By Belinda Haan
The number one thing you need to know is that you are essential to your family. You matter – your physical and emotional wellbeing cannot be postponed or deprioritised. Taking care of yourself – mind, body and spirit, is the best thing you can do for your family. Your vitality and happiness will flow onto everyone in your life.
I want you to honour this life-changing transition with love, patience and compassion. Your identity shifts overnight, you experience significant physiological changes, and you are learning on-the-job for the most critical role of your life.
Practise patience and compassion for yourself as you navigate the changes to your identity and lifestyle.
You cannot be perfect, because the ideal mother does not exist. Trying to achieve some unrealistic, idealised fantasy will take you further from where you want to be. No mother has it all together, all of the time. You will make mistakes and not be your ‘ideal self’ because we are human and we are learning on the job. Our kids only need us to be good enough – to them, that is perfect.
You will experience joy and despair within moments of each other. You can feel both love and anger at once. You will both want to be with your child and crave space for yourself. It can be confusing to hold two opposing feelings at once, but there is plenty of practice in motherhood. It is normal, there is nothing wrong with you; you are doing well.
One of the most crucial motherhood skills for you to develop is working productively with your mind and emotions.
Guilt and shame are partners on the motherhood journey because you have to make impossible choices daily – you cannot do and give everything. When you can learn how to work with all emotions and moods, you can navigate motherhood with greater ease and alignment.