When you’re a first-time mother, it’s almost sure that you’ll sometimes feel overwhelmed and incapable. There is so much to learn, so much you don’t yet know, and so many mistakes – and you’re responsible for that little being which you put into this world, even though many times the best thing you can do is to just take a guess what it is that your baby needs now. And sometimes, you might feel like a bad mother.
These feelings of inadequacy can often be intense, and you might have a hard time sharing them with others. But they are completely normal and very common – they are part of the experience of being a new mother.
It is important though that you can manage these feelings – important both for your own well-being, and for the well-being of your baby. Because even though babies do not understand words or language, they do understand emotions and feelings and are very attuned to the emotional state of their mother. And if you feel anxious, depressed or sad, there is no way of hiding these emotions from your baby – and they will affect your baby.
That doesn’t mean that you should “shut down” these emotions or forbid yourself to experience them – it means that you learn to face them and resolve them.
But that’s easier said than done. We don’t really have conscious control over our emotions and feelings. So how to do this?
The first step is awareness. For example, when you experience a situation that triggers feelings of inadequacy, just take mental note of what is happening.
Let’s say your baby is crying, and you try to calm it down but none of your efforts seem to have the desired effect and your baby just keeps crying and shouting – and this makes you feel helpless and unable to cope. Then just note that: “I feel helpless. I feel unable to cope. Because I can’t calm down my baby.” Now this is the first step. The next step is to take a less judging or assuming perspective. Because it’s not really that you can’t calm down your baby. It’s just that you have tried a couple of things and none of them seem to have worked.
Many new mothers are even much harsher with themselves and say things like: “I’m such a bad mother. That’s why my baby is crying!” And if you say things like that to yourself in your mind, then rephrase them like this: “My inner critic says I’m such a bad mother, and my inner critic says that this is why my baby is crying.” Simply labeling this statement as a statement which your inner critic has made will take some of the power this judgement holds over you away. This is important, because the more power you give statements like these, the more they will drain your energy levels.
But you probably already have enough on your mind – so why not just sit back, relax and listen to a soothing audio hypnosis session that programs your subconscious mind to better cope with all the challenges of being a new mother?