I remember once telling my (ex) husband the story of when I learnt to drive. It wasn’t pretty! But when I got the part of how I used to check my blind spot with my eyes closed, I thought he was going to drop his drink and roll off the sofa he laughed so much. Hmmmm…
I have to say, I think that this is probably a very a good analogy for motherhood and emotion. We are so busy driving the car (read ‘lives’) that to stop and actually face the reality of our own emotional health is too scary and we would rather keep our eyes firmly closed!
The thing about having kids is you can’t just give them back or put them in the cupboard for a few hours! They are kind of an all or nothing scenario. And, like anything that is all consuming, just trying to have them or raising them, brings up our ‘stuff’.
So, how do you know if the emotion you are experiencing is normal and healthy and will pass naturally? Or whether it is becoming a problem and you really should be asking for help?
Experiencing fertility issues or a miscarriage. Having a traumatic birth where you feel out of control and let down by the system. Dealing with sleep or behavioural issues in your child. All of these things can exponentially increase stress and bring up old dormant issues you thought were dead and buried.
A lovely client came to see me recently, let’s call her Carol. She was feeling out of control and was having huge difficulty making decisions. She was finding it increasingly hard to keep her equilibrium when trying to discipline her three children and was feeling paralysed by guilt. After a few sessions we uncovered the deeper issues at play.
Carol’s parents had divorced when she was very young and she had spent most of her childhood being shipped between her mom, her dad and her grandparents. As a result of this she spent much of the time feeling bewildered and out of control. Everyone around her made all the decisions concerning her life and there was no consistency at all.
These unresolved feelings had been triggered by motherhood and were now coming back to haunt her.
In clearing this baggage and integrating the gift of these emotions (yes, there are always gifts!), she found her own parenting became far more effective. “I would never have guessed my own childhood would have such a profound effect on my ability to parent my children.” said Carol afterwards.
This scenario is typical. I can’t tell you how consistently the issues or symptoms a client is facing have little or nothing to do with the causative factors. In fact, most of the time we have no idea what is driving a particular emotional issue to the surface. It’s only when we start clearing away some layers that we find what is really going on.
So here are my top tips for an easier, more joyful journey through motherhood:
Get help sooner rather than later, don’t wait for a crisis to get good emotional support.
Choose the right person. You might feel comfortable with psychologist or