Why Do We Keep Beating Ourselves Up?

27 Jun 2017
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In search of the perfect mum

A national newspaper recently ran an article (May 2017) about the guilt felt by mums who had had caesareans and struggled to bond with their babies for the first few weeks. This idea that they were not quite worthy, that they somehow fell short of the ‘ideal’ they expected to be as new mums.

But who is judging us, we should ask? Is there a higher body, some unseen force giving us a Len Goodman “7!”? Of course not, we only judge ourselves and it’s ourselves we fail to satisfy against our own imaginary panel of judges. We are hugely influenced by everything we see and hear around us, from the media to our closer friends and family. For most of us, starting a family is a huge step into the unknown and we probably feel more at sea than we have ever felt before.
As social animals it’s very natural to compare ourselves to those around us, and in the main we want to appear like we’re coping amazingly well: no car crash here, nothing to see..! But aren’t we being too hard on ourselves? Isn’t everyone simply swimming or sinking in their own way and by not putting on too brave a face or berating ourselves we might actually enjoy this time more?
I work with perspective parents in my hypnotherapy work, teaching them wonderful techniques to help them have a calm and relaxed childbirth, to enjoy one of the most amazing things they will do in their lives and not just get through it. As part of my programme we discuss what happens if things don’t go according to plan, if there are complications and by doing so give them tools to cope if their birth experience doesn’t go quite the way they planned.
There are two points to this:
1. Safe Mother, Safe Baby is the best outcome however it happens
2. In the end it doesn’t matter how your baby arrives, the birthing process is just a tiny part of the whole of the rest of your lives together: you’ve got years of growing, bonding, loving, learning, crying, laughing, fighting, adventuring to come – what’s a few hours compared to that?
In the UK 26.2% of births are by caesarean – that’s roughly 1 in every 4 births – and of those, 13.2% were elective and 13% are by emergency operation (2013-14, Health and Social Care Information Centre www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16725). And it’s worth knowing that only 4% of babies are born on their actual due date, so whilst it is important to have an ‘A’ plan we should also bear in mind that we might need a backup ‘B’ and ‘C’ plan just in case.
So instead of looking at your baby and worrying about whether you have bonded, just allow yourself to feel whatever you feel and know that you’re doing a great job. Don’t over-analyse what you should be feeling or take on board what others are doing because rest assured they’ll probably be kicking their feet just as hard as you trying to stay afloat.
If you would like to learn more about how Hypnotherapy can help you have a relaxed and calm birth, or you’re feeling anxious about any part of bringing your baby into the world, contact us for a chat. Our programme has been designed with the help of a highly experienced Midwife with over 20 years experience and literally thousands of babies under her belt! Visit www.questhypnotherapy.co.uk/hypnobirthing or email info@questhypnotherapy.co.uk

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