We feel so honoured to have Calm Mutha introduce our Kindred Meets programme across multiple locations. Maria is so knowledgeable, supportive, calming and positive, she empowers mothers to feel confident and secure.
Maria has kindly written a guest blog that sums up her core message that she delivers to our wonderful Kindred Meets Mama's.
8 WAYS BEING MORE FEMININE CAN HELP YOU HAVE AN EASIER RIDE INTO MOTHERHOOD
by Maria Banobre
Femininity, what has that got to do with the journey to becoming a mother?
Let me tell you. Absolutely everything.
As humans we have both masculine and feminine energy cursing through our bodies, and being feminine, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with wearing dresses, liking pink or being weak.
It’s about how we operate and express ourselves in our everyday lives.
Living in a patriarchy; we almost always operate more in our masculine energy than our feminine. On a daily basis, we strive to succeed, and we measure success by material gain. We put pressure on ourselves to work harder, live faster, be independent and competitive, and we look outside of ourselves for approval, which almost always leads to self-judgment and feelings of unworthiness.
These are all traits associated with the masculine, and living this way is our norm.
It is this, which is making many women’s journeys into motherhood, difficult to navigate.
In order to fully understand this theory it’s important to really look at the transformation a woman goes through when she goes from maiden to mother.
There’s a beautiful saying, “When a child is born, so is a mother”.
This powerful statement is one that, currently, our modern day, patriarchal society doesn’t fully accept, or at least doesn’t fully make allowances for.
WHEN A WOMAN GOES THROUGH THE RITE OF PASSAGE THAT IS, BECOMING A MOTHER, SHE GOES THROUGH A HUGE TRANSFORMATIONAL SHIFT THAT ALTERS HER MIND, BODY AND SOUL.
It’s not as simple as birthing a baby and then having to deal with looking after them on zero sleep, as many parenting books and blogs would like to have you believe. It’s much more profound than that.
During the first few months of motherhood, a woman’s hormones are re-adjusting and re-balancing after making the switch back over from placenta to body, her brain is re-wiring in order to make way for more intuitive decision making, her body is bleeding, healing and realigning into it’s new shape, and her identity and place as a woman in the world comes into question.
It’s no surprise that almost all mother’s struggle in one way or another with their new role in life, and there’s no shame in saying it.
Motherhood is hard.
But motherhood is made even harder because as women, we have had to learn how be more like men in order to succeed in society and be seen as equals.
IT’S DURING THIS PROCESS, THAT WE’VE LOST THE SUBTLE ART OF BEING FEMININE.
Not only that, we’ve learnt to see being feminine as weak and inferior. In order for women to be seen as strong and valuable, they must stand more in their masculine energy. It’s the same for men. They too must turn away from their feminine traits in order to be taken more seriously in society. Hence why many men struggle to express their emotions and male suicide rates are through the roof.
So, as you can see, being feminine is a way of being in the world, one that we’re not as familiar with anymore, and one we’re definitely not used to seeing in a positive light.
However, it’s a way of being that could change a woman’s experience of becoming a mother, shifting it from one of difficulty and loneliness to one where she feels nurtured and supported.
As a Conscious Birth Coach, Postnatal Doula and Women’s Empowerment Coach I support women to navigate their path into motherhood in many different ways, but by far, the most effective way is by helping them identify how they can bring more of the feminine into their lives.
Here are my 8 most powerful techniques to help you stand in your feminine power and allow yourself an easier transition into motherhood.
1. SLOW DOWN.
Stepping into our feminine allows us to go from putting pressure on ourselves to be on the go all the time, to allowing ourselves to slow down and just be in stillness with our newborn. If we are able to let go of having to do the things we did before having a baby, like the odd jobs around the house, the running of errands, and even replying to texts and emails from eager visitors, then we’d be able to just soften into just being with our baby, without pressure, and the constant feeling that we’re letting ourselves and others down if we don’t manage to get anything done. First and foremost, your number one job as a mother is to feed and look after your baby. Do that, and you’re the biggest achiever there is.
If the bank balance allows, invest in a postnatal doula to help you nurture and look after yourself during your postpartum period. Doulas can help prepare nourishing meals, give massages, allow you time to shower and sleep whilst looking after your little one. If you can’t afford external help then make a plan during pregnancy of how friends and family can help and support you around the home so you have the ability to slow down and nurture yourself and your baby.
2. ASK FOR HELP.
We’ve been brought up to be strong, independent women, who don’t need to ask anyone for anything. We’ve made our way in the world, and we’ve done it off our own backs. We’ve got this, right? Well, maybe not, not when it comes to being a mum. We can’t do everything and be everything to everyone when we’re navigating the road to motherhood. This is where society is sending us mixed messages. To be the best mum, we’ve got to give our child round the clock attention and cater to their every need, yet we’ve also got to be seen as having all the other plates of life spinning at the same time. It’s impossible to keep that going without burning out and doing ourselves some serious emotional damage. Asking for help can be seen as a weakness, whereas in reality, it’s a powerful tool. To be able to be secure enough in yourself to understand when you need help and be brave enough to ask for it is the epitome of strength.
