Your body is a truly amazing vehicle for all the love and challenges you will encounter as a mother. From one pregnant, toddler-chasing mom to each of you in your unique stage of motherhood, I honor the beautiful work that you and your body are doing to support you in raising your children.
As a therapist who works with moms, I am constantly encouraging them to prioritize themselves and their relationship. Time after time I find myself repeating the mantra: “Your family deserves the best version of you; the only way that is possible is by making yourself a priority.” Yet, here I was questioning and doubting my decision to do just that. I felt weighed down by the surge of guilt and self-judgment that came with making a decision to put my need for a break, time with my husband, and an opportunity to satisfy a passion of mine, above that of being present 24/7 for my son. It was in that moment that I recognized how hard it was to do what I had always so easily advised my clients to do.
Let’s come together as a community of women who seek to debunk these myths. Let us build new, more realistic truths, so women do not have to trudge through the challenges of motherhood and carry the weight of unrealistic expectations.
For those of us who have suffered the loss of a baby, there will always be an empty seat at our table. Your friendship and love can be a catalyst for our healing. You’re up for the challenge, I promise.
It’s normal that we see another person’s discomfort and want to relieve them of it. So if you experience the impulse to give advice after someone shares a struggle they are encountering, stop and think. You can choose to first empathize with their struggle “that sounds so stressful.” If you decide to embark on giving advice, be transparent and ask for permission.
As a board-certified allergist, I’ve seen firsthand how food allergies can be inconvenient, costly and in some cases, life-threatening. Thankfully, findings from recent landmark studies have opened our eyes to new ways of thinking about allergy prevention in children.
Pregnancy is a dynamic, incredible process. We hold years of feelings, emotions, and energy within us. What advice works for one person may not work for another, but the common goal would be finding a place of peace with the changes that are happening.
Would you prefer for your vehicle (a.k.a. your mindset and body) to break down or would you prefer for it to get multiple tune-ups throughout its lifetime. Self-care is your life’s tune-up.
It is my belief that when a woman sees herself in her new form and acknowledges her transformation as a mother–and also is seen by her community as the new person she has become–that is when a mother completes her matrescence.
The first step is to recognize that the goal is not to avoid all stress during pregnancy. It’s not possible, nor is it practical. If you have known sources of stress that are avoidable (for example, people in your life who bring you anxiety or a job that is high-stress) see how you can minimize exposure. However, in most cases, stress is not the problem. Human bodies are resilient, even during pregnancy. So moments of high-stress do not usually cause long-term issues to your health.
The bigger problem is not allowing our bodies to heal from stress. Our bodies have a built-in system that triggers the stress-response, and we have a body system that’s designed to trigger the healing response to help you recover from the stress. It is in triggering the latter that healing can occur from the damages of stress and protect you from long term concerns.