The Vulnerability of Motherhood
I believe vulnerability
can trigger a deep routed belief of not feeling good enough
The raw vulnerability of motherhood. Not many of us prepare for that. You know you want a baby, and to be a parent. You work hard at getting pregnant (and some of us have to work a lot harder than others unfortunately), you might even experience loss along the way. You then spend 9 months growing a baby, reading about their development in utero, researching birth options and devising your ideal birth plan but you haven’t had a chance to give any thought to the postnatal challenges that might arise, least alone how to prepare for them. ‘After care’, what’s that? ‘Self-care’, that’s a regular face mask right?
I personally don’t feel we discuss the vulnerability of becoming a mother enough. I don’t feel collectively we know what to expect or prepare the support we need through the period of time we do need help. Other cultures I believe, have it a little bit more sussed than our own.
I’ve been thinking about this topic for weeks now and I’ve a few thoughts to share. I’ve followed these thoughts with a Tapping Meditation (to learn more about Tapping click here) to help really shift that mindset and hopefully help you let go of some of that raw vulnerability that is probably not helping you at the moment…
Maybe your negative thoughts and emotions aren’t because you can’t cope as a mother, maybe it is because becoming a mother has made you feel vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is exposure to the possibility of being attacked either physically or emotionally. When vulnerable we are not at our strongest, we are weak. Post birth we are just that, we’ve literally just given birth, we have new emotions, new responsibilities, our body is in a physical state of repair, our mental functionality is impaired due to stress, exhaustion, overload, overwhelm. I believe this is what triggers our postpartum anxiety. In effect, we are ‘reborn’ into Motherhood and the impact on us can be both beautiful and difficult - on the same day, same hour, same minute.
Exhaustion has huge impact on our physical and mental repair and capabilities. We don’t feel as strong as we did before, and we desperately try to find that strength again. We reach for coffee, sugar, other stimulants, support from friends, but I believe a lot of us deep down naturally and quickly question our own capability, our bond with our baby, our mental state (which is probably playing tricks on us now), our physical ability etc.
Perhaps even that vulnerability is a trigger for a time earlier in your life where you were also vulnerable and maybe not supported enough. The vulnerability is like muscle memory and your body and mind remember it, and the times when you were vulnerable before. It doesn’t even have to be that long ago. Perhaps the trials of becoming pregnant are adding to the memory of vulnerability.
Maybe you are just bloody wonderful and doing the absolute best you can, but its the act of motherhood, the stepping into a new role, the literally cracking open of you- your body - your emotions - your heart - your head - and everything that comes with motherhood that changes you forever in many ways. Many beautiful ways and many horribly vulnerable ways too. Ways in which you never thought possible. Ways in which you didn’t even know would happen, because nobody told you doing this amazing thing and birthing children would be so heart breakingly painful.
It is like cracking open an egg and all the insides just pour out - they’ve nowhere to go, you don’t know what to do with them. These emotions pouring out of you from god knows where deep inside, places you thought you’d lost forever. You’d locked them away so you could get on with your life and do an amazing job being a human and becoming a mum and then bang, the egg cracks open and it all spills out and you don’t know where to start. What do you do with that?
Breathe. Maybe the labour wasn’t the zen water birth you had planned? Maybe it was actually really traumatic and painful? Maybe that makes you feel like a failure in some way. Even though you have a beautiful healthy baby, you might feel some disappointment you didn’t get the birth you’d hoped for. All this negative emotion could make you think, ‘I must be a bad mother’, ‘I must not be able for this’, ‘something must be wrong with me’, ‘maybe I’m not bonding with my baby enough’, ‘maybe I need to give more’……breathe.
Maybe all of these thoughts trigger postnatal depression, PTSD or intrusive thoughts. Potentially you’ve lost sight of the essence of who you are, your confidence, your belief in your ability to learn and adapt to change, to fight your own negative thoughts. The tiredness is wearing you down and that little negative voice in your head is becoming louder and louder and you’re not strong or alert enough to tell it to ‘shove off’. I believe vulnerability can trigger a deep routed belief of not feeling good enough.
No one prepared you for this did they? This raw emotion of constantly not feeling good enough. The pressure we put on ourselves to do everything better or more perfectly. The memories surfacing that we’d long buried. The ANXIETY & FEAR of things we didn’t even know we were afraid of. The RESPONSIBILITY of looking after another human, my god that responsibility can be so heavy. The VULNERABILITY of recovery, not being able to do things you want to do, putting pressure on yourself anyway, not accepting help, not asking for help, feeling so alone…
Breathe. All of this has to stop. Remember you are in a job you didn’t train for. This vulnerability is a culmination of all of your first days at school, and all of your first few weeks in new jobs, all coming together like a bulldozer.
We must talk about this more, to let women know that this is all totally normal, that they can get help through this and that it’s ok to ask for help. Please know that you are doing an amazing job and are a wonderful mother – no matter how bad you really think you are. This part of motherhood is so normal, yet I don’t think it is understood enough, and we certainly don’t speak about it enough.
I’ve created this video to help you release some of that vulnerability (tapping starts 3 minutes in if you want to skip to it). It addresses the vulnerability, anxiety, fear, and ultimately feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’ and we get to a point where we let this go, making way for more positive thoughts to reprogram our brains.
Please tap along with me, repeat the words out loud or in your head as you follow. If you feel your own words would work better for you, please use them, as mine are just guides to get you started. Maybe you can say mine first and then repeat it using some of your own words. If you’d like to receive this tapping script by email please sign up for my newsletter here.
I’ll leave you with the thought below.
I am vulnerable. I am strong.
If you feel you need more help on the topic of Vulnerability or the belief that you are not good enough please get in touch – contact form below. I’m working with women on the same issues and know I can help guide your healing journey.
There are some really fantastic post-natal support websites out there and here are just a few that might get you started, and please do contact your GP for further support:
If you’d like to be listed here please contact me.
Please lets start and continue the conversation about vulnerability #IamvulnerableIamstrong