A gentle transition to motherhood

Which Way to the Village?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I admit it. I am not much of a “village player.”

Twenty-seven years ago I was a busy, isolated, work-at-home mom with a pressurized grad-student husband. I was infatuated with my first baby, which was a good thing since we ended up spending a lot of time alone together.  I’d made only the most superficial acquaintances in a new town before my first child was born, so initially there was no local support.  Through the first year of my daughter’s life, I faced some obstacles to making new friends, which included my combination of introversion, work busy-ness, and what I – at the time – liked to think of as independence (in retrospect, maybe that was just grouchiness).

Would I have benefited from somebody helping me during those early years of parenthood? Absolutely! Grouchy as I was, I would have welcomed a swarm of villagers at my door bearing casseroles and clucking sage mother wisdom. Alas, that crew of helpers didn’t assemble on my front lawn, so I used who and what was available to make a place for my baby and me to thrive.

Soon after my daughter’s birth I knew I was going to need daily relief; I also needed someone who could help me learn all this baby stuff, and most of all I needed some calm head space. To meet those needs, my early support system was cobbled together with evening colic care by my husband (the “Master Swaddler”), plus our pediatrician’s infinite patience and good nature (I was in his office at least once a week). For the calm head space, my baby girl and I watched an episode of “The Waltons” every afternoon at 2:00 pm because those country people quieted my mind.

That first year was still hard. Not just because we had trouble nursing at first or because my baby had colic for months, and not just because I didn’t have loads of friends bringing meals and other help.

The first year was hard because it’s just hard, regardless of how much support you have. It’s hard finding strength and stamina when we’re running on empty. It’s hard being suddenly responsible for someone tiny. Awesome as it is to discover the depth and breadth of the glorious love we feel as mothers, it’s complicated and it’s change and it’s hard.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not recommending my TV-characters-as-support-system lifestyle – that’s just what stabilized me and helped me hold on to my sense of self. What stabilizes you may be hiding in an unexpected or seemingly mediocre place. If life isn’t dropping casseroles in your lap don’t be afraid to seek out your own support system.

Village or no village, I hope you’ll look for your own alchemy of personality, circumstance, and available resources so you can get what you need to feel and be stronger as you rise to the occasion of motherhood.

Kira Dorrian and Tracy Adams are Seattle-based Clinical Hypnotherapists and HypnoBirthing® Practitioners, each a mom of twins. Together they have created HypnoMothering™, a class designed to help prepare women for a gentle transition into motherhood, and a safe space for new mothers to be seen, heard, and supported.

 

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