Motherhood, Mindfulness and Compassion 👩👦 👶🏻
Deep dive with Little News 3/26/2022
Hello, Little News fam! Hope you are enjoying your weekend. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @littlenews.xyz and subscribe if you haven’t already
We are excited about this deep dive that has been prepared by Catalina Uribe-Kling, a trauma-informed therapist. Years of training and experience in western Psychology, as well as Transpersonal Psychology combined with the honoring of her intuition, allow Catalina to help her clients reach their therapeutic goals. She is an intuitive therapist. She is able to read signals from her mind, spirit, and body and therefore provides her clients with a more integrative approach to their healing journey. For more information about Catalina, please visit her website: www.catalinauribekling.com
Compassion, kindness, and mindfulness are essential tools to living motherhood with wellness and as much ease as is possible. Becoming a new mother is hard. Regardless of the path that brought a woman to the moment in which she meets her baby for the first time, she is going to change physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
Most women arrive at motherhood with many programmed beliefs about what their new life will be like. Society and media’s portrayal of motherhood and life with a baby is often focused only on the lovely aspects. Many parents only share with expecting parents that a baby gave their life purpose or how they immediately experienced intense love and joy. This leaves little room for the many who do not have the same experience. The fact that it is mostly talked about as only a magical experience makes it impossible for new parents to honestly prepare for the new life they are stepping into. Moreover, this rose-colored-glasses take on parenthood, makes it hard for parents to honestly talk about their experiences once the baby is born.
It is because of a lack of mindfulness that there is such stigma around accepting that becoming a parent is difficult. Truly understanding the impact that having a baby will have on our lives and ourselves is impossible. Once the baby arrives, it is hard to process and accept all the changes. Things move fast, it is hard to rest, and time alone seems a thing of the past. In addition to this, talking about the pain and many difficulties that come with becoming a parent is stigmatized. All this leads to women feeling alone and believing that there is something intrinsically wrong with them if they feel anything other than bliss.
It is often difficult for new mothers to experience a general sense of wellbeing and peace. A woman’s body and mind go through incredible changes from the moment she becomes pregnant. Those two pink lines are the beginning of a journey that will force her to constantly adapt to change. Her body's magnificent ability to morph is echoed in her incredible capacity to take on this new role and try to do the best she is able to for her child, self, and loved ones. It is a herculean task to have so much to care for a baby, have so much to constantly catch up on while having a list of to-dos that seems endless while being physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. All of this can create a perfect storm for the onset of anxiety or depression.
With this last in mind, it is of great importance to make sure to have a full toolbox of self-care mechanisms that can help a new mom to sail these new waters. Compassion and mindfulness are important aids to anyone’s wellbeing and, I believe, are essential during motherhood. Mindfulness and Compassion help those who practice it to become grounded and to find peace inside themselves even amidst outside turbulence. These are important tools not only for the mother to have but also for her partner and community.
Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment without judging what is occurring or one’s experience of it. As a new mother, practicing mindfulness looks like being aware of the aches, the joy, the thoughts, and the longings without judging any of them. Allowing them to be, allowing them to take the time they need to course through the body, mind, and heart. Mindfulness is not identifying with any of the thoughts or feelings. By becoming mindful of the new experience it becomes easier to understand that all feelings come and go and that they do not define who one is.
There are so many thoughts, questions, doubts, and fears that invade the mind of a new mother. The practice of mindfulness or heartfulness (as John Kabat-Zinn explains it) allows for her to understand that neither her self nor her motherhood is any of those thoughts. This is important because society is tough on mothers and it is easy for them to interiorize the pressure and judgment that is projected onto them by their community. If mothers are able to detach from the outside and inside noise they are able to better recognize their true wisdom and strength. With this understanding, it is much easier to be able to ask for support and to stand up for what they believe is right for themselves and their child.
Compassion is an intrinsic part of being mindful. Being present with one’s self and one’s experiences is possible only with self-acceptance and self-love. Having self-compassion can truly help make motherhood a positive experience. No one is born knowing how to take care of a baby; it is a hard job to do holistically. Having self-compassion allows for a woman to witness herself in this new experience of motherhood and see herself with love and acceptance. In this way, she is able to recognize all the strengths and resources she already has that can help her and her baby. By practicing compassion she can more easily come to understand that her desires and feelings are important and valid. Moreover, she is able to hear her own truth more clearly. If she is able to see herself with love and care she will understand that respectful support (others taking into account her boundaries and truly listening to her needs) is essential and that asking for it is her right.
Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as taking a few minutes every day to focus only on your breathing. Noticing how your chest rises and falls with each breath and allowing for all thoughts that arise to flow on the river of your mind without entertaining them.
There are many guided meditation exercises that can be found online. I recommend this 20 min exercise that is guided by John Kabat Zinn: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=mindfulness+excercise+john+kabat&&view=detail&mid=03ACB7756FF7561539E103ACB7756FF7561539E1&&FORM=VDRVRV
Self Compassion Exercises:
Practicing self-compassion has a lot to do with becoming an observer of one’s thoughts instead of being one who is identified with them. It is a practice of observing one’s self, beliefs, and thoughts with love and respect. This website offers several good exercises to practice: https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/#exercises
Note: I want to respectfully acknowledge and include mothers who do not identify as she/her even though in this article I have only used those pronouns.