We get painted this beautiful picture of what it should or will be like.
Gorgeous babies dressed in cute, clean outfits, who are gurgling and smiling or sleeping peacefully.
A mother who is wearing crisp, clean and fashionable clothes.
Friends and family coming over to visit all the time, going on playdates with other mums.
What. A. Lie.
I mean hey for some people maybe it truly is like this, but I have yet to meet that person. Motherhood is tough, arguably the toughest thing a woman will ever go through in her life.
In my experience seeing many mums the story typically goes something more like this….
Crying or clingy babies who need to be held a lot, spit up all over their clothes with brief moments where it all seems lovely before crashing down into chaos again.
Mothers who wear whatever is clean and comfortable, possibly with some stains or spit up on them and who feel like they have lost a piece of themselves.
Friends and family seem to be rarely around and even if they are, it’s different. Playdates are exhausting and often feel like more work then reward.
It Starts at Birth
Right from the moment that baby is in your arms, everything changes. You were likely used to prioritising your own needs a fair bit but now all of a sudden you’re last, if even a thought at all.
And if this isn’t your first baby, then that feeling may be amplified even more.
If birth was difficult, that can make the transition that much harder.
Then there’s feeding. No matter which way you feed your baby, it requires a lot of your energy.
There’s the colicky babies and the reflux babies, the babies who struggle to eat, the babies who seem to cry for no reason at all and even the most content babies ….it’s all pretty exhausting.
Changes in Your Relationship
If you have a significant other, it’s likely that you have noticed some changes in your relationship since having children.
Perhaps they were once the person you went to to talk or that you always knew was there for you. But now you’re both so tired and busy that when you do get alone time, you just crash or want to zone out for a while.
Unfortunately, everything you’re feeling is still there but now it’s not being expressed. These feelings accumulate and we feel the weight of them. It can be heavy.
Out of the Baby Stage….It Still Doesn’t Stop
It’s not just babies that are hard, they grow….and it’s still hard.
The demands keep coming, they just change.
You keep giving and keep feel more and more burnt out.
Yep, I Relate But What Do I Do?
Firstly, breathe. When was the last time you slowed down and just took a deep breath.
The hard is real. Let yourself have this moment of recognising that. You’re amazing!
It is hard, but hard does not equal bad. Sometimes we can confuse these two things and get stuck in a mental rut where we dwell on how terrible it all is.
What we focus on (think about) we ultimately end up attracting energetically, meaning we feel whatever we focus on. Be conscious of where your mind drifts to.
And no this is not a “think positive” spiel.
We need to see things as they are…but not worse than they are. Let that sit for a moment.
Consider What Factors are Making Motherhood so Draining
Sometimes in order to feel more vibrant again, we need to change things up in terms of the way we are living life or parenting.
This might be uncomfortable.
Some areas you might want to consider are:
- What is your relationship with your partner like? Are the two of you disconnected?
- Do you have friends or family that you can talk to more often?
- Do you crave some new friends who understand you better in this phase of life?
- How are tasks delegated in the home? What share are you doing?
- What does your child do that seems to really trigger you emotionally?
- What expectations do you hold for yourself as a mother? How do you feel if you can’t uphold these? Where did they come from?
If you are feeling burnt out in motherhood, struggling with the transition to motherhood or have other concerns relating to being a mum, please reach out as I would love to support you in this journey. Together we can explore the above plus much more so that you can be the mother and perhaps more importantly the individual that you want to be.
Author: Cindy Porter, BPsych (Hons), MClinPsych, MAPS
As a registered psychologist, Cindy has experience working with mothers, infants, adolescents and adults. She aims to help people on their healing journey through understanding and empowerment, allowing them to overcome whatever is currently holding them back. In doing so she strives to help people flourish and create the life they desire.
To book with Cindy try Online Booking or contact M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129.
Harris. R. (2008). The Happiness Trap. London, England: Robinson Publishing.
Hayes. S. (2005). Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.