Thriving as a new parent: 3 universal themes
What is it about the magic that happens when women gather and openly share the realness of their personal experiences as a new mother? I never get sick of it.
I love it because something deep inside of me knows that this is how women have been doing things for centuries. Traditionally known as ‘secret women’s business,’ we have always shared, shocked, laughed uproariously, wept together and inspired each other. I marvel at how much wisdom we innately have. When you set the stage, ‘the knowing’ comes through every woman. This knowing serves her sisters and opens the doorway to the greater self and potential inside.
Inside every seed in nature lies a blueprint of potential. Given the right conditions, that seed grows and learns to weather the winds of change. Women and men are exactly the same. We are social creatures and we learn from each other. We are hungry for these types of connections and experiences. Once the rules of engagement are clear and the structure in place, the magic is free to flow forth. I just love it!
‘Walking into the Transform Parenting studio each week was like being wrapped in a warm blanket of love. It was the perfect empathy tonic during my first weeks of parenthood. I appreciated that all voices were heard and respected. Most of all I am grateful to Tracey and all the mums who participated for sharing their stories and opening their hearts.’ – Melanie
After 19 years of running new mothers groups, I want to share 3 universal themes that flow through all experiences of new parenthood:
1. When a woman becomes a mother, there is a loss of a former self and the emergence of a new, more expanded self. She has to upgrade. She has to struggle; she has to be resilient and resourceful. She has to work out the secret code of her baby and how her baby communicates with her. She does this in the context of a lot less sleep, perhaps a sore, recovering body and breasts that are adjusting to their new role. She is often without family or community and it may be the first time she has spent any time with a newborn. Everyone focuses on the baby and the baby’s weight gain but few focus on the mother. Health professionals can place themselves as the ‘all-knowing’ experts, which is ironic when they all give different advice. Family members can inadvertently do the same. The new mother focuses on all this advice before she realises the folly of this game and shuts the world out, learning to listen to herself for a change. She is the expert of her baby. Managing a newborn is largely trial and error, and this is how she learns. There are powerful fundamentals that she can learn to support her management of her baby, but mostly it’s about ‘what works on the day.’
If people truly understood this transition and how important it is for her to learn and cultivate her own confidence, they would tell her how amazing she is and trust that she will work it out. Imagine if a toddler, while learning to walk, had an expert come in and give them advice! We celebrate their achievements and trust they will learn – new mothers need the same space. Through our groups, I help women to understand this and to listen to themselves and their babies.
2. Everything changes as new parents. Your priorities, the people around you, your sense of time and how to best use it (which usually includes catching up on sleep). Most significantly, YOU change. Relationships are therefore up for renegotiation and few of us are ever taught how to skilfully manage this.
The rate of separation in partnerships increases significantly in the first year of a baby being born. Without skills and understanding, huge chasms can be created or widen even more under such unique circumstances. Parenting becomes really hard if these relationships don’t grow. In our groups, we share powerful tools and strategies to navigate these changes, with the goal of growing together and enjoying our significant relationships.
3. Getting conscious. At no time in history have parents ever been so powerfully influenced by the outside world as today. Our minds get conditioned by social norms and quite frankly, our current norms are concerning. We are more overstimulated, disconnected and distracted than ever before. The results of these cultural conditions are already being seen in schools – our babies learn by watching us. We need to wake up, get clear on our values, family rituals and personal boundaries so that we can be the parents we want to be. It is so powerful to point this out to new parents, explore the issues, and have these valuable discussions together.
Yes I love it! I know what a difference it makes being within a safe space to gather, learn, wake up and discover what we all have within us. It is an absolute privilege to watch this, and I feel grateful every day for the families who share themselves with me and each other.
Thriving as a New Parent Term 4 for Mums courses begin Wednesday 16th October and Thursday 17th October. Click here to register.
Blessings to you all,