As parents, it can be way too easy to slip into a pattern of yelling way more than we like.
Not only does this create a scary, toxic environment for everybody, but it's not even effective.
Here's 10 things to try instead. They might not always work, but neither does yelling, and you just might find that you need to use them less after a while.
Remember the old adage: The days are long but the years are short. Parenting is hard, but so is being a child. Try responding in some new ways and see if the days get a little easier for everybody.
Be sure to be gentle and loving to yourself too!
I found a fantastic article on low milk supply. Many mothers that come into the store tell me they think they are not making enough milk! Most mothers actually are and here is some valuable information to calm a new mother and help her understand breastfeeding, milk production and how to be sure your beautiful body is behaving how it's designed. The good news: it probably is!
Forgive me for asking but...
Do you REALLY have low milk supply?
This is a very important place to start. Please bear with me. I don’t mean to doubt your situation and be annoying patronising lactation consultant woman but it’s crucial to note that the MAJORITY of new mothers who fear they have low milk supply DO NOT.
The majority of women who start to use formula because they worry they aren’t making enough or baby isn’t getting enough DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM.
I cannot emphasise this enough.
Every day mothers panic and end breastfeeding or start using formula and there is not an underlying problem with their milk supply. But of course – once they start using formula without correct support, they often will start to send signals to their breasts to really reduce supply.
· You do not have low milk supply just because your baby won’t go the X number of hours between feeds that the book on your coffee table tells you they should. Or your mother-in-law. Or the X number of hours your friend’s baby is going between feeds.
A normal happy healthy baby who has a gorgeous mummy with a normal healthy milk supply might get hungry an hour after the last feed, or 90 minutes, or 45 minutes or two hours. They might be cluster feeding and hardly want to come off the breast at all. They might be having a growth spurt and feed every hour for a day.
·You do not have low milk supply because your breasts have stopped leaking. Some mothers leak less than others. MOST mothers notice that leaking reduces at the weeks go by and the teeny tiny sphincter muscles responsible tighten.
· You do not have low milk supply because your breasts feel softer than they used to. The excessive fullness we experience in the early days of breastfeeding is about vascular engorgement (blood and lymph) and it’s about the body inefficiently storing unnecessary amounts of milk between feeds. As time goes by, the breasts get cleverer at storage (don’t forget milk is also made while a baby is actually feeding). There is also less blood and lymph needed in the breasts as breast tissue growth slows down. At the beginning, it’s often very obvious which breast is going to be fed from next. That feeling goes. And many mothers mistakenly connect it with a reduction in milk supply. We are not all supposed to continue feeling heavy and full throughout our breastfeeding experience. Don’t ever think ‘I’ll wait to let my breasts fill up!’ Noooooo. This shows a misunderstanding of how lactation works to a spectacular degree. When breasts are fuller, milk production slows down. When breasts are emptier, milk production increases. Emptier softer breasts may well be making a heap more milk in a 24 hour period than the engorged full versions.
· You do not have low milk supply because your baby feeds for a short time. Plenty of babies get everything they need in under ten minutes. Probably not five – but sometimes a feed might even be five minutes long. Lots of babies use their tongue and jaw muscles super efficiently and gulp and glug and slow down as the milk gets fattier and thicker and then come off happy. It might take them nine minutes or nineteen. A baby might start off life needing 30 minutes to drain a breast (when we say ‘drain’, breasts are never completely empty, it just means the baby has taken out all the milk they usefully want to). As a baby gets older, this can dramatically reduce. It doesn’t mean less milk is going in. If a small sleepy jaundiced baby falls asleep very quickly at the breast without some solid minutes of good swallowing, that’s a different story. Overall however, a longer feed does not always mean a better one.
· You do not have low milk supply because you have small breasts. Large breasts are a combination of fatty tissue and glandular tissue. You cannot tell much about someone’s milk production by the size of the breasts. If you are really worried your breasts don’t ‘look right’, we’ll come back to this later.
· You do not have low milk supply just because your baby wakes up a lot. Plenty of young babies feed with similar intervals day and night. Plenty continue waking every 2-3 hours for a while.
· You do not have low milk supply because your baby won’t ‘go down’ after a feed. So you feed your baby and they drop off to sleep on the breast. You move them to the Moses basket and they wake up as if you just placed them on a sheet of molten lead. And they seem to be rooting again. This happens because being next to you skin-to-skin was nice and cosy and relaxing and warm and it smelt good. The Moses basket is cold and NOT YOU. You probably triggered the Moro startle reflex when you moved them. You probably moved them about 15-30 minutes after a feed when the hormone cholecystokinin had dropped in their blood stream causing them to be more wakeful. Your teeny primate mammal baby finds the breast a lovely place to be. They like to suck to relax themselves. Babies like second helpings. This does not mean you are not making enough milk.
