Dear new mom/ parent,
Feeling like you aren’t enough? This letter is to you. First off, you are enough!
Girl, you’re amazing just the way you are.
I know you just sang that- thanks Bruno
It’s time to let those feelings of guilt, shame, fear and disappointment go when it comes to parenting decisions. Who died and put me in charge of this you may ask? Well, it’s my mission to make women and their families feel empowered by their decisions and more shame resilient.
I want you- you amazing powerful mama to stand tall and proud in your decisions even if they aren’t the popular decisions.
Today is the day you decide you are enough for you.
Allow me to tell you about my day and why I decided to write you this letter:
I facilitate a postpartum support group for women once a week in the early postpartum period, and today I had the honour of meeting a group of new moms with babies mostly around 2 weeks old.
One brave woman was bold and honestly laid out her feelings about the decision to end breastfeeding and formula feed her baby, and how it made her feel bad as a mom.
I could see the pain in her face as she talked about her decision and the steps she took to get there. She cautiously looked around the room gauging it for judgements about her decisions as she shared. I could see her own judgement of herself through the shame and pain she wore on her face.
It broke my heart because I truly believe that every one of those women are doing the best they can to cope and adjust to parenthood. They are only a couple of weeks into this parenting gig for crying out loud. You bet I could feel the weight of the pressure they felt. I remember that feeling well, and it’s soul crushing if you feel less than enough.
I glanced around the room to see every other woman in the group was expressing empathy and warmth. I didn’t see one look of judgement and that made my day. Support, empathy and understanding is what we want and need, not just in the early postpartum period, but all the time.
These women all rallied around her and shared their pains and struggles and told her she was doing a great job and to keep going. My heart exploded with happiness by the end of that session.
When we share our story and it’s met with empathy and understanding, shame no longer survives, and the worry of not being enough is demolished.
Beautiful mama, you are amazing! Stand proud in every decision you make for your child. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why you chose what you did or did not do. No one really knows YOUR struggle, and you know what else? You are no better or no worse than any other mother/ parent for the decisions you made and here is why:
One, your attachment with your baby is so much more than one decision you made. There is more than one way to build attachment with your baby. So, take those deepest feelings of shame, fear, disappointment and air them. Bring it to the surface because those feelings of shame lose their power when they are brought out to the light.
Find a safe, empathetic person to share those feelings with and watch them dwindle away.
Two, judgements drag us down both as the judge and the one being judged. When you forgive yourself, not for the decisions you made, but for judging yourself, you will feel better.
Be more compassionate with yourself.
Bring awareness to the judgements you are making about yourself and others. As soon as you witness this judgment, you can now make a conscious decision to think about it differently and act differently. Perception is everything.
Three, we are all in this together, and most of the decisions we make as parents are selfless at the core. When we stand proud in our decisions and share our experiences we empower others to do the same.
By not letting shame and fear run the show, we let in love and that love spreads to others and gives them strength to make tough decisions and feel empowered as well.
This my friend, is how we lift each other up. We can change the way we react to judgements, and as a recovering judge, this is a daily practice! Let’s be honest here, we are hardest on ourselves, but a little self-love goes a long way.
When we are judgmental, stressed and focused on our fears it takes away from the joy we could be experiencing.
So new mom, seasoned mom, dad, teacher, whoever you are YOU ARE ENOUGH! A little compassion and empathy for yourself goes a long way. No one is perfect, so let’s embrace our imperfections instead.
Sending you empathy and love,