Posts tagged Parenting advice
You are Enough
You will always be enough

You will always be enough

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.

IG: @themammacoach

FB: @themammacoach

Hear the Lioness Roar

I am like a lioness. I am a Mother.
I am proud and I stand by my belief that Mother Nature designed me this way.

Tune into your Inner Lioness

Tune into your Inner Lioness

We all have it in us. It’s natures way. Why? To protect our young and ensure they are safe from predators, getting themselves into sticky situations, or just reign them in when they’ve over-stepped the line. Not only do we have a beautiful, deep, inner roar, but we have instincts second to none, that sniff out danger and raise our adrenaline levels so that we will fight to protect ourselves and our babies. We are no different to animals in this way.

So why be afraid of letting that inner roar out?

There is so much information on how to be or not to be the parent that supports our children and doesn’t screw them up for life. Of course none of us set out to be or want to be the one who affected our children’s behaviour to their detriment. Our desire is for our little darlings to grow up as kind, balanced, go-getters, showing compassion and empathy to everyone they meet, whilst succeeding in everything they lay their little eyes on. Yes? No?

Reining them in.

Reining them in.

However, the reality is that pressures are on us from every direction in our modern day society and to cut a long story short, that leaves us frazzled the majority of the time; resulting in our often quick-to-react automatic responses being harsh and leaving us and our kids weeping and guilty at our actions and reactions. The majority of the advice out there says, this is not the best behaviour or example to set our kids, and we instantly feel like we are failing.

What i’m getting at is there are two types of ROAR. One is as above; the pushed to the limit automatic reaction. The “Oh shit, I shouldn’t have said that” reaction. The other is the “Protector Parent” reaction. The one where you have had enough but are protecting them from themselves, or god forbid, falling into the road or off the banister, or out of the window! Then a ROAR is very much needed and it’s ok in my book to really let them know about it so that they won’t (or you hope they won’t) do it again!

There are many reasons why kids getting used to a good ROAR or two are a good thing:

Firstly, out in the world beyond your protecting arms, they won’t cope with seeing anyone shouting or worse, at them. Therefore, it’s helping with the following:

We are the protectors.

We are the protectors.

Resilience. We need to toughen them up (not too much mind), but on an emotional and physical level.

Respect. In the world we live in today, respect is still a vital life-skill to have. Not in the old-fashioned way, which was basically by instilling FEAR. But by demonstrating that authority has it’s place and is again, there to protect and guide our little cubs.

Core Values - to help to teach them what’s right and wrong. If we smile and say “yes” or just “don’t do that darling” to everything, then it’s not teaching our young cubs much about what’s right and wrong. Good and Bad. There’s a time and a place for a smile and a yes, and a time for a good old ROAR too.

Now don’t get me wrong. Yelling abuse at your cubs is NOT OK. Shouting at them using hurtful words is NOT OK. This has been proven to be damaging and of course, upsetting for them (and you). But a ROAR is not a yell. It’s a loud vocal/verbal noise that gets attention enough for them to stop and pay attention. It could also be a “Hey!”, “Listen!”, “Stop!”, “Enough!”, or “Back off!”.

I just like to do an actual ROAR. It gets the attention and does the trick, that’s for sure. It’s also quite funny really. So it doesn’t get the same fearful reaction that yelling at them does. Yelling often results in you saying things you don’t mean and that hurts. A ROAR stops that in it’s tracks.

Remember the 5:1 Ratio - More positive to negative makes for the right balance

Remember the 5:1 Ratio - More positive to negative makes for the right balance

According to Dr John Gottman, a world renowned relationship therapist, the balance needs to be at least 5:1 in terms of positive/negative interactions too. So if you do end up yelling or are a naturally “raisey-voice-kinda-person”, it’s worth making sure you do all the cuddles, kisses and apologising if you do have a tense moment. It’s important to tell your cubs you were sorry for raising your voice. Show them love and they will respect that and learn that we are not all perfect and that if they yell, as long as they mirror your actions, the cycle should continue.

The ROAR begins in pregnancy. Once we know we are pregnant and often instinctively before we find out, we are fiercely protective of our bodies. From traveling somewhere to how we take care of ourselves, that built in lioness is ready to pounce at any opportunity necessary to ward off danger and protect.

Obviously, if you find yourself being triggered by your cubs a little too much, then there are great ways to help train yourself to remain as calm as possible. For instance, practicing non-reactivity on a regular basis when, perhaps their noise levels are reaching breaking-point, is a life-saver (believe me, with 4 boy cubs of my own, i’m all too familiar with my triggers being switched by their noise levels!). So, next time they’re running riot around you and you feel your shoulders tense, why not take a few, deep belly breathes and tune into the noise instead of wanting it to stop. Listen to the noise with intent. Hear the varying pitch of their voices and as you notice them more, exhale fully and notice how you are feeling. Get down to their level and saying nothing, just continue to breathe deeply, then using a technique called noting, say out loud how you are feeling, continue to tune into the sounds around you and your deep breaths. Perhaps you could say, “I notice that this noise is making me feel tense and annoyed”. Repeat this several times and see what happens. Hopefully, the energy around you will calm, as will you and those cheeky cubs of yours!

Other ways of being protective: with the food we eat and what we feed our children. The Lioness in us goes deep into our subconscious and adapts our instincts and intuition on a primal level in our brains. Allowing us to have faster reactions and fine-tune our perceptions. Quite amazing really!

So before you give yourself a hard time for ROARING at your little cubs, or indeed anyone that brushes past your bump if you’re pregnant, be thankful we have an inner Lioness and give yourself a break. It’s natures way after-all!