By Amanda McKay
Do you have days where you feel like you’re drowning in overwhelm and you flip your lid when it’s not called for? Do you ever feel guilty or you’re just not sure how to deal with your child’s emotions or even your own?
You are not alone. In fact, this ‘wonderful’ side of motherhood is not something we learn about in prenatal class.
Motherhood is a pathway to your own growth. It presents an opportunity to learn to walk the world with rich emotional health so that our children can walk the world in the same way. What mother doesn’t want this?
Many of us managed to minimise and avoid painful emotions for so long in our lives. We kept busy, stuffed it down, pretended it wasn’t there, or claimed it didn’t affect us. Until we became mothers. Then triggered by our kids, we can experience emotional overwhelm. That’s the beauty of children! They shine a light on the unhealed parts of us. The wounds we have hidden and not healed.
Thankfully, there are some solid steps we can take to elevate our own emotional health and hand down healthy patterns of emotional resilience and self-worth.
Before I had my babies, I was busy, working and running a charity. I enjoyed personal growth through yoga, nutrition, and holistic living. But when I became a mum, the journey of real growth began. Cracks started to show up in my behavioural responses. My angry and frustrated reactions did not align with my values. I was stressed and rushing around being everything to everyone else and I was living in survival mode. Parental burnout was just around the corner.
I could see I was passing on unhealthy patterns to my children. I wasn’t holding space for my children’s emotions because I didn’t know how. I would shut them down or withdraw and even sometimes blame and shame them without intending to. I desired to be calm, and emotionally present, and I wanted to give consistent grounded responses so my children didn’t have to walk on eggshells around me or feel confused about what they would get at each and every turn.
That’s when I discovered the mind-body connection and became a certified coach. I learned through this work that my harsh inner critic, my busyness, my lack of boundaries and inability to know my own needs, and my subconscious behaviours of ignoring and numbing my real feelings were ways I was suppressing stored emotions.
We all carry these unhealed hurts and emotional patterns with us and they affect us in different ways. But when you become a mum, they show up loud and clear.
The mind-body method gave me the tools I needed to upgrade my responses and show up calm and emotionally grounded with consistency.
Now, my entire work is supporting mothers. I understand the deep emotional impact that motherhood can have and genuinely care about helping other women on their journeys. I also care about the next generation.
A big part of what I do is to provide a safe and non-judgemental space for mothers to share their fears, insecurities and challenges. In this space, mothers cultivate emotional well-being, heal their wounds, find their own unique approaches to motherhood, and create a sense of fulfilment and joy in their lives and the lives of their children.
With my gentle and empowering guidance, they get practical tools on how to develop emotional health using the 6 steps below.
The first step is becoming familiar with your own nervous system. When we know how it has responded to our past, what sets it off and what we do in each stress response, we can use tools to regulate our emotions. Armed with this knowledge, we can also apply the same principles to our child’s systematic responses, which can completely transform how we connect to our child.
When a mother is in a dysregulated state, it means that her ability to effectively regulate and process her emotions is compromised. She may experience intense emotions such as anger, anxiety, or sadness.
The impact of a dysregulated state in a mother can significantly affect her children.