How often do we hear this phrase said to us? Weekly? Daily? Or not very often? Maybe never? How about saying it to yourself? How often do you allow yourself to reflect on this, giving yourself the reassurance of knowing that you really are enough? Society rules that we constantly strive to be a “better version” or “our best version” of ourselves, and this is brain-washed into us all from the moment we go to school, but what happened to just being content with who, what, where and how we are? If we are always striving to accomplish and achieve, then that carrot will forever be dangling and we may never understand or feel that we are enough.
So if we think about how little we say this to ourselves (unless you are a rare breed who cottoned-on to it years ago), then it’s worth wondering how we manage when we are at our most vulnerable; in pregnancy, birth and our 4th Trimester or parenting for instance.
Finding out we are pregnant brings about a wide range of emotions and is a unique experience for everyone. We go from feeling immense elation to intense fear and all the rest in between. If the pregnancy is something you’ve been desiring, then you will have gone some way in your mind to “preparing” for the process of pregnancy and hopefully with a healthy baby at the end of it. But even then, you may have doubts that it’s the “right time”, or if you have a career, if you’re doing the “right thing” by taking a step out of the rat race for your maternity (or even if you will have to end your career if it isn’t suitable to “motherdom”). .. So already, even if baby was planned, the doubts can and often do creep in, and naturally, that underlying feeling of “not being good enough” sits heavy under the surface of our daily grind.
If pregnancy was not planned, then it can lead us to making decisions before we are mentally prepared to do so and that usually leads us down the path of guilt, failure and shame. Emotions that every parent battles with, but may have the advantage of being more resilient than someone who inherently didn’t want that baby “right now”.
In pregnancy, a common running theme is that people feel they can’t be honest with themselves about the changes they may need to put into place with regards to their lifestyle choices. Being realistic, if someone is in denial about how much a baby is going to affect their lives then invariably it will lead to a harsher awakening once babe is in arms, than if someone had taken the time to prepare mentally and emotionally for a baby to land in their lives.
If I had a £1 for every couple I’ve taught antenatal classes to over the years who decide to move house in pregnancy (one of the most stressful things to do when we are “supposed” to be keepin the cortisol levels to a minimum), because it’s not “good enough” to bring a new baby/child up in, I’d be a very wealthy woman!
During birth, many women believe they have to “perform” well, or “get it right”, and if they “fail” in their expectations of themselves (or perhaps that those close to them have made made them feel), then it’s very normal for them to feel like they are not good enough, or can’t/couldn’t give birth. They lose faith and trust in themselves and their abilities to give birth which can lead to lack of faith in themselves as parents too. So what if we educated couples in pregnancy to let go of expectations and just be themselves? That they are enough, and most definitely “good enough” to give birth in any way or situation. Imagine how many women would cherish those moments more, content in themselves for doing their best, instead of berating themselves for not being enough.
In parenting, there is a universe of advice with well-meaning literature and “experts” all proffering the “best ways” to do pretty much everything. However, the comparison monkey soon comes out when we see others managing marvellously when we are struggling to get it right. If we took a moment to not look externally for solutions, but within, trusting in our intuition and instincts when it comes to caring for our babies and children, then we would most certainly know that we are “good enough”, especially for our little ones, even if not for the rest of the world…
So my advice to everyone I meet, especially my clients, and also to myself is this: “What would you say to your friend during this time?” No matter what circumstances they are finding themselves in? Would you say, “Oh yes, I agree with you, you could be doing better!”, or would you smile, and kindly say “How about just being you for now. You are enough”.
There’s a latin saying that I was introduced to at school that says “Esto Quod Es”; which means “Be What You Are”. It’s a mantra that I live my daily. I hope it helps you in some way to find your inner worth too.
Sophie Burch is The Mamma Coach, on a mission to help pregnant couples and parents to have their best experiences no matter what, why, where or how. As well as teaching Hypnobirthing Weekend Courses by the sea, she has a new online birth and baby preparation programme that integrates Relationship Coaching with Hypnobirthing, Mindful Birthing, Wellbeing and Self Care Coaching; a completely integral, therapeutic approach to Preparing for Birth and Baby. She also offers private therapy sessions for people struggling with anxieties, stress, low mood, depression and phobias, online and in East Kent. Sophie has experienced birth 3 times, 3 different ways and has suffered with postnatal ptsd, post natal depression and postnatal anxiety, which is why she now does what she does and is passionate at helping and supporting anyone having a tough time.
Qualified in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, Hypnobirthing, Mindful Hypnobirthing, Baby Massage, Aromatherapy, Pregnancy and Holistic Massage, Reiki and Anatomy & Physiology, Sophie lives on the Kent Coast with her Husband, 4 Boys (including Twins), their Cocker Spaniel, Hamster and 2 fish! She loves nature, beach walks, music and laughter.