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