Mimansa Singh Tanwar, Clinical Psychologist and Coordinator Clinical Psychology at the Department of Mental health and Behavioural Sciences in Fortis Healthcare shares her views on Motherhood.
We all grow up hearing a common saying “mother is a representative of God”. She has the strength to bear the pain, be patient and tolerant to the child’s and her family’s needs. In referring to her as a “Super Mother” or “Super Woman”, we paint a picture of her perfection leaving little space for her imperfections. This perfect image is what we wish and start identifying with as mothers.
Motherhood is a milestone in a woman’s life that brings in a lot of transitions.
It surely is difficult, demanding and evokes deepest of insecurities and anxieties. Every moment in the life of mother is full of uncertainties and that, is a continuous struggle. Whether it’s feeding, weaning off, baby throwing a tantrum, learning to walk, difficulty sleeping, incessant crying leading to gasping for breath or refusing to eat, all these small experiences bring in mixed emotions of anxiety, anger, irritability, frustration, exhaustion and sometimes sadness. These create self doubts and we continue to push ourselves harshly towards being a “good or perfect mother”. Be a home maker or a working mother, the experience is different yet similar for every woman.
Guilt and anxiety are two prominent emotions that we find ourselves constantly in.
“How can I leave my baby for sometime and go out”,
“I hope I am not making a mistake”,
“will my negative feelings scar her for life”,
“he is falling ill a bit frequently, I think there is something wrong in what I am feeding him”,
“how can I leave her/him in day care and join work”,
“I can’t take much help from others, it would be unfair”.
But we hardly find anyone around us who can validate that this is all normal.
Validation: Validating your emotions is necessary. Experiencing feelings of guilt, irritability and anxiety are normal as a mother. Validation gives a sense of reassurance to the deepest of insecurities that one experiences in relation to one’s self and the baby. It makes you feel real and helps you accept that there is no such thing as perfect mother. Hence, it is important to tell yourself “it’s ok, it happens”.
Support: No matter how much you want to do for your baby, it impossible to maintain your sanity by doing so if you don’t reach out for support. Taking help from close family, friends or caretakers is important and much needed. It gives you a break from the constant cycle of catering to your babies needs.
Soothe: Even though physical exercise is important, we may sometimes find it difficult to maintain the regularity while managing the day and night cycles. Dealing with your baby can be very exhausting and it is important that you engage in activities that help you soothe yourself. Soothing activities can be in relation to your 5 senses, sound, sight, touch, smell and taste depending what would you like and enjoy. Some of the basic ways could be using scented candles, giving yourself 5-10 minutes massage with a cream, listening to music of your interest, spending sometime gazing at nature or savoring your taste buds. These small little soothing breaks help you rejuvenate your energy as mind and body are related.
As mothers we often forget to nurture our own needs as our focus goes entirely on nurturing our baby and family. Hence, maintaining your own well being and “mothering your ownself” is important. It helps you live a healthy and fulfilling life.
The author is Mimansa Singh Tanwar, Clinical Psychologist and Coordinator Clinical Psychology at the Department of Mental health and Behavioural Sciences in Fortis Healthcare. Book your appointment with Mimansa Singh Tanwar here.
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