24/7 Once you sign on to be a Mother, that’s the only shift they offer.
Internal work can be really hard to do, especially in the early days of postpartum when you’re so very sleep deprived. Issues often show up during postpartum that can be quite surprising and even frustrating to us; these may be new issues, or they may be things that we’ve worked through in the past that are resurfacing now, or issues may be showing up in different ways in postpartum than they typically do in our lives. Here are some common examples:
- Perfectionism- Are you trying to navigate postpartum perfectly?
- Being too hard on yourself- Especially over not being able to do it all: taking care of baby, the house, your job outside of the home, etc.
- Relationship issues- Maybe not feeling as connected to your partner as you’d like to or arguing more frequently with family members. Maybe you are feeling disappointed in your friendships or are not relating to friends who are at different stages of life.
- Grief- Have you been grieving the loss of your everyday life or even life before baby? There are lots of ways grief could be showing up (you may be grieving your autonomy, your body, sexuality, money, time, freedom, feeling confident, etc.)
- Depression- Feeling sad and lonely and isolated during this transition.
- Anxiety- Fear over what might happen in the future. Fear of messing up as a mom.
- Lack of self-confidence- What’s keeping you from trusting yourself and knowing you’re a good mom?
- Emotional numbness- shutting down emotionally when you feel overwhelmed
- Not feeling worthy- What would need to change in order for you to feel good from the inside out?
- Not feeling good enough- Being pulled in many different directions that leave you feeling like you’re not a good mom, partner, friend, etc.
Try practicing self-compassion and focusing internally on knowing and embracing your own truth. Compassion for one’s self can be one of the hardest struggles for new moms. It takes patience and lots of practice.
Many external factors may also impact your postpartum experience. These may include:
- A lack of boundaries with extended family, friends, your workplace, etc.
- Looking for validation and your self-worth externally from others
- A narcissistic parent- even after having a baby, it’s still all about them, and not about you and your growing family
- Issues with extended family- not wanting to take care of baby your way, not respecting you as a parent
- Judgment/criticism from others about your parenting style
- Expectations from others about how you should parent
- Grandparents having their own expectations- gift buying, how much time spent with grandkids, making their own rules, etc.
- Social media – watch out for the comparison trap here
Try to take a step back from all the external pressures in your life (and quiet these down as best you can), so you can figure out what truly matters to you and your partner right here and now.
And finally, here are some ways to reconnect with yourself when the internal and external stressors of postpartum and motherhood are taking over:
- Talk to a therapist
- Process your feelings through writing
- Feel your feelings
- Work on mindfulness
- Find time to do something you love
- Acknowledge any loneliness (or any other uncomfortable feelings that are showing up in your life)
- Go for a walk
- Focus on gratitude
- Go outside and focus on the natural beauty all around you
Even a few minutes of self-care a day can make a huge difference in your life as a new mom and throughout motherhood!