Where Do the Energies of a New Mother Typically Go?
Where Do the Energies of a New Mother Typically Go?
Here are some answers to those questions like 'Why are you tired, you're just sitting at home?!' and 'Am I even a good mom?!' Also, some thoughts on how to deal with it all (whether you're a working young mom or working remotely as a 'young mom' at home - it's practically the same thing).
When a 'young mom' has outbursts of aggression, it's still a 'good thing' because it means she has a little bit of energy left to react.
Mom's irritation is a sign that there's no longer any energy left for an adequate response, flexibility, humor, changing positions, diplomacy, and tolerance. But there's still some energy left for 'self-defense.'
The bad news is that it's still not the most harmonious reaction, causing the mom to feel guilty and further exhausting her. The next inevitable state is depression, apathy, tears. Irritation is a symptom and a reason to do something before the energy is completely drained.
Modern motherhood is filled with myths about what is 'perfect' and 'right.' All these myths feed the biggest fear - to be or seem like a bad mom and harm the child.
There are no strict rules and norms. There's what's suitable and acceptable for a particular woman, a particular family, harmonious for a particular child, living in particular circumstances.
Where our energy goes and what we can do about it:
Constantly. For the life and safety of those who cannot take care of themselves (if anxiety is involved, the energy consumption increases exponentially).
What to do:
- Remember that the child has a strong instinct for self-preservation. And it will signal when something is threatening him.
- Imagine that he has the power of his own destiny, his potential.
- Try to make the apartment space safe enough to reduce control and anxiety.
- Provide the child with "safe freedom" as much as possible.
"Our fear for the child's life separates him from life itself." "The right to risk, to be exposed to danger - is one of the inalienable rights of the child," Janusz Korczak insisted. "This does not mean being reckless, it means trying to protect the child without hiding him from life itself."
From the point of view of an anxious parent, the world is full of dangers, but by prohibiting a child from experimenting, taking risks, and trying out the surrounding world, there is a risk of making him apathetic and indifferent to everything - "dampening life itself".
- Allow yourself to responsibly take care of yourself - remember your instinct for self-preservation.
- Give yourself the opportunity to "share responsibility" - invite a nanny, grandmother, or friends whom you can trust with the child for some time. And of course, learn to trust your husband, who can definitely handle the task.
Multitasking and constant concentration.
Our brain and nervous system can only handle a certain, not very large, amount of tasks and impulses.
What to do:
- Don't keep everything planned in your head. Write a list.
- Allow yourself to deviate from your plans.
- Cross out non-essential tasks from your list (maybe the most important item) and not all tasks need to be done by you.
- Give yourself 5-10 minute breaks without thoughts - "so, what else do I need to do", without phone or social media. Write a list in advance of things that bring pleasure and are a resource (you can search for them in these "channels": taste, smell, things to look at, movement, communication or silence, sound, prayer-meditation, reading, learning, touches - the feeling of "pleasantness" for the skin-body, etc.).
- Ask for help from family and friends. For many of them, it can be pleasant and important. Also, it is desirable to remember that husbands-men usually find it easier to help us when we ask them for something specific than when they have to guess and feel guilty about something not done.
- Try to remove guilt and anger towards yourself if something doesn't work out or doesn't go as planned.
- Ask yourself - what is the worst thing that will happen if I don't do this? Usually, the worst thing is the feeling of one's own "badness", subjective, of course.
Maintaining lactation takes up to 30% of the body's energy. Remember that the feeling of tiredness during breastfeeding is natural and indicates that the body is not able to recover its resources.
- Vitamins, if you believe in them.
- Food, which still needs to be taken regularly several times a day.
- Water/Oxygen/Sleep (as much as possible).
- It is possible and necessary to seek support from lactation consultants.
Yep, hormone levels often change and it affects your emotions and physical state. It's important to be aware of this, not to blame everything on "hormones", but to find your own "stabilizing method", preferably non-medical.
Important methods include: Breathing exercises Yoga Physical practices Balance restoration practices.
