I work with many new mothers in my counselling practice who are juggling lots of balls in the air. Some of those balls are: looking after baby, getting your career back on track, hitting the gym to regain that pre-baby body, and trying to stay connected with your partner, family and friends. While you are enjoying the balancing act at the moment, there may come a time when you start dropping some of the balls. Some of the balls are rubber – they will bounce back. Some of the balls are glass – they will break if dropped and the results can be disastrous. Getting clear on your glass balls, the areas of your life that are most important and need your care and attention, is often an area that I work on with my clients.
When you are trying to do everything, it comes at a physical, emotional and mental cost. Running on adrenalin and little sleep will eventually mean you are more stressed, irritable or sensitive than usual. Your normal resilience and flexibility will be stretched and often your relationship with your partner, your baby or yourself will start to show the cracks. In some new mums this can manifest as a perfectionism and feeling guilty that the house, or your own appearance isn’t perfect and you may start to become very critical of yourself. It can also show up as sleep or attachment issues with your baby. Babies absorb the emotions of their mothers so if you are in hyperdrive so are they!
When you have been very successful in your career and life, and full of get up and go, it’s only natural to want to continue in that way even after baby arrives. I find many women don’t want their lives to change once they are mothers, and whilst it is important to retain who you are, it’s also important to make room and space for this new expansion of your identity. Becoming a mother is a big deal, it is life changing, and you and your life will be different, whether we like it or not.
If you get a lot of value from achieving goals, you might find that having a baby makes it more challenging simply because you don’t have the time and energy you had pre-baby. It’s not that you have to drop all your goals, but it is recognising that there are limits to what can be achieved in a day with your health and sanity intact! At the end of the day while it’s nice to have a tidy, beautiful home, it is not more important than your sleep, your baby’s health or your relationship with your partner.
Sometimes it’s just about giving yourself permission to put the balls down for a while and look at the ones that are really important. Talking with a professional counsellor can help you re-establish yourself and your identity now that you are a mother. It’s OK not to be a superwoman, in fact it’s preferable to just be yourself rather than trying to be all things to all people. Learning to prioritise what really matters and re-organise your life accordingly takes time, attention and support. Contact me now to book a confidential appointment and to free yourself from having to be a superwoman. Let’s talk before it breaks.