Emotional Challenges of Motherhood
I love working with mothers at Thought Partners. I enjoy hearing their stories of fierce love and devotion. Coupled with a need to carve out space for themselves. Being a mother can be such a rewarding, beautiful gift and it is not without many challenges. The role of a mother is complex – from nurturing and guiding our children to managing day-to-day needs. And, let’s not forget the elusive quest for work-life balance and the idealized vision of “having it all.” As a psychologist and mother, I know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to manage the various demands of this role. Especially while addressing our own emotional needs and “putting our mask on first”.
It’s Normal to Experience Different Emotions as a Mother
As we navigate the ups and downs of motherhood, it is normal to experience a range of emotions. Emotions including guilt, anxiety, and overwhelm. It may feel like there is no time to have your own emotional experience when focusing attention on your children. Not addressing your emotional needs may work in the short term. Over time ignoring or masking emotions can lead to mental health issues. Issues such as anxiety or depression, and burnout.
That’s why it’s critical that we focus on our emotional health as mothers and find effective ways to cope with the challenges we face. Whether it’s seeking support from friends and family, attending therapy and exploring therapies like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), or practicing self-care, there are many strategies we can use to address our emotional challenges and build resilience as mothers.
In this blog post, we’ll focus on how ACT can help manage the emotional challenges that often come with being a mother.
What Are The Common Emotional Challenges For Mothers
Motherhood comes with a range of highs and lows. Including some common emotional challenges, which often include some of the following:
This is a type of depression that can occur after giving birth and can manifest as feelings of sadness, exhaustion, and hopelessness.
Some may experience anxiety related to the health and safety of their child. As well as worry about their ability to be good parents.
Feelings of guilt may show up when mothers worry they are not doing a good enough job as a parent. Usually based on impossible social expectations.
The demands of parenting, and maintaining other relationships, combined with more responsibilities such as work and household chores, can lead to high levels of stress.
Many mothers feel isolated and lonely. Especially if they are the primary caregiver and spend most of their time with their children. This was particularly true in the past few years during the COVID-19 pandemic. When building and maintaining a community was challenging.
At times, motherhood can feel all-consuming. Some mothers may struggle with the loss of their previous identity. They feel that they have lost a sense of themselves.
Lack of sleep can have a significant impact on a mother’s emotional well-being. Leading to feelings of irritability, frustration, and exhaustion.
What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?
ACT is a form of psychotherapy that aims to help new moms accept their experiences. To commit to actions that align with their values. It is based on the idea that difficult thoughts and feelings are an inevitable part of life. However, we can learn to accept these challenging feelings and take actions that align with our values. Even in the presence of difficult experiences.
ACT emphasizes mindfulness, self-compassion, and values-based action to help individuals lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. ACT is a wonderful therapy for parents as there are frequent inherent challenges along the journey, which are unavoidable. Yet, choosing to move towards our values makes meaning of the difficulty and leads to a more fulfilling experience, while creating more possibilities for contentment.
Practicing Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Mindfulness is a technique that involves being fully present in the moment and observing your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment. Or in other words, paying attention on purpose. Practicing mindfulness can help you as a parent become more aware of your emotions. To respond to them in a more constructive way. It can also help you appreciate the present moment and find joy in the little things.
Self-compassion is another essential component of ACT. It involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a close friend. I know how easy it is to be hard on ourselves as moms and feel guilty when we are not measuring up to predetermined standards. Practicing self-compassion can help you learn to be kinder to yourself, which reduces suffering.
Acting With Values-Based Intentions
ACT emphasizes the importance of taking actions that align with your values. Even in the presence of difficult emotions. Identifying your values and committing to actions that align with them can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. For example, you may value connection as a parent. This might look like pausing when you are triggered by your child, and responding with care versus reacting by yelling, which is a move toward connection. You may also value self-compassion towards yourself as a mother, which reminds you to be gentle with yourself when you begin feeling guilt, shame, or overwhelm.
In summary, being a mother has many moments of joy, but it also comes with its share of emotional struggles such as feelings of guilt, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. It’s crucial for us to prioritize our emotional well-being and find effective ways to cope with these challenges to avoid feeling burnt out or struggling with mental health issues.
Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can assist mothers in managing these emotional challenges by emphasizing mindfulness, self-compassion, and taking action based on their values. By practicing these techniques, we can learn to be present, kind to ourselves, and act in ways that align with our values, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful experience of motherhood while also taking care of our own needs. Let’s embrace both the joys and challenges of motherhood and give ourselves the same level of love and care that we give to our children.
Begin Counseling For Mothers in CA
If you are a mother struggling to overcome the emotional challenges that come with being a parent, know you’re not alone. With counseling for mothers, you can begin managing your emotional challenges in a safe and supportive space. At Thought Partners understand what it means to be a mother and want to help you overcome your emotional struggles and enjoy this time as a parent. To get started follow these simple steps:
- Contact us to schedule an appointment
- Meet with one of our caring therapists
- Start managing your emotional challenges and enjoy being a mother!
Other Therapy Services at Thought Partners in California
We understand that you may be dealing with other struggles in your life. This is why our therapists at Thought Partners offer a variety of therapy services to help you manage. We offer services such as anxiety therapy, parent coaching, reproductive health, and fertility therapy, individual therapy for adults, couples therapy, and more. If you have any questions about our services please don’t hesitate to contact us. To learn more about us check out our blog or FAQs!