Mama, Your Self-Love Matters Too
Being a Mama is the single best thing I’ve experienced. I love being a Mom and have found that it has helped me tune in even more so to my inner knowing.
But, I also know that self-love as a new Mama can be so tough.
There are so many factors that influence the transition into motherhood and with that absolutely beautiful transition, sometimes comes new challenges to embracing yourself in this new role.
Even someone who had some pretty solid self-love practices before motherhood can experience a dip during this transition and for those who were lacking self-love before, this new role can make you feel like your self-love has packed her bags and hit the road, never to be seen again.
But, regardless of where you were before birthing that beautiful little babe, I want you to know that the future of your relationship with yourself can be SO BRIGHT if you choose.
Now before we jump into the how, I want to take some time to talk about the why behind the change that can leave you reeling.
I mean beyond just the obvious hormonal changes and sleep deprivation (both of which can impact a woman immensely) becoming a Mom brings in a whole bunch of newness - so much of it beautiful, but also with it, many potential challenges.
You are suddenly responsible for another human. It’s not just you anymore. You are fully, completely responsible for another human.
And, for any Mamas listening to this, I know that you take that responsibility super seriously. You don’t just want to keep your little one safe, you want to serve them well. You want to support them, nurture them, help them grow into well-rounded, happy, healthy, fulfilled little people, fully equipped to chase their dreams and believe anything is possible.
And I think that is amazing. I also think that’s a tall order. And I know you take a lot of that on yourself.
Raising that little human in such an intentional way, that takes effort, it takes mental capacity and it takes time.
Time and capacity that you may have previously devoted to self-love or self-care.
Those high standards can also give your Inner Bully something new to pull at if you aren’t careful. If your Inner Bully previously picked on other things, she might now have found a new topic, a topic that is more sensitive, more emotionally charged than anything else in your life. And if she goes unmanaged, she will take full advantage of that.
What’s more, beyond even your own inner dialogue, society loves to analyze our every move as Moms.
You let your kid watch TV?
You don’t co-sleep?
You don’t breastfeed? Do you hate your child?
You breastfeed in public?
You give your child gluten and dairy?
You put purple socks on your baby?
Okay I’m mostly kidding about this last one, but you get the picture… society has opinions about literally everything you do now. So you have to be pretty darn secure and aligned with your own inner knowing to feel steady and grounded.
And what’s more, society will also tell you that it’s not about you anymore. It’s about your baby. In every single way.
When we got Nora’s newborn pictures done, I stayed out of all of the photos, because I thought “it’s not about me, it’s about her”. It never even occurred to me that it might be about us.
And back when I was still nursing Nora, she had complications that made it difficult to nurse and I was put on a medication to help produce more milk (hello hungry 10 pounder) and it was full of side effects that seriously impacted me. But, I was told that exclusively nursing was so much more important. I won’t go into too much detail because I know how divisive this topic can be and a debate about breastfeeding is not the point here and I want to make sure we continue to talk about self-love, but this is just one example that is really telling how much pressure we put on mothers to put their little ones first.
And, in an effort to be good mothers, so many of us take that messaging and we internalize it to the point that we think that anything we do for ourselves is bad; it’s selfish, it’s wrong and means we are terrible mothers.
Because we wouldn’t want to model self-care for our children, would we?
This messaging and behaviour also leads to a strong perfectionism mindset when it comes to motherhood and your Inner Bully loves a perfectionism mindset - why? Because it’s impossible. It’s an ever-changing yardstick that you will never live up to, it is your Inner Bully’s dream mindset.
Now, as if all of this was not enough, many of us also experience a plethora of change with our bodies and as women, our bodies seem to be at the forefront of our existence thanks to media.
Stretch marks, extra weight from pregnancy, changes to your skin/hair, breasts, c-section scars etc. you get it.
Now, change is not inherently bad. Change could just be change and all of those body changes could be okay, except for one thing:
We’ve all been taught that we need to bounce back. We need to go back.
Instead of respecting and honouring the changes that occur, we compare our bodies to “pre-pregnancy” and we’re expected to get right back to how we were before pregnancy.
Women’s bodies were made to change, it’s natural.
Comparing ourselves to pre-pregnancy becomes just another standard that we need to meet, some of which are not realistic at all and all of which add extra pressure to an already exhausting list of pressures.
So, what we can do?
Luckily, we don’t have to stay in this state of drowning in expectations and watching our self-love plummet.
We can choose to work on our self-love and self-care and we can decide what messages we want to internalize - we can choose to filter information that we are consuming and in many ways, we can actually also choose what we are consuming.
So here’s the list:
Give yourself some grace. Remove the need to be perfect. which brings me to the next step:
Start being very selective with the information you’re consuming. If you follow accounts on social media that make you feel less than, unfollow. If googling every little thing and reading message boards with everyone and their cousin’s opinion is stressing you out. Stop. You were built for this, you have your own inner knowing that is just as valid. And if you’re really stuck on something, ask a professional or someone you know you can trust, not a stranger not the internet.
Stop comparing yourself to “before” pregnancy in a way that suggests that you were better before. Stop using degrading words, phrases to describe this new body and instead, take some time to get comfy in your new body. Practice self-love in any way you need to: affirmations, gratitude, whatever you need to do. Your body just did something amazing and gave you the most beautiful gift, so stop saying that it’s destroyed! Yes, I’ve heard many women say this and it’s not true. Start seeing the beauty in yourself. It is there, I promise.
Practice self-care in some capacity. I can’t tell you one best way to do this as a new mom. In the early stage self-care might just be asking for some help. Later it might be negotiating time for a bath at some point, or running an errand by yourself. Only you can know how that looks, but make sure you set aside even just a little bit of time for it. You don’t want to reach a point where you’ve set a precedence and habit that you don’t need time for self-care. If you think you’ve already reached that point, speak to your loved ones and express your needs and make an intentional change. Your needs matter too. Period.
Allow your body to naturally find it’s rhythm and it’s best state. If you fuel your body well, and exercise in a way that feels good to you, your body will guide you and naturally find it’s equilibrium. You just need to get out of the way with all of the judgments and restrictions that you’ve been taught to impose on your body.
All of these bring me to my final point:
Get clear on your priorities, your beliefs and what makes you feel centred. Get to know your true inner self, your inner dialogue and address your Inner Bully. Address your Inner Bully, don’t let her run the show. Start to bring awareness to how and when your Inner Bully shows up and intentionally choose to calm her and turn to love instead. If you need help with this, I have lots of resources in my Freebie Library (just click the link in the menu at the top of this page) and I also have an entire course designed around your inner dialogue - 3 Weeks to Your True Inner Self.
Finally, extend the same grace to other mamas out there too. We are all doing our best and we could all use some support.
Did this post speak to you?
I would be so honoured if you showed your support for the Stumbling to Self-love campaign!
I need your help to remind all women that there is no wrong journey to self-love. I want all women to know that stumbling your way to self-love is still progress!
So, please help me spread the message and join the campaign.
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And as always, please feel free to reach out. I love hearing your stories and connecting and I am here to support you 100%.