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Laura Greenwood

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Laura Greenwood is an experienced Psychotherapist with a demonstrated history of working in the mental health care industry. She is skilled in supporting people to overcome mental ...

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Why does becoming a mother feel like the hardest thing in the world?

It is, it's probably one of the most challenging experiences and transformations you will ever go through in your entire life. So it feels like the hardest thing in the world because it is. So know that it feels hard, because it's hard, not because you're doing it wrong, not because you are failing, not because you should have read more books about how to do this. It's hard because it's hard and it will get easier, but sometimes you don't want to hear that. You just want to hear that it's hard and it's okay to find it hard, and you can do this and you're doing your best and that's good enough.

is it normal for someone to feel more anxious about going out after becoming a mother?

Yes, definitely some form of social anxiety is very, very common, and this is because partly your brain has changed to make you more hypervigilant to risks and dangers, which of course creates anxiety. So you've got that going on. But also as well, when you go out, you've now got to consider things that you didn't have to consider before. You've got to consider making sure that you've got everything in your bag that you need, that you need to set off on time, that you need to make sure that you get prepared early, that you need to know where you can park, that's going to allow you to be able to get the baby out of the car seat safely. You've got to think about all of these things you've never had to think about before. So anything new and uncertain is always anxiety provoking as you get used to a new normal, but it does usually lessen with time.

Is mum guilt a real thing?

Yes, it definitely is. And I just want to make a distinction between guilt and among guilt. So guilt, like all emotions, is a completely normal emotion that is designed to communicate something to us. It's designed to be experienced to teach us a lesson, for us to learn something from that lesson and for it to pass for us to move on to the next emotional experience. So guilt is there to teach us that we've done something, engaged in a behaviour that's out of alignment with our value system. It's about helping us to look at that behaviour to consider how we might want to behave differently, that's more in alignment with our values, and then learn from that. And then the guilt passes, and then the next time something similar comes along, we behave differently. Sometimes we can feel guilty though in the absence of having done something wrong, and that can happen if we have grown up in an environment whereby we were often led to believe that things were our fault or our responsibility. So Mong guilt is different in the fact that it often comes from, partly we want to do a really good job and we have these expectations about what motherhood should look like, how it should feel, and these unrealistic pressures to be perfect. And when we do not live up to those unrealistic pressures and expectations, we feel guilty because we're not matching up to what a mother should look like or should feel like. Actually, when we stop and have a look at the evidence of whatever it was that led us to feel guilty, it's probably a very normal human mistake that anybody could have made that we are judging ourselves intensely, harshly for. And that comes from these expectations that we cannot live up to. So mong guilt is a real routine experience that we often feel because we're trying to live up to expectations that just are not possible.

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