Category Archives: Relationship with Mum

On becoming a Mum

Many of my postnatal clients experience a huge panic when they become mothers, the pressure of parenthood overwhelming and crushing them and they respond by becoming depressed.

When we work through things, what comes to the surface is interesting; their own experiences in childhood come back and their relationships with their parents, mostly mothers, is weighing heavy on their minds.

Becoming a mother is a massive step into adulthood and many feel it is a right of passage, an initiation to finally being a grown up. But what doe this mean for their relationship with their mothers? Are they still children? Does the relationship need to be redefined as they are now Adult and Adult and not Child and Adult?

And what of mothers who clients do not feel where there for them and feel their emotional needs were not met? How can they be good mothers if they were not shown by example how it is done? But worst of all – what if they pass on the behaviours they struggle with to their children?

In these situations we look at the here and now; you are the mother now and this is your child. This is your little family and no one can come in between that. Boundaries need to be set to ensure this which can then bring up issues of self esteem and confidence about standing up for yourself.
You can choose how you parent and create your own positive habits that you can pass down to your children. You can use this time to learn how to change and live in a more authentic way, more you, true to you and your heart.

It is difficult but childhood experiences do stay with us and have played a part in forming who we are today. Again, in therapy, you can change this and learn a new way of being, learn to give your child-self what it needed, learn to let go and learn to live congruently as an Adult now.

I feel that a new situation does bring about a new identity; the old you is destroyed to some extent and many seem to feel like they have lost who they are. When things are broken, it is a good opportunity to remake it but without the parts you didn’t like. It’s a chance to start fresh, a clean slate.

And new mums, don’t forget, you don’t have to do this all in one go. You have time, perhaps think of your new identity as a mum as your child. There is lots to learn and you can’t run before you can walk (or crawl!). Baby steps, New Mum, you will get there but take it a little baby step at a time.

We are not taught how to take care or manage our mental and emotional needs but there are strategies and tools to help, which you can develop and change to suit your specific needs and way of being. And just think, as you think of new ways, what wonderful things can you pass down to your children?

And if you’re struggling, you know where I am. You’re not alone and I’m here to help <3


A non post about Momma

“Those friends who have had lovely, gracious, supportive mothers – how I envy them. And how odd that they are not bound to their mothers, neither phoning, visiting, dreaming, nor even thinking about them frequently.
Whereas I have to purge my mother from my mind many times a day and even now, ten years after her death, often reflexively reach for a phone to call her.
Oh, I can understand all this intellectually. I have given lectures on the phenomenon. I explain to my patients that abused children often find it hard to disentangle themselves from their dysfunctional families, whereas children grow away from good, living parents with far less conflict.
After all, isn’t that the task of a good parent, to enable the child to leave home?”
By Irvin D Yalom, ‘Momma and the meaning of life’
Why have I chosen to share this with you today? More and more I am seeing a pattern emerging from my New Mum clients. A pattern I am keen to investigate and explore to understand at a deeper level.
When a woman becomes a mother, her own experiences with her own mother seem to come to the foreground and all sorts of emotions and fears come up;
“I don’t want my child to feel the way I did”
“I don’t want to pass on these family beliefs”
“I don’t want to be like my mother, I need to be better for my child”
So much is thrown under the microscope and there is that panic and anxiety of where to begin, fear of hurting and damaging this new being like you have been.
So what jumps out for you from that passage from Yalom’s book?
His difficult relationship with his mother still haunts him, even after her death. Her voice still so powerful in his mind.
He is still seeking her approval, knowing he will never get it.
He is a trained professional and KNOWS intellectually but emotionally, he still has to go through a process of ‘purging’.
Perhaps it isn’t just the mother, he does also talk of dysfunctional families, perhaps is our ability to cope with our experiences from those first relationships?
It also makes me question what abuse is. We are gaining more knowledge of emotional abuse but what comes under that label?
A mother is the first person we form a relationship with and I hear from my clients that intense pressure to get it right and not harm their new babies. But surely in simply being human we are going to make mistakes? Mistakes that will be internalised and perhaps haunt our children for their life times?
Then there is the last sentence ‘task of a good parent is to enable a child to leave home’. Now that resonates not only on a professional but personal level too, as a mother and a daughter.
What makes a good parent (that eternal question!) and is it to enable our children to leave home, in all senses?
To teach them all they need to know to be able to stand on their own? Physically, emotionally and mentally?
I fear this most is more questions than answers and I haven’t got the answers, which is why I’m putting it out to you, trusting in the process; what did you get from that passage?