50 Shades of Birth & Motherhood
Attention pregnant & postpartum mamas:
This is a reminder to be mindful of the expectations you develop and the pressures you place on yourself regarding how birth and motherhood should be.
Last week I was chatting with a lovely client who recently gave birth to her second child.
One of the themes behind some of her postpartum struggles included thoughts that things should have gone or should be a certain way.
We receive so many messages---in society and through the stories we hear from others regarding their experiences. We (often unintentionally & subconsciously) wind up creating belief systems around how things should go for us.
But every mother’s experience is unique and it’s important to stay open to your story potentially being different from what you’ve heard or initially expected.
Here are examples of ways expectations can trip us up and lead to negative feeling, such as shame, guilt, or disappointment in motherhood:
- “Recovery from a vaginal birth is easier than a cesarean” (or vice versa)
- “Breastfeeding comes naturally and will be a breeze from the start” (or the opposite - “Breastfeeding will be a major challenge”)
- “I should be completely healed and back to normal by 6-weeks postpartum” (Maybe, Maybe not!)
- “Good mothers know how to soothe their crying babies” (Sometimes it’s just not that easy)
- "I should feel more connected to my child" (Postpartum can be hard & challenges are not your fault)
Notice how all of the statements above are very rigid and absolute. They don't allow room for obstacles or take into consideration various challenges that may occur, thus creating a trap.
The reality is there is no ONE way or rule of thumb when it comes to giving birth, navigating various aspects of postpartum, or mothering.
Remain open and develop the expectation that your experience will be unique. (Hint: Watch out for should, have to, and must language). Your journey could be similar to those of others...But it could also look very different.
If you need help managing your expectations and developing flexibility in your thinking around birth or motherhood, get in touch or check out Empowered Motherhood.