I am writing to you to send a kind reminder that you are heard, seen, and thought of. The journey of motherhood may bring a wide range of emotions. Some days there are moments of happiness, sadness, feeling disconnected, and days of feeling e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. How do you cope through these types of days? What do you need on these days? Your needs will change frequently- and that is okay. However, it is important to not normalize sacrificing our well-beings for the sake of motherhood. Many may ask, "how do I even do this?" "Is this even possible?". On some days it may or may not be. However, your intention to be mindful of your mental health and check in with yourself is possible. YOU got this.
Motherhood brings upon various transitions that are not always discussed. For example, some people experience an identity shift while others feel disconnected from their own bodies. In any type of transformation that you experience, be mindful of how this is impacting you. What are some positive aspects of this transition? Negative? What are you still trying to understand?
In any given transition a factor that does not quite change are the pressure, weight, and responsibility to shape a WHOLE human life. Do people really understand what this means? The weight of this role? Mothers are constantly reminded by society, culture, religion, family, friends, social media, and the list continues what they should and should not be. However, when we separate ourselves from everything for just 1.4 seconds, who do you want to be? What elements make YOU who you are in and out of your role as a mother?
I write this letter to bring forth a conversation that is needed. Motherhood does not entail being forgotten or neglecting ourselves. The normalization of mothers "sacrificing" themselves as "good" mothers is harmful to their mental health and overall well-being. Below I list a few tips to begin this journey of prioritizing your check ins and really diving into some of the questions I posit above.
Here we go.
1. Find a place in your home (yes, the bathroom counts) where you can step away for 2 mins and check in with yourself. What do you need at this moment? Have you eaten? Do you need to go for a walk? What won't help you? Who can you text to offer you support?
2. You can love your children and dislike parts of mothering. Yes, I said it. This is a realization that many find horrifying and haunting. But it speaks deep truth. I make it a goal to support all my friends that are mothers by letting them know that I will not ever judge their feelings, statements, or experiences. You deserve a safe space where you can be honest about your feelings and not be judged. Find that safe space. Do this for YOU.
3. Maternal guilt is real. It hovers like a cloud on a rainy day. Taking time away from mothering and prioritizing yourself is not selfish but needed. Make it a goal to plan at least one thing a week for yourself. Even if it's binge watching TLC shows, reading, watching re-runs of your favorite show, or sitting in your car and blasting your favorite music.
4. Your body is your home. It has brought you this far but for it to move with you, you need to replenish it with love. The journey of motherhood brings many different kinds of changes. Some are easy and some are very difficult. However, most are unexpected. Take a moment to really be proud of yourself and your body. Beyond birthing another human, it has followed you throughout all of your journeys and stayed with you. Reflect on ways you can nourish your relationship with your body.
5.. On the days that you feel disconnected to your child, feel overwhelmed, wish you can just press pause on this role, and cry out of frustration: feel what you need to. You are human. Humans feel a wide range of emotions and as mothers, you have the right to as well.
After reading this letter, I hope you find at least one thing that you connect with. You- all of you- matters. I hope this is one fact that never becomes an opinion.
Your friend from the REPLI family,