RESILIENCE – REDUCING STRESS.
Whilst being a mother can sometimes feel stressful and like one long treadmill of repeating behaviour, there is one big thing that makes a difference on a daily basis. Late in your first pregnancy the hormone Oxytocin starts to surge, and by the time your child is born this fundamental mothering hormone is ready to connect you deeply with your baby. Otherwise known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ you know when your oxytocin is high because you feel a warm glow and want to cuddle, eye gaze and relax. Oxytocin is thought to help to enhance memory and learning and motherhood is certainly a steep learning curve.
This ‘dance’ between the huge love connection you might have as a mum and the huge need to protect yourself and/or your baby can cause confusion, worry, anxiety and even fear in the early days. Whilst you take time to remap to life with a new baby the lack of sleep and the hormonal surges can make you swing between being totally in love and totally overwhelmed.
When you see a new mum with her baby you can sometimes sense that although she appears to be doing nothing, in that very moment you can also see that ‘all the cogs are turning’. She is negotiating the path from ‘holding close’ and ‘looking for danger’ to ‘being close’ and ‘gently aware’. This process can take days, weeks or months, but as the mother matures in her role she can move to any place on that path in an instant.
This ability to be totally there for someone else and the knowing that you really can do this gives a resiliency over and above that of most non-mothers experience.
When you, as a mum really understand this you know in a place beyond words that you will be able to cope and even thrive through the most challenging of situations.
At whatever point of motherhood you are, think about all the things that you can do to enhance your oxytocin levels, to make you less stressed, more resilient and more calm. How many mothers do you know – including yourself that have been able to face things that they would never have thought possible ‘for the sake of their children’ or the world in which their children live.