When I had my first child, I vaguely recall (in my dissociated state) an initial period of overwhelming anxiety. It was as if I left this planet and was banned to another with different weather, different rules, different Everything. I was Lost. I suppose to some this sounds ungrateful and disdainful. How can a mother be so sad and distant amidst such a miracle as a newborn? After the weight of a thousand guilts, I feel a newfound compassion for myself during this period. One, because I have since had the honor of supporting many women in my therapy practice through similar post-partum episodes. Therefore, I have been spoiled by exposure to the truest sense of compassion– actual proof that I am not alone in that pain. Two, because I have learned to accept all of my emotions as messengers. I am a unique mama bear that simply needed to get lost in order to be found, to enter my new self. The new “me” as a mama. Once I did, I fully embraced this new self, like it was a new friend and comrade. I believe that this full embrace helped me to be my most authentic self and parent.
Looking back, I no longer regret my anxious, fearful, frozen self back then. I thank it, for leading me to my present. I am connected to the rawness and reality of being a mama with fears and worries, joys and gratitude.
The stories of my anxious mama clients reveal one simple truth; we are all connected in this fear of ‘not being enough’ AND there is NO One right way of parenting your child. I am enlightened with this awareness: your Mama Bear instinct carries more weight and is more effective than any parenting advice, ‘how to’ discipline book or familial tradition. The toughest part to digest is that we are parenting for what is best for our child NOT for what we think is supposed to be the best way to parent. *
So, allow your anxiety to be eased and comforted by the universality of motherhood, by humbly admitting to imperfection and in fact embracing it, and by treating yourself and all mamas with warmth and compassion. When you see a mama struggling, warmly nod in loving kindness and let go of the temptation to judge; WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.