Most mothers agree on the many joys of motherhood: the scent of a newborn baby; the elation of witnessing their first step, first day of school, first crush, etc. Infinite books, songs, and movies have been written about the time-honored role of being a mother. Yet very few dare to discuss motherhood’s ugly-little-secret inherent in the statistics mentioned above.
We have a nation of mothers brooding in secrecy about their dissatisfaction, frustrations and self-deprivation. Yet they won’t discuss this due to fears of being outcast and labeled a deviant. Some may cringe at the idea of a clinical psychologist who happens to be a mother of four discussing the perils of motherhood. Let’s be honest: there's nothing politically correct about this discussion.
Unfortunately, political correctness in regards to motherhood has led us to where we are today, with staggering statistics showing a correlation between motherhood, depression and anxiety disorders.
Opening up this dialogue acknowledges the frustrations that inherently exist along the journey of motherhood. Amazingly, as I have discovered with my patients, once women are given permission to express their feelings, they are more open to implementing strategies that will allow them to thrive as mothers.
3 Steps to Thrive in Motherhood
1. Rediscover you. Engage in hobbies & indulge your interests.
Don’t lose your individual identity in the name of motherhood. You were an individual prior to becoming and mother and it's imperative to remain connected to your authentic self. It is not uncommon as the mother finds herself more and more ingrained in the role of mother that her connection to self diminishes until she's barely recognizable outside of her role as mother. Women who continue to engage in hobbies and interests are measurably happier.
2. Slow down.
Interestingly, many of the characteristics of a person in an active state of mania are the same characteristics that our society values in mothers.