21 Sep The post pregnant mind – it’s not all Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo
Having a baby for many is not like it is in the Disney films. Birds don’t start to come and tweet around your little one’s car seat on exit from hospital, and fairy godmothers don’t come and start singing about the joys of life, offering wisdom and support.
For some, bringing home a baby can do all sorts of things to the mind. Of course, the mind can change during pregnancy too and we can develop all sorts of difficulties, but for now let’s just focus on the after bit.
Not all people fall in love with their children immediately from first sight. If there was excruciating pain and complications experienced during pregnancy and labour, this can exhaust us so much that the mind has separated from the child. And even then there does not have to have been that. Of course this is not irreparable. It is just a sign that the mother needs rest. This is where a fairy god mother would be handy. And when it is important to find people to act as such!
Being alone with a child can be daunting. Anxiety and insecurities can really run the show, making our experiences very difficult indeed. Other people can seem to be doing it just right and our self critic can have a field day. And the guilt and shame of this can seem overwhelming. Labour can trigger trauma, stuff from our childhood comes back clearer than before.
And all of this whilst being so exhausted, bleeding, baby blues-ing the hell out of it, cracked nipples, washing bottles…tough.
And all of this is normal.
And, it’s not your fault. Our minds can do tricky things in times of stress.
And just one, or many, parts of you. But not all of you.
But you know, there is a part of us that can tolerate these difficulties too. Yes some of the brain is convincing us that this new experience is threat, but there is another part in there that can help us. No-one knows what to do when we have our first child. And even the following children are totally different. Is it possible to enjoy the not knowing? Be curious about what baby and Mum need? There is no such thing as getting it wrong, perhaps next time there might be something we would do differently. Well, our compassionate part can help with this. That part recognises that life is hard and helps us to do something about it. It’s a bit like an internal ally, mentor and friend. Kind of like a fairy godmother, but with no singing or wand. Thank god. Although a wand…
It’s important to find your path with all of this – what do you need as a Mum to get by? Parenting is easier (didn’t say easy!) when we are at our best. And this isn’t a shiny Disney version of us. This is us at our best tired. Our best anxious. Our best depressed. What does that mean? It means when we learn to mind our emotions and feelings, the same way we pile energy into minding our children.
That might be stopping and doing nothing, eating scrambled eggs on toast (or other one pot wonders) for a few nights. It might means staying in bed with baby. Or without. It might mean someone else taking baby for a feed a night. It might mean buying some new PJ’s. It might mean talking to a friend or professional. It might mean turning off the phone. It might be a Doula, a GP or a partner.
Whatever it is, it is special and individual for you.