Lack of sleep and co-sleeping with your child
There are myths about co-sleeping with your child. Some parents and children don't need it. Some moms need it at a specific time in their life to conserve energy for night wake-ups with the child. There are children who had difficulties during childbirth and have high cortisol levels, and they feel calm and stabilized by sensing their mother's scent and warmth. Co-sleeping is therapy for their nervous system.
Repeating the same plot. We have the power to make the tiniest changes in what's possible.
What to do: -For example, play background music or an audiobook. -Allow yourself to change the plan. -Hang up garlands in your home. -Order pizza. -Walk on a different street in different places. -Allow yourself a swimming pool, a music school workshop (takes 1 hour), a bath, or a movie date with your husband - the little ones will only benefit from it. -Sometimes I suggest a game for moms who can't leave the house (if there's no way to make external changes, we can make internal, even minimal ones): imagine that today you're a cat mom and you do everything from that role, and today you're a queen mom (just make sure to take off all the roles from yourself).
As a mom: babies jumping, crawling, pinching, petting, constant sounds - babies crying/screaming/laughing/stomping... All senses - perception channels - are overloaded.
It's necessary to give yourself "sensory rest" - time for a break, "untouchability", silence. This is a necessity for the nervous system.
It's important to explain to your husband that you really need tenderness and physical contact, but your body may experience "panic" and a state of numbness or hypersensitivity due to overload.
Inability to control or finish something
Getting pleasure from completing a process and having the opportunity to "put a period". When we're satisfied with the result, dopamine hormone helps us regain strength. We feel an energy boost. "New moms" often depend on their children's schedule and state. They may start an action or plan something while the child is sleeping... and he's not sleeping at all...
What to do:
- Break big tasks into many small ones. Mark the success, completion of each one, even with words like "Way to go! Good job!", or checkmarks and flower marks, or sips of juice.
- Thank your child for sleeping peacefully, helping, participating, playing. Children react very sensitively to this, check it out.
- Get used to enjoying the process.
- Include what brings pleasure in the list of important tasks - start with that.
- It's important to learn not to feel guilty for unfinished actions.
Not having personal space
It's important for everyone to have something they can call their own. When you have something small like your own spoon, plate, chair, blanket, or book, or even just five minutes to yourself in the shower, it's easier to set boundaries and feel like you have a sense of ownership.
It's not necessary and can even be harmful for a child to have their mom "momming" them 24/7. It's important for the child to see and feel that their mom has other things going on besides just them.
The possible lack of "personal money"
Sometimes new moms on maternity leave don't feel like they can claim a share of the family budget and start scrimping on themselves. This is something that should be discussed with your partner before getting pregnant. There should be a shared family budget and money coming in for shared goals.
How you approach budgeting is a reflection of how you view yourself. It's important to allow yourself to use shared resources without feeling guilty or ashamed. Working moms may have the mental switch but less time for physical rest. Moms who work from home may have more energy to devote to creating a "personal-work" space.
All of this, combined with self-doubt, fear of making mistakes, perfectionism, and difficulty communicating your needs and asking for help, can lead to burnout.
All of these things are opportunities for growth. The most important thing is that they can interfere with feeling connected to your specific child, something even the most knowledgeable experts in the most advanced books cannot write about. And all of this affects the relationship with the child's father, who is first and foremost a husband and may want to help but not understand what's going on with his wife or what kind of help she needs, and who may also be experiencing burnout.
The arrival of a baby can exacerbate hidden conflicts, both internal and external. It's important to gradually address these internal conflicts. The worst thing you can do is demand that your loved ones feel sorry for you, support you, or give you something. It's more harmonious to understand that you can do things yourself and know what to ask for
Sometimes when we're exhausted and burnt out, we might start feeling guilty or like we're victims. But it's important to remember that we chose to bring our child into the world, and our job now is to learn how to balance and take care of ourselves. Knowing our personal boundaries and self-care skills are important things we can pass on to our child from the earliest months of their life.
Each of us is the BEST MOM for our own child - the one they need and depend on.
What gives us strength:
- The feeling of purpose in this time spent with our little one.
- The joy of seeing our child grow and develop every day.
- Behind every tired moment is a huge contribution to life and countless little and big achievements.
And yes, we are guides for our children in life. And the smile and tenderness of our little one can make up for any effort we put in.