Flicking through social media I find myself coming across articles and phrases which talk about a mamahood state of…..’touched out’, ‘postnatal depletion, ‘the condition all mums should know about!!!!’
Exhausted, sleep deprived, low mood, headachy, tired, unmotivated, stressed, anxious, irritable!!!!! Are just a sample of the words which appear to accompany the above phrases!!!!
Some articles read like a warning and seem to draw the image of red flashing lights and sirens to accompany them as you scroll by. Others seem to portray a state of honor in wearing this mamahood badge of exhaustion…..But I ask myself as a professional and a Mama….don’t most mamas say ‘yes yes yes’ to one or all of these experiences at some point during their day/week/month throughout their mammering journey.
So where does that leave us????…..what do these messages say about the mental health and wellbeing of mamas…….have these phrases always been around but are now being unveiled by social media…..have these states of emotional well being changed as societal pressures grow…..
It left me reflecting on whether this information is helpful to mamas…..
Does all this talk in social media normalize the possible emotional difficulties of mammering in a way that spreads awareness of parental mental health and wellbeing, promoting help seeking?!?!
Or….. does it spread a sense of competition and achievement in a battle of who is more exhausted…. promoting a ‘just keep battling on’ approach to mammering.
Or…Does reading about the challenges of mammering and possible experiences of some help us to keep on mammering in a way that leaves us and our babies happy healthy and thriving?!?!
From a professional standpoint, information is knowledge and knowledge is power. From the stand point of a Mama who is yes tired and yes at times emotionally depleted from the unconditional and endless giving that a mama gives….Is it that some times the way in which information is portrayed through certain mediums enhances anxiety and if not done with care and sensitivity…. not actually promote ways in which to build well being and mental health during parenthood.
As a mama, I know all to well the feeling in the moment where you either say to yourself or out aloud ‘I just cant mama any more today’. Its been a night of sleeplessness, followed by a day where your mama resources are being handed out left right and centre, to the buba who is teething and needs extra cuddles and breastfeeds and to the toddler who is feeling the stress and needing lots of one on one time to help move through the normally easy transitions of the day.
This moment of ‘I cant do this anymore’ may be fleeting, it may pass by momentarily, but it is there. It’s an indication that you mama, need to fuel your mama tank up with compassion, care, rest and kindness. How do we take this moment of ‘mama I cant mama no more’ and turn it into ‘MAMA LETTS MAMA SOME MORE’.
Know yourself. Mamahood is a journey, it’s a journey of growth, of trial, of change, and it’s a journey of reflection. Constantly as a Mama we are reflecting on what our mammering choices have been, and how this impacts on the wellbeing of our children.
From one Mama to another, just as its important to engage in reflections about how we mama, its just as important to reflect on mama, how are you.
Learning to reflect and get to know (maybe for the first time, maybe all over again) what builds us up and what knocks us down, is important for our mental health and well being and important for the care and love we provide our babies.
Just as our little beings are wonderously unique, so are we. Each Mama will have a different capacity to cope. A different threshold of ‘mama I cant mama no more’. A different response to stress and pressure. A different way of coping. And a different way of taking care of you.
Seeking support from a friend, or professional can assist you to learn more about yourself and more about how you can learn to identify when moments of ‘Mama I cant Mama no More’ may be approaching.
Mama Being Frank…Know Yourself. Know your signs. Know what your needs are, and Know how you can get these needs met.
Dr Dan Siegel, a well known child psychologist writes a metaphor about the flow of a river….a river of well being. When you are in the river of well being, when things mostly feel calm and your capacity to cope is at its best, your boat flows freely down stream…..when things get tough, when your are feeling depleted, and your capacity to cope is diminished, your boat may become wedged on either side of the river. Dr Siegel explains that your boat may become wedged on one of two sides…..the side of rigidity….or the other side……the side of…… chaos…
For me, when I am feeling depleted, when my capacity to cope with the every day demands of mamahood is wavering…my boat moves to the side of rigidity. This is my signal. When I notice myself reacting to things that feel out of my control, things that normally would slide on bye …whether it’s the never ending picking up of random objects that present themselves on the floor, the on your toes behaviour of my active explorative little toddler, or the common dilema of buba not sleeping when you were certain beyond certain that buba needed a sleep…..When these things throw me…..I know its time to step back and reach into my bag of mamahood survival tools. Tools that will help move me back into the river of well-being.
As Mamas I truly feel we often bounce from side to side and back into the river…this is normal. Mamahood is a demanding journey, physically and emotionally. That’s why its so very important to know your signs, what tells you that its time to rest, time to seek help, time to sit and have a cuppa, time to let that load of washing sit in the washer. And its important to know, what helps you Mama……to feel ok.
Each Mamas journey is alike yet unique in so many ways. Knowing yourself, being mindful of your mental health and well being is the thing that’s going to take you from ‘mama I cant mama no more’ too……’Mama lett’s Mama Some More’.
Article originally published via Wonderful Mama