Matrescence: Part II
In my last post I shared a little bit about my own experience becoming a Mother and the challenges and emotions that come with the territory of this all-encompassing life change. I mentioned how through the pregnancy and postpartum phase we go through an 'awkward' stage which Alexandra Sacks refers to as the 'adolescence' of parenthood. This period consists of a Mothers body physically changing; her hormones surging; navigating new life roles; figuring out shifts in relationships and all the emotions that come with this transition. If you missed the post you can read it here. Today I want to share a little bit more about how you can support yourself through this period. I will share some insights as well as relevant resources.
How can you support yourself better?
So let's talk support and what types of support are important during this period.
Crafting your 'village'
You've heard the phrase 'it takes a village to raise a child' but what you may not have heard is that, in this day and age, you are responsible for crafting your 'village'. This means that during your pregnancy, and anytime thereafter, you need to start thinking about the people who can hold you and support you through this time. We refer to this as your 'support system' which would include every possible person who lends support in whichever capacity: from your mother-in-law, to your midwife, to your neighbor or friend. So think about all the role players in your village, what you might need from each of them and how you can ask to receive that. Remember that a village includes every single support person not only the obvious role players. You will find you will need different forms of support during your pregnancy to post birth, when baby is earth side.
A lot of the support offered post-birth is often very baby focused so it's important that you also consider the ways in which YOU need support. You might wish to break down your village into groups: support professionals (your medical team, your therapist, doula, midwife, coach, psychiatrist, etc); cheerleaders (friends, family and those wanting to share your experience); in-home support (your partner if you have one, nanny, night nurse, live-in friend of family member); physical support (physiotherapist; massage therapist; reflexologist; yoga teacher; etc) and emotional support (therapist; support group; support resources, etc). Some people or forms of support may fall into more than one category but it can help to break it down so that you are aware of your needs and who can help you along your way.
Become emotionally aware
Often we are easily triggered during this season (this is normal) and the reason this occurs is because each trigger is making us aware of our own feelings. Sometimes this might mean a past childhood wound of our own is being triggered within us or sometimes it might simply make us aware of our needs which possibly are not being met. Needs such as: sleep, adequate nutrition, down time and exercise. In order to feel less triggered and more at ease, one needs to pay attention to ones feelings and ask oneself what is needed in that moment of being triggered and furthermore, what is needed thereafter? How can you support yourself better or what do you need to sit with and process when you get a quiet moment? It is important to be mindful and observe what triggers you; notice what feelings arise and ask yourself what they are trying to communicate, without judgement of yourself.
Find a good therapist
Not only does Motherhood bring up a lot of new things to navigate but it also brings up all the past demons that may have been stored away for quite sometime. There is something about new life that makes us go inward and reflect on our own childhood and upbringing. This can we both beautiful and painful to revisit. Having a trained professional who is objective and can support you to find your own ways of healing, without any judgement can be a really powerful form of support during this period.