Letting go to lighten the load
Of all the things I’ve learnt about motherhood, one of the biggest and most valuable lessons is the fine art of surrender. Of letting go…
Letting go of all those expectations and “should” that hold us back, cause distress, and make us feel like failures. Finding a way to release all of this creates space for allowing yourself to be present in the moment, without shame or guilt, even If it might not be where you thought you were supposed to be right now.
Its so tiring trying to fit some pre-determined motherhood mold or pushing up against every new and unpredictable phase and stage of parenthood and your child’s development. I challenge you, instead, to be kind to yourself. Pace yourself. Cut yourself a whole lot of slack, and step out of your comfort zone a little by asking yourself these crucial questions:
“Is this belief system true?” OR “Is this serving me or hindering me?”
Letting go of unhelpful beliefs or expectations, can free up mental and emotional space, and allow you to focus your energy on what is truly important.
Letting Go of the Need to ‘Do’
In this day and age we are programmed to be “do’ers” in life – to pursue goals, to learn, to work hard, to solve problems. But in the postpartum period otherwise known as the 4th Trimester, its wise and helpful to be still, to rest and recuperate, to hold space for ourselves and getting to know our new baby. You might be feeling the urge to cook, to clean, tidy up, watch tv or surf the net whilst your baby naps. It can feel “unnatural” to press pause on the “doing”, but start re-programming your brain by practicing “being”.
If you have the resources, outsource the mundane stuff to someone else so that you can reclaim some quality time for you and your family. Get a cleaner, a gardener, order groceries or meal delivery services online, and ask family and friends to send you a meal or two. Who cares if you eat takeaway a few nights a week, or send your clothes to the laundromat – less laundry for you, Hooray! Allow yourself the time to enjoy those precious moments of watching your baby’s eyelashes grow. Have a lie down to catch some shut eye. Even if you don’t fall asleep, staring into space
and zoning out for a short while can be enough to clear the head and re-energize for the next round of baby duties.
Letting Go of Perfectionism
There is no such thing as a perfect parent in appearance, or practice. The pursuit of perfection is obscure and ultimately unattainable. It prevents connection with others, takes us away from the present moment and causes distress! Our children rarely, if ever, see our flaws. They don’t care if we haven’t decorated our nursery, washed our hair, or cleaned the house. They simply want our time and attention. And if our children see us being so hard on ourselves then we are perpetuating this exhausting, unrealistic and unhealthy picture of how we are “meant” to live our lives.
Instead, embrace your imperfections and embrace your humanity. Laugh at yourself. The best we can do as parents is be willing to always learn, grow, change and improve. All of us have strengths and areas for development. Think about all the weaknesses you have confronted, all the things you have learnt that day and all the future opportunities that you will continue to encounter so that you can keep getting better. Why not admire and lean on your partners strengths which may balance out some of your weaknesses, and ask them to do the same for you. Know that what lies on the surface for other seemingly perfect parents, often conceals challenges that lie beneath the surface.
Letting Go of Pressure to be an Eternally Blissful Mama
It’s normal not to enjoy every single moment in your babies’ new life. Some days are wonderful and bubbling over with love and laughter, others are boring and repetitive as hell and will make you want to climb the walls to escape. These are the days you will need to call for help and get out of the house. There is no right or wrong, anything goes in the first few weeks and months. Know and accept that life with a newborn is completely unpredictable. Babies are not robots who work according to a manual. They have their own unique personalities and their brains and bodies develop at light speed. Put down the books and stop comparing yourself and your baby to everyone else – and embrace your own unique experience of parenthood.
Letting Go of the Façade
Some of the best advice we could give new mums is to just be yourself. Feel it, don’t conceal it. Be open and honest with your partner, family and friends about how you are doing and ask for help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There’s no need to be a martyr – there are no rewards for mums who choose to tough it out in silence – only suffering. Along with the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn, there is also a hormonal cocktail reaching peaks and troughs in your body like never before. You are not only recovering physically and mentally from birth but you may also be learning the new skill of breastfeeding along with newborn care.