She sat in front of me covering her eyes as her shoulders shook from sobbing. Here was this young, strong, professional career woman melting down before me. In that moment of vulnerability, I saw the wife, the mother, a woman. I realised how we are made up of emotions and how quickly overwhelm can lead to break down.
It creeps up slowly. Initially it’s just stress and adjustment and we brush it off as part of life. It may start as the ‘baby blues’ but could end up being much more serious with far worse consequences. How is it that we as mothers can end up feeling so alone when we are all going through the same thing in some shape of form. We may be going through it at different phases in our lives, but there is a common thread. Why do we judge each other so harshly? ‘Look how she treats her children’. ‘Can you believe that child is running around screaming like that in public!’. The overwhelmed mother who doesn’t know how to deal with the high pitched scream coming from her toddler looks around apologetically. She’s trying to compose herself and not lose control like she’s done so many times at home. The little toddler’s desperate attempt at getting connection, trying to convey that he’s feeling alone and scared. Other moms looking on thinking, ‘what a naughty child’.
It’s easy reverting to the way most of us were raised. Children should be seen and not heard. Crying is naughty. Just be compliant and subdued and do everything like a good boy. Mommy can’t deal with all the stresses of life and you screaming and throwing a tantrum on the shop floor is beyond my scope of coping skills….
What a difference it would make to your life if the norm was that we all understood, accepted and supported each other. If we knew that it’s phases and could go up to that mom, put a hand on her arm and say, ‘it’s ok’.
What if you could make a choice and not be the victim of your circumstance? You actually have a choice you know. You don’t have to accept what life dishes out at you and feel like it’s all too much and not what you wanted. The way you view your life experiences can make all the difference in how you grow as a person. That which you focus your mind on is what expands. If you focus on the hardship and challenge, you’ll experience more of that. If you choose to see the lessons and growth that comes from it, you can soar high and celebrate this journey called life.
There are lots of silent sufferings. Not bonding with your baby right after birth is actually normal. Birth is a transformational event and you are processing a lot of emotions. Bonding with your baby can take time. Feeling alone and confused by all the unsolicited but well-meaning advice from other moms is normal. You don’t have to take it all in. You will find your own rhythm with your baby. Whether you breast or bottle feed, co-sleep or sleep train, you know what’s best for your baby. You are what’s best for your baby.
Make a choice to take it head on. Being a mama is tough but it’s the most rewarding thing on this earth. If you get stuck, get help. Don’t go at it alone if you don’t need to. Reach out to the community of women, mothers and those who are willing to listen and support. Reach out mama, there is joy and confidence waiting for you the moment you do.
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