One of the most difficult aspects of motherhood is being open to learning new ways of doing things, while staying true to our values. When other people share their (often unsolicited) opinions about how parenting should be done, this can lead to self-doubt about our choices.
There is a lot of judgement out there– people justifying their own ways of doing things in ways that can be critical of others. One of the most rewarding aspects of working with new mums is helping them to differentiate themselves and their values from the opinions of others.
This can be particularly challenging with parents and parents in law who have strong opinions about the ways in which they did things. Remember, they are often trying to validate the job they did as parents. If you are constantly worrying about what others think, or avoiding people for fear of judgement, it might be useful to seek help.
The Antenatal & Postnatal Psychology Network recently launched a series of memes that are simple, supportive reminders to help mums stay grounded in what is often the highly charged, and judgement-laden environment of parenting. Based on principles of Mindfulness, and over 15 years working with mothers and babies, Clinical psychologist, Dr Renée Miller, says that "learning to be present in the moment, developing self-compassion, and being grounded in one's own values - rather than constantly comparing oneself to others - is at the heart of these memes". From her work with new mums, Renée has distilled some of the simple reminders that women report finding most useful when facing stressful aspects of parenting. These memes can be shared freely on social media, to support the well-being of mums, but they do not replace individualised therapy which involves deeper exploration into expectations, fears, self-narratives, tendencies, old patterns, beliefs and particular concerns.
Posted by Dr Renée Miller Principal Clinical Psychologist