Guest: Susana Marquez, LMFT
Most people plan for a safe and successful pregnancy, birth, or lactation but most mothers don't plan for the postpartum stage. Building resilience during this stage is as important as planning for the birth of your baby and could come a long way in your motherhood journey.
Susana Marquez, LMFT, a licensed marriage family therapist and is specializing in maternal mental health, points out how our maternal figure plays a very important role in how we do motherhood. When we birth a child, we also carry a lot of intergenerational trauma or wounds from our own mothers or the way we were mothered by the maternal figures in your lives. These are things people don’t often consider when having a child and how this may impact and affect their motherhood journey. It's more about what you're carrying that is impacting the way you are doing motherhood versus what you were actually experiencing. It is important to realize that this isn’t really you or even about you as a mother, but more about your mother or the maternal figure in your life and what expectations or trauma you suffered firsthand to be able to understand and deal with all the challenges and complexities during your motherhood journey.
The expectations that are set for new mothers have become too intense and sometimes impossible to fulfill that many are mentally and emotionally exhausted. Here are the most common reactions moms have after giving birth:
- Feelings like "I'm not enough” or "I'm not doing enough”
- Feeling like you should have this figured out from the moment the child is placed in your arms
- Feeling like someone's going to harm the child or you're not functioning at a normal state
- Immediate rejection of yourself, "I'm a bad mom", "I don't belong here", "this child is going to be traumatized with me", "what am I doing wrong?"
- Spiraling into feelings of isolation, abandonment and feeling depressive
Factors that could Affect You during Postpartum
Doing even the basic care for yourself like eating, sleeping and bathing while constantly taking care of your new born is already a difficult work. Besides these, there are other factors that could greatly affect your mental and emotional health during postpartum:
- Cultural and social pressure to have it all figured out. A lot of us have helped raise our siblings so when we get to have our own, we place those expectations on ourselves. Not because you were the parentified child that you should already know how to be a parent. Or because you grew the human being in your body or you read X, Y and Z books would that automatically make you the most experienced and knowledgeable parent.
- Comparing yourself to other moms or to everything you see on social media. The role that social media plays in how as mothers we tend to compare ourselves to others. What we don’t realize is that the reality that is shown on these platforms is not the raw reality that we all go through. We're so fixated on that comparison game of who's done what and how we do it and what we look like while we're doing it. And what milestone has our kid achieved or that the other kid has achieved that ours hasn’t.
- Your mother or maternal figures comparing their experiences with what you’re going through. When we hear our own mothers, or whoever our maternal figure was, say "but I did it with five and I did it with 10". And, statements like ”when I was a single mom, I didn't have all the resources that you do now”. This create an immense sense of guilt or it intensifies it already and there goes that comparison again.
To get some amazing recommendations that could help you normalize your experiences and have some sort of comfort during this very interesting stage, check out Part 2 of the blog HERE.
To listen to this amazing episode with Susana Marquez, LMFT, please visit https://www.thebeyondresiliencelife.com/blog/post-partum-resilience.