My biggest struggle as a new mother

Uncategorized Aug 13, 2020

"We didn't start a family to grow apart."

I remember this thought clearly.

Entering into parenthood, John and I thought we had an amazing foundation and partnership - and that parenthood would naturally expand the connection.

For the first 2 years as new parents, we were struggling - It was my biggest challenge. 

I felt disconnected and wanted more connection.

We weren't aligned with how we wanted to parent.

I felt that we weren't on the same page or the same team. 

It was my biggest struggle. 

We would talk to friends and family, and the response was always; "Yeah - you grow apart. It's normal. We don't talk. We hardly spend time with each other. Parenting is tough on a marriage/ partnership."

.... I refused to accept this "normality". It was common - and it isn't "normal".

I think deep down, we all long for that partnership, that experience that we're on the same page, on the same team - we may not agree on everything, AND we're going to work through this and come out stronger and expanded. 

I searched and searched for mentors/ books/ guidance on how to create more connection as a couple and as new parents. 

There was an abundance of information on "complaints" about being a new parent/ sleeping/ feeding/ self-sacrifice, some information on conscious parenting (focusing on the children), and some information on childhood development.

What about being able to navigate marriage and partnership as new parents? Not much.

It's a crazy statistic - almost 70% of couples experience a decline in satisfaction with their relationship.

We had to carve our way. We didn't settle for the status quo. 

Here's what I believe that every couple, where a child has chosen you to be parents and is birthed through one of the partners.

One person had a 9-month headstart on this journey. When our child enters Earthside and takes its first breath, one parent had 9 months to prepare - physically, emotionally, and mentally. 

I see it like a marathon. One partner signed up for the marathon and has trained for 9 months. The other, signed up for the marathon the day before the marathon started. 

This is where empathy comes in. And this is where empathy is the secret to creating more partnership and alignment. 

Having empathy for our "starting point" in this journey of parenting matters. We can have compassion for each other. We can communicate more effectively such that our communication allows us to work through challenges together rather than create disconnection. 

When we feel more connected with one another - we are more willing to be vulnerable. We ask for help. We lean on each other. We hold each other accountable for self-care and self-worth. 

We will check in on one another. 

The reason why "we run on empty", and we do "self-sacrifice" or "survival" - is that we feel alone or aren't willing to have the difficult conversations that are needed to support each other in growing together as a couple and as parents....simply because we haven't been taught "how".

It took John and me two years to find our rhythm and create harmony. We were committed to thriving as a couple - not surviving. Survival is a choice - and so is thriving.

It was this journey that inspired me to create The Motherhood Mindset.

Yes, it's common to have challenges as that first year of being parents, and if it isn't something that we build a foundation for, it becomes habit. 

Creating "A Shared Vision of Parenthood" is one of the most healing and transformative things you can do for your journey as partners and as parents. 

I love this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh;

"If our parents didn't love and understand each other, how are we to know what love looks like? If the grown-ups know how to take care of each other, then the children who grow up in this environment will naturally know how to love, understand, and bring happiness to others. The most precious inheritance that parents can give their children is their own happiness."

Here's how to start creating "A Shared Vision of Parenthood".

1. Check-in with one another. "How do you feel about our marriage/ partnership?"; "Do you feel loved and supported by me?"; "What support do you need?"

2. Support each other in making self-care a priority. "What are three things you are each committed to doing to have a full and overflowing well?". Remember, you can't give from an empty well (or cup!).. and too often we don't even realise we are running on empty until we hit rock bottom. 

3. Start being curious about each other's upbringing. "What was it like growing up in your family? - What unconscious behaviours were unloving or Fear based?"

4. Have compassion for each other. Make empathy key. Give each other grace. You're both learning. Remind each other "we're both learning - and we're learning together." 

5. Be committed to thriving together. Making the choice to thrive makes a difference. "What would make our partnership thrive?"; "What would make our family thrive?". Just these two questions alone will allow you to create boundaries on external influences and protect your space and energy. It is here that you will create a healthy habit of committing yourselves OVER another's agenda or buying into other people's opinions and judgements. 

This week I invite you to choose 1 of the 5 options above if you're facing the same challenges we did as new parents. If it sounds "out there" or "uncomfortable" - it's meant to. Nothing changes unless you start getting outside of your comfort zone. Do you want more connection and partnership? - is it worth getting outside your comfort zone?

The gift of being a parent is expanding ourselves to more Love - in ALL areas of life. To heal our wounds and to bring Love to all those parts we deemed unlovable. Vulnerability and asking for help is a BIG part of this journey. As is self-care - and a commitment to "thriving"!

May you know you're not alone, and you're not meant to do this parenting thing, alone.


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