June 14th, 2021
Some women are “ok” after childbirth – most are not. How did you feel the first weeks or months after the arrival of your child? Several years into the game and still feel like a hot mess? I feel ya – I hold a first class ticket to this hot mess express. There is a biological, undeniable reason for the way we feel after becoming a parent. By understanding these facts, we can accept and move forward in a way that tames the madness, and enables our families to thrive in our modern world.
Village of Attachment
Ever feel alone or even a little crazy when you’re home alone with your kid(s)? The inconvenient truth, is that humans are meant to live in villages. I’m not suggesting we leave our suburban homes and move into tents and bunkers and live 100% off the land, although if you’re into that – power to you!! However, it’s important to understand that the current western culture is evolutionarily and biologically mismatched, with who we are as humans. There’s no question – the hunter-gatherer, community lifestyle is how we are still meant to live and thrive. So what the heck are we supposed to do? For the purposes of this blog post, all I hope – is that you’ll acknowledge and become aware of this simple fact. Awareness will lead to the answers within your specific situation.
The differences between what our biology and the biology of our children expects vs. what we are experiencing…
Often a single parent is saddled with the pressure of fulfilling the roles and needs of an entire village. I’m talking about the parent who is home alone with a baby or child for the majority of the day, and is also expected to fulfill all the household needs and sometimes expected to also make an income. Our biology expects there to be guidance from older generations. That guidance is meant to come from an intuitive place of comfort, and natural understanding of human nature. Not only has this warm loving guidance disappeared for most of us – when it is there, it’s been replaced with cultural constructs. We are bombarded with advice to put our babies down, not to spoil them, to teach them to self-soothe. It’s all bullshit! For children to reach their full potential, we must keep their hearts soft and always welcome them lovingly into our presence. This requires them to feel close and connected to us at all times (this need is also meant to be fulfilled by a village – not one person). This is impossible when we are expected to do all the other things. Fulfilling the needs of your new baby are no longer considered enough by our culture’s standards. Ya better be showered, have a healthful meal in the oven, activities planned for the next day, laundry and other housework done, not to mention your career, better keep that going, otherwise you’ll be left behind and become obsolete before your little one’s first birthday.
My point is – the longer we keep ourselves in the cycle that serves our culture rather than ourselves, nothing is going to change. Decide for yourself where you spend your energy. The possibility of this blog and my coaching practice was born while reading and learning while I held my daughter while she slept the first year of her life. As we creep up on her fourth birthday, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the day I stopped listening to external noise and started following my instincts.
So… #1 – Realize how absurd the expectation is for you to do it all. Accept help and ask for help from others! Not doing so will only lead to a breakdown of your physical and mental health – eventually driving you to do things you don’t want to do, in an effort to fulfill your unmet needs, or your childs.
#2 – Once #1 is in the bag, spend some time thinking about how you can create your village of attachment. Children have an indiscriminate attachment in the first 5 months of life. If you plan on your child spending time with others down the road – involve them as much as you can now, so your child can attach and have their needs filled by them when the time comes. If this isn’t an option – for example if your child will be going to daycare or will have a nanny, there are ways to cultivate this attachment when the time comes. Check out my free guide, Going Back to Work, here.
#3 Tune out the outside noise. This takes practice. If you’re a woman, you’ve likely been conditioned to be good, please others and keep things running smoothly at all times. You have everything you need within you to parent your unique child, and to re-parent yourself. Follow your gut and your feelings, they are there for a reason!