Reach out to friends, family and your partner if you feel like you can’t cope with your everyday. Get them to make dinner, put a wash on, or look after older children. Communicate with your partner about emotional issues and concerns about parenthood. Being a mother does not mean you have to shoulder all responsibility on your own, and it doesn’t make you weak when you don’t.
3. BE COMPASSIONATE.
As well as looking after and nurturing our children, motherhood is a lesson in softening, being gentle and kind to ourselves. It’s about operating from our hearts and not our heads. In daily life, we’re forced to be rational, to think logically in order to get work done and problem solve. Our minds are often racing and our toxic self-talk is rampant. You only need to look at mental health statistics over the last 10 years to know that, being in our heads is not good for the soul. Mother’s need to extend the love and compassion they have for their children out to themselves and to stop the constant “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not doing enough” and “I feel guilty for…” because quite frankly, they are all incredible, strong, more than good enough women.
Practice noticing the thoughts that pass through your mind on a daily basis. Notice what kinds of words you use when you talk to yourself. Are they kind, or are they critical? Make time for 10 – 20 minutes of mindful meditation to help you be more mindful with your thoughts.
4. TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT.
As a society, we’ve become accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for advice, information and approval that we’re doing things right. We look to our peers, books, the internet and public figures of how we should do things. This has meant that we’ve lost our way when it comes to trusting our own gut. There’s no handbook to becoming a mother, well, no good one anyway. All books and articles about how you should look after your baby don’t ever cater for the most important thing; that all babies are different. Babies can’t fit into a stereotype or category so books on when they should sleep, and how often they should feed are pointless. Your intuition however, is the most powerful tool you possess when it comes to caring for and bringing up your baby. There’s a connection that you both have, that no one else can surpass and only you know what’s best for your baby. Trusting your inner guidance and intuition comes with practice and with time but the more you turn within for your answers, the easier it will become.
Next time you have a burning question about your baby’s wellbeing, take a moment to quiet your mind, take a few deep breaths, take your focus to your heart centre and bring your question into your heart. Continue to breathe deeply and steadily and just wait for an answer. With practice, you’ll be able pick up the subtle, soft voice of your intuition speaking back to you.
5. CONNECT WITH NATURE.
As women, we have a deep connection to mother nature. Like her, we flow to a rhythm. Think of our monthly cycles for example. If we observe her closely she can teach a lot about how to make our journey to motherhood a smooth one. There’s a softness about nature that reminds us to be soft and gentle. The soft touch of a breeze on the leaves of a tree for example. The flow of water in a river reminds us to just surrender and go with the flow in our day to day and relinquish schedules and routines. The beauty of nature reminds us to see the beauty in our every day lives, helping our thoughts and feelings to remain positive and loving.
Spend some time everyday in nature, whether it going for a walk with your baby, sitting in a park or even just going to a window and watching the flow of nature from the warmth of your home.
6. CONNECT TO YOUR BODY.
Giving birth is such a powerful and transformative process, that whether it’s been a good, or more difficult experience, we can often find that we feel disconnected from our bodies for some time. Some women I work with feel dissociated from their bodies for many years postpartum, especially if they have suffered some sort of birth trauma during childbirth. Coming back into our bodies is a really powerful healing process post birth.
In the first 6 weeks of healing postpartum, exercise is not recommended but you can connect to your body by using light self massage, mirror work and really looking at your body, you can close your eyes and direct your awareness inwards and notice how your body is feeling internally. All these are powerful healing practices. After you’ve been given the all clear after your 6 week check, exercise such as yoga and pilates is wonderful for bringing yourself back into your body and really ground your energy, not to mention helping you build your core strength back up, helping you maintain a healthy pelvic floor.
7. MAKE SOME TIME FOR YOU.
Contrary to popular belief, giving yourself some you time as a mother is NOT selfish, it’s a necessity. It’s important for you to hold yourself and your wants and needs in high regard. If you don’t believe you are worthy, then this can really eat away at your self confidence and also impact on re-establishing your identity as a woman and a mother.
Take some time everyday to do something for you. Something you enjoy and which lights you up. Start with just 10 minutes a day. Ask your partner to have your baby whilst you do, or use precious nap times, and enjoy having a bath, or reading a book, or meditating, or indulging in a face mask or doing whatever it is that gives you pleasure. You deserve to have time just for you, even more so when you become a mother.
8. BUILD A COMMUNITY OF LIKE MINDED WOMEN.
Isolation and loneliness are major causes of depression and feeling low in motherhood. More often than not, friends, colleagues and partners don’t understand what it is you are going through, and often women you do know who have become mothers before you, have been less than honest about their own journey into motherhood for fear of judgment. There’s a taboo around how a woman should feel when she becomes a mother, and it’s done us all a disservice. This is why it’s important to connect with women’s and mothers groups where you can go and talk about you and your journey. Not groups meant for your baby. Groups meant for you. Granted they aren’t as commonplace as we would like, but they are growing in number. There are lots of online communities that are warm, inclusive and engaging (others which are not so beware) but set yourself a goal to surround yourself with like minded mothers who can support you on your journey.
If you feel like you need support on any part of your motherhood journey, whether that be struggling with a newborn, or trying to figure out what your identity is as a woman and a mother, then Maria can help you you regain some clarity and power through her services as a postnatal doula, life coach and Reiki healer. Visit her website for more information: calmmutha.com