those feelings is not my way of diminishing how you feel and how your life is impacted, but it is often a lonely place when those types of thoughts are running through our heads and we see the "outside" world as not having thoughts similar to ours. It just isn't true. You are not the only one.
Here are my top 3 tips on navigating through these various feelings that occur during motherhood and how to not feel defeated.
1) Talk with a friend who has children. This is often one of the most beneficial things we can do as women. Talking with a close family member or girlfriend about how we are feeling can bring peace and a sharing of emotions and stories that really let us see that our thoughts are not crazy or make us "bad moms." No two circumstances may be exactly alike, but hearing that others have felt or do feel similar allows us to take judgement off of ourselves (if we allow ourselves to). And that leads to....
2) STOP judging yourself. Seriously, stop it! We are often our own worst enemy. Take note of how you are feeling and know that it is a feeling in the moment. Maybe it is a frequent feeling. That is ok to. But creating dialogue in your head that answers your thoughts with things like "oh my gosh, I must be crazy" or "wow, who thinks things like that" is doing nothing but creating more and more negative feelings. Accept that you have emotions and feelings that are influenced by all of the things that are changing for you since being a mother. Sleep, hormones, stress, energy, nutrient deficiency.....need I say more? Don't forget that all of these things will influence your emotions, so stop judging yourself on your ability to always think, speak and act through the lens of rose colored glasses. It is not healthy.
3) Connect with a professional who can help. Not everyone gets the complete help they need by talking with a close family member, friend or spouse. Sometimes that is a big step that is uncomfortable. Sometimes people prefer to be quiet about it. That is fine. My only plea is that you talk to someone. Talking is not the only thing that happens either. Often, it is somewhat of an investigation into what you can do to help yourself and to feel better. You may learn new things about your body that make it so clear to you as to why you are feeling the way you do. For example, in my work as a pelvic physical therapist and postpartum coach, when I explain the connection and science between a hightened, stressed-out nervous system and a hypertonic or painful pelvic floor I often get a literal sigh of relief from clients. They had been questioning their pain or inability to relax "down there" for so long that they were convinced it was "all in my head." Having that increased knowledge about the connections and what you can do to help yourself is empowering! So, don't hesitate to reach out. One of my first questions to moms that I see who report any struggles with emotions, energy, etc. is whether or not they have had a hormone panel completed within the past 6 months. Pregnancy and postpartum is a big hit to our hormones, and the continued fluctuation and depletion that occurs after birth can impact a women for many years after birth. Getting connected with a trusted doctor, counselor or coach can make a big difference!
So, learn to give yourself some grace. There is light at the end of that dark, foggy tunnel that we sometimes walk into. And if you open up, stop judging yourself and reach out, you often find out how to step back out of it before having to walk completely through.
Grace & Love,
Information in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of gathering published information, some researched, and years of practice experience and knowledge of the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare provider. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this web site. Information provided on this web site and the use of any services purchased from the web site by you DOES NOT create a doctor/therapist/coach-patient/client relationship between you and Dr. Robyn Wilhelm.
Hi! I am Robyn. Mama, Wife and Lover of Life!
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