The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.
As moms, we can be so very hard on ourselves. Our harsh inner critic can be much louder at times than our kind inner voice.
Things like imposter syndrome can show up here too, especially if you’re a first-time mom. It often sounds like, “who am I to… (fill in the blank here).”
- Who am I to feel like I know what I’m doing with this new baby?
- Who am I to have an easy route into motherhood when others first suffer through hardships like miscarriages and infertility?
These types of statements are full of self-criticism and self-judgment.
So, what can we do to soften our harsh inner critic? Undoing these negative thought cycles may look something like:
- Self-criticism moving to self-acceptance moving to self-compassion.
Unfortunately, we don’t often move straight from self-criticism to self-compassion, making this middle step of self-acceptance a very important part of the process. Ask yourself these questions:
- What would it be like to accept myself exactly where I am in life right here and now?
- What would it be like to finally forgive myself for my past mistakes?
Here are some affirmations to help you focus on self-compassion during postpartum and beyond:
- I am worthy
- I own my true story
- I am authentically me
- I have value
- I am enough
- I am loved
- I am seen, heard and understood
- I am known
- I live in my own truth
Which of these self-compassion affirmations most resonates with you? You may also want to create a mantra of your own here.
What’s great about adding more self-compassion into your life is that you don’t have to just start with the here and now. Yes, it’s helpful in the present moment to send compassion inward towards yourself (and outward towards others). But, it can also be helpful to use self-compassion as a means to change the narrative of how you saw yourself in the past, a narrative that’s often very harsh and self-critical.
Here’s an activity you can try: imagine yourself sending love and compassion to the younger you. The younger you who had struggles and pain and hurt while she grew into the beautiful postpartum mom you are today.
Think about what would it be like to see yourself through a kinder, more loving lens, in the past, in this present moment, and moving forward into the future…