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Finding Freedom in Mamahood

posted in: Motherhood | 0

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.

#mumlife is tough.

In reality it took me two years after the birth of my first child to truly let go of my “previous life”. Along with the jubilation of becoming a mum, came the string of disappointments as I faced the changes in other aspects of my life.

I went back to work part time quite early and struggled with the fact that I was no longer in the know, no longer truly felt part of the team, no longer in the Friday night drinks group (who was I kidding, I was too tired to go anyway)

What really came as a surprise though was the realisation that it wasn’t actually the things I thought I was missing out on that was the problem. It was my mindset.

Making this realisation and changing my mindset from focusing on the the past to focusing on the future gave me an overwhelming sense of freedom.

Moving from kid-less into motherhood or from one child to many can mean big changes in your life. Sometimes it’s difficult to view some of these changes as anything other than negative.

When we let these negative thoughts compound, on top of the pressures of being a mum, they can have a debilitating effect on our mental health and wellbeing.

Did you know that up to 1 in 4 women in Australia will experience disabling symptoms of depression or anxiety in the first year after giving birth. Whilst much of this has to do with the stress of looking after a newborn, subsequent changes in their life is also a contributing factor.

“The birth of a first baby is one of the biggest life transitions we can experience. Major life changes are always accompanied by mixed feelings and most of us feel under-equipped to manage the responsibilities of caring for a newborn baby,” ~ Professor Jane Fisher, Director of the Jean Hailes Research Unit at Monash University.

There are many factors that contribute to depression and anxiety in mums, but mindset and negative thoughts can be a powerful one. More often than not these thoughts can be a result of disappointment or overwhelm, based on the fact that life isn’t how you anticipated it would be.

Looking after a child is harder than you thought, the challenges are greater than you anticipated, other aspects of your life changed more than you thought they would and you can’t get your focus away from the past and into the present. We often feel like we’ve lost a connection to ourselves.

The mind is powerful.

If you realised how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought. ~ Peace Pilgrim

Whilst we can’t necessarily change our circumstances, we can change our perspective. Shifting our thinking from being stuck in the past to living in the present and taking control of our future can be a powerful step.

A big step towards changing my mindset and therefore finding a sense of freedom in my mamahood journey, was to let go of the past. Let go of the attachment I had to the way things used to be. This wasn’t to accept that life would never be the same and never be as good. It was simply to step into the present moment and plan my future based on those circumstances.

At the time my current career path was not conducive to my journey into motherhood, but what letting go of that previous ideal did was to open doors for me in other areas. It allowed the opportunity to follow other passions.

What motherhood became for me, other than being the best thing I ever did, was to give me the ultimate freedom in changing some important aspects of my life. It was the catalyst for opening some amazing doors and changing my life in unbelievable ways.

It changed my perspective. It changed my priorities. It really led me to YogaMamas.

I love this quote from Stephen Covey on “finding your voice” and consequently your freedom,

What are you good at? That’s your mind.
What do you love doing? That’s your heart.
What need can you serve? That’s the body.
And finally, what is life asking of you? What gives your life meaning and purpose? What do you feel like you should be doing? In short, what is your conscience directing you to do? That is your spirit.