Motherhood Tools for Surviving and THriving
- “How are you feeling Mama?” Does anyone ask how you are doing? And if they do, do you tell them the truth?
- Are you feeling more anxious and less in control over your life? Are you experiencing more relationship conflict with your partner?
- Are you struggling but afraid to tell family and friends for fear of being judged or getting some well-meaning (but bad) advice?
- Has your identity been uprooted?
- Did you love the early phases of motherhood but are now struggling with the new rhythm of life?
- Are you grieving a pregnancy loss?
Counseling can equip you with tools to address a wide variety of concerns such as anxiety and/or depression, attachment and bonding issues, parenting or parent-child relationships, identity issues, self-confidence, relationships, and pregnancy loss or infertility issues.
The Fourth Trimester: A Time of Adjustment
Have you heard of the fourth trimester? During the postpartum phase, emotions can run a roller coaster. You may have had blissful visions of bringing your baby home and having the perfect bonding experience. Perhaps you wondered what you might do with ‘all that time’ you were going to have during maternity leave. In reality, the fourth trimester is a time of great transition and challenge. During your baby’s first three months, she is still very much attached to you as she gets used to being outside of the warm comfort of your womb. At the same time, you are going through a lot of changes as well – hormonal, physical, emotional. Having adequate support during this time is essential for well-being.
Motherhood throughout lifespan
- The Anticipation Phase: Nesting and Pregnancy
- The Exhausted Phase: Newborn and Infancy
- The “Trying to Do It All” Stage: Toddler +
- Preschool years
- The Busy Years: School Age
- The Emotionally Stressful Years: Tweens + Teens
- The Transitional Years
Each phase of parenting requires us to navigate different challenges in order to connect to the joy of motherhood. Often we may have the tools to navigate some of these phases but struggle in others. The way we were parented, the tools we currently have, and our ability to emotionally and compassionately connect to our children all shape our experiences as a mother.
Identity After Becoming a Mother
Giving birth to a new identity can be more challenging than actually giving birth. By the time you give birth, you have likely developed ideas about what motherhood will look like for you. Maybe you imagine motherhood to look like those perfectly styled Instagram photos, the celebrity lifestyle photo spreads, or ideas you grew up with. You may have thought that motherhood wouldn’t have any impact on who you were and how you felt pre-baby; that you’d go right back to what you were doing but with a baby on your hips. In reality, becoming a mother is a time of adjustment and integration.
To read more about motherhood and identity:
The Birth of a Mother (New York Times Article)
Is that Mom in the Mirror Really Me? (NY Times)
Loss of Pregnancy
Loss of pregnancy can be devastating. It can trigger a cascade of feelings ranging from intense sadness to guilt, anxiety, anger, jealousy, loneliness, and feeling unable to cope with everyday life. Mothers who experience pregnancy loss can feel very alone in their loss. Even though inaccurate, you may blame yourself for the loss, believing that if you had done one thing differently this would not have happened. It’s also often difficult to find social support after pregnancy loss and close relationships may change creating more stress on partnerships and marriages.