In this final part of exploring “mum guilt” I am going to build on offering ourselves compassion. So often clients say to me “I don’t know how to show myself kindness.”
When becoming a mum, it can be very easy to lose sight of who you are and quickly place yourself at the bottom of a long list (if you even put yourself on there at all.) This can often mean that your needs are not being met. This can show up as not getting any or little rest, not eating consistently and regularly or feeling unable to get washed and dressed.
You may notice that your behaviour changes, for example, experiencing feelings of anger and snapping at those around you, suddenly feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope by things that previously you did not struggle with or not wanting to leave your house.
You may recognise all or some of these in yourself, you are not alone. I encourage you to seek help and support from your health visitor or GP. Research from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists highlighted that 32% of mums did not realise that a health care professional could help with mental health and 27% felt it was normal to experience changes to mental health when becoming a new mum.
Read this next line as often as needed
Perhaps no one has told you for a long time and if you need to hear this, you ARE important.
A way to recognise your importance and build compassion for yourself is by creating healthy boundaries. As a mum this can be saying “no” to a partner around household jobs or childcare. A healthy boundary allows you to have your own feelings and make your own decisions. It helps you to know what you want without needing to please others.
Saying no though can be incredibly hard and reframing it can help both sides understand and minimize impact. “No, I am not putting the kids to bed tonight” could be reframed as “I’ve put the kids to bed the last few nights so tonight I’d like you to do it please.”
Create small steps to building compassion
Protect time – start with small manageable time frames such going to bed 10 minutes earlier.