Intense emotions and extraordinary thoughts are typical characteristics of pregnancy and motherhood. It’s a combination of hormonal imbalances and daily physiological stresses such as lack of sleep or poor nutrition that lead to these extremes, and coming to terms with them is not an easy journey.
Unfortunately, many new mothers are not prepared for the internal turmoil that awaits them during pregnancy and thereafter, and this leads them to negative experiences before giving birth, and depression after giving birth. Naturally, there are also a whole slew of medical reasons for these extreme emotions, but that’s not what I am talking about here.
Assuming there are no underlying medical conditions, I strongly believe that a healthy pregnant mother or postpartum mother can reach a healthy and necessary equilibrium by questioning and then fine-tuning their perspective.
The tricky thing about perspective is first acknowledging the lenses through which you see your world. Naturally, over the years we are influenced by the people and experiences surrounding us. Whether it was the media, the schools we attended, or our culturally distinct upbringings, we each have unique characteristics and beliefs that shape our new role as mothers.
But have we ever really questioned or deeply analyzed these characteristics and beliefs? Do we ignore our own body’s desperate cry for rest, and agree to have sexual relations with our spouse just because “that’s what you should do to keep him happy”? Do we just blindly accept that if our parents used corporal punishment, then so should we? Do we give in to cultural pressures of emotionally neglecting our child just to “toughen them up”? Do we resort to blind faith when our child needs medical attention? What do we do?
Sometimes, it’s clearly easier to just ignore these questions even if they do arise, but that’s when things might get murky in our minds, when we are also facing hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or motherhood.
Instead, if we are better acquainted with and accepting of ourselves, we will have an easier time overcoming the hurdles that come with motherhood. These hurdles can include the thin ice that we walk on with our significant other when we are simply not in the mood to have sex, or the anger that we feel when we are on a streak of sleepless nights, or the frustration we feel when our young preschooler is still having potty accidents.
I know this is all easier said than done, and that a thorough journey of self discovery is something that takes some people an entire lifetime. But all you need to do is at a minimum to acknowledge where you are coming from. Just put the questions out there for yourself. You don’t have to share them with anyone. You don’t need to even vocalize them. Just ask yourself some basic questions when you are looking at yourself in the mirror. And don’t expect any answers. Sometimes, it’s just the act of asking that magically leads us to the answers when we least expect it. Well, guess what, those answers will determine our perspective and give us the chance to adjust it as we see fit.