Mothering Resilience.

Resilience. We’re hearing this term more & more – in parenting groups, in schools, in communities. Raising resilient children – children who have the capacity & the tools to face life’s inevitable challenges & move through them with calm & confidence, to emerge on the other side with new learning & strength.

But what if we as parents, as mothers, never learned the skills & practices of resilient living?

What if challenges tend to wear us out, make us feel anxious, overwhelmed, depleted, depressed?

What if challenges have us thinking…
‘What now?’
‘I don’t have the energy for this.’
‘Why is life so hard?’
‘I thought I had this figured out.’

Instead of…
‘I’m ready to tackle whatever comes’
‘I’m confident I can move through anything that comes my way.’
‘I can do hard things.’

I know I wasn’t taught these skills & practices. Not because I somehow missed out, but because most of the parents who raised my generation also weren’t taught them & there was very little to no awareness of their importance.

Now research is telling us more about the truths of parenting – truths we’ve known for years but rarely talked openly about – bringing them into the light, stimulating exploration & discussion where there was little before.

“Parenting involves a number of mental health costs, including time, physical and emotional energy, conflicts with other social roles, and the economic burden of childrearing. These hardships are especially salient for women, who are often the primary caretakers of children, and compounded if they are also single parents” (Balaji et al., 2007, p. 1388).

“Women simply worry more about their children. This is largely a social fact…. But there is also a biological explanation: We have evolved to worry” (Shulevitz, 2015).

Much of my journey in mothering has taught me the importance of my own resilience, in raising our son. It’s become a necessity to connect with practices that strengthen my capacity for it & I’ve been blessed with the support, through a variety of resources, to do just that.

To be resilient requires that we have practices (yes – it takes practice!) that support us in feeling calm, grounded & relaxed…practices that support us in connecting with intuition, that quiet wisdom deep within us.

To be resilient requires that we take time for us – that we take care of ourselves. Sometimes through fun experiences like pedicures & massages, but more often through coming to know ourselves more deeply & connecting with what helps us truly feel nourished – quiet solitude, a walk in the woods, time by an ocean or lake – taking in the present moment & all that is good in it, even & especially when goodness is hard to see.

Most women I meet, whether they are preparing to become mothers, longing to become mothers or have already been journeying through motherhood, find it easy to take care of the needs of others:

  • Coworker needs help on a project, I can do that;
  • Friend needs support moving through a challenge, I can do that;
  • Partner needs to talk through something that was upsetting at work, I can do that;
  • Daughter needs snuggles before sleep, I can do that;
  • Son needs his hundredth snack today, I can do that.

Taking care of ourselves is a different story. When we shift our focus from caring for others to caring for ourselves…

…to rest instead of plowing through more of the to do list

…to do some yoga instead of finishing the laundry

…to reach out for connection with a trusted friend instead of trying to figure it all out on our own

…to ask for help from our partner so we can have a few minutes of solitude when feeling maxed out or touched out, instead of dragging ourselves through another grueling hour of toddler tantrums, sibling arguments or nursing/bouncing/calming a baby through a developmental leap

…guilt rises. We feel selfish.

We’re constantly filling the buckets of others without an awareness of how low our resources are getting…or perhaps even ignoring the signs that our own bucket is getting dangerously depleted.

You need to fill your bucket, Love.

Make the space. Take the time – if even for a few short moments each day. Build your mothering resilience.

You can’t run on empty. You can’t be the partner, mother, friend, co-worker you truly want to be, on empty.

Taking the steps, reaching out for the support you need to build your own resilience will not likely come easy. The guilt gremlins will rise. The ‘shoulds’ will surface (‘You should be doing ________ ‘).

I’m here to help you face them. I’m here to help you reclaim & reconnect with the strength you have inside. I’m here to support you with practices to build your resilience.

xo Dr. Sarah

Ready to nourish your mothering resilience? Here are two upcoming programs for you to check out:

Enlighten Postpartum is a 4-week prenatal program focused on supporting your connection with inner wisdom while preparing for postpartum healing, breastfeeding & normal infant sleep. We begin Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at Clinique Natturra in downtown Moncton. Reserve your space today.

Mothering Resilience: Nourishing Strength Through Self Care is a workshop being held at Close to the Heart for all mothers, with a focus on learning & practicing some supportive tools for nourishing resilience. We gather on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 10:30am – reserve your space today!