· You do not have low milk supply because your baby will take milk out of a bottle after a feed. Put a teat against a young baby’s palate and you trigger that baby’s sucking reflex. Babies will usually continue to take milk beyond the point that they need it. This is one of the reasons we see links between bottlefeeding and obesity.
You do not have low milk supply you cannot feel your 'letdown' reflex (milk ejection reflex). Some women feel an electrical tingle at the point the milk lets down. Some don't. Crucially some feel it for the first few weeks and then it fades. This fading sometimes worries people. It does not mean anything has changed with your milk supply and it is perfectly normal for the sensation to go.
·You do not have low milk supply because you don’t pump very much milk. Pumping and breastfeeding are surprisingly unrelated. Your baby removes milk in a completely different way. Plenty of women with healthy milk supplies fail to pump much at all. Their bodies can’t be tricked into eliciting the milk ejection reflex (or ‘letdown’). Plus pumps don’t always work. Suction goes as valves get old.
These are the things that REALLY tell you a mother might have low milk supply:
· Weight gain problems. A newborn is born and then loses weight. They regain birth weight at around two weeks. They then put on about 150-200g a week after that. That slows down after around four months. If your newborn loses more than 10% of their body weight, we might pay attention but we’ll also want to look at things like your birth. Did you have a drip in labour that filled you and your baby with fluid? Did your gorgeous newborn look a wee bit like the Stay Puft marshmallow man in their first photos? That fluid elevated the birth weight and as it comes out again in the first few days, we might see more of a weight drop. That doesn’t necessarily mean feeding or supply is a problem. However we wouldn’t want your baby to lose weight after about day five or lose weight a second time. It might take some babies three weeks to get back up to birth weight.
Have a look at the chart in your red book. Notice how we have birth weight line and then a space where the curvy lines don’t go and they start again at week two. Just because your baby was born on the 75th percentile, that doesn’t mean we would expect them to definitely re-start on the 75th after that two week gap. That’s why the lines don’t continue. That’s why we have that space. We start again at two weeks. Your baby might be on the 50th then. They then ideally will roughly stick in the same vicinity. But babies wobble around a bit. They might dip below. They might get close to the 25th. And then they might bob back up again. We don’t expect all babies to hug a line exactly. This chart is a guide. It’s about averages. It’s not about mathematical certainties.
· Nappies. In the early days (first four weeks), we look at poo and pee. After your milk has come in (around day two to five), we’d expect to see six wet nappies in 24 hours and three poos the size of a £2 coin or bigger. After week four, some babies' poo rate can slow right down. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong. Some babies can skip several days between poos and this isn’t anything to do with milk transfer or supply. However if someone tells you it’s OK for a ten day old baby not to poo for a few days, don’t believe them. We’d need to investigate that situation. Only later on do we relax.
Weight gain and nappies. That’s it. Those are the only things that tell us about milk supply. You may hear people say that ‘babies should be settled after a feed’ but some babies get wind or need to poo or have reflux or wake up and want second helpings. Let’s be careful about even saying that. Let’s look at weight gain and nappies.
So let’s now assume you do have low milk supply. How many of you are still with me? I’m sorry if you are. I’m sorry if your baby only put on 60g last week and 90g or less or nothing the week before that and they are slipping down the percentiles. I’m sorry because I know how scary that can feel. Nothing feels like it matters more. There are things we can do.
1. Find people.
Find people who know about breastfeeding. Someone who tells you just to use formula in this situation is not who you need. If that’s all they can offer you, they don’t know about breastfeeding and you need someone else. You need someone who understands how lactation works. These people may actually still tell you to use some formula in some situations (or donor breastmilk) but they will do so alongside telling you how to protect and develop your milk supply. You also need people close to you to look after you. If you are going to do all the other stuff on this list, you need to have people who love you who will cook your dinner and run you a bath sometimes. And text you just before the weigh-in clinic next week to say they are thinking of you.
2. Breastfeeding M.O.T.
Someone like a breastfeeding counsellor or IBCLC (lactation consultant) should check your latch. You might not be sore and your nipples might not be misshapen after a feed but something still might be going wrong. Your latch needs checking. Is baby’s chin deep into the breast? Is baby’s body close to yours? Is baby’s ear/ shoulder/ hip in a line?
They shouldn’t just check your latch but look at your breastfeeding management. Are you feeding enough? Maybe your baby doesn’t show cues very strongly and someone told you to wait for them and you’re sometimes going four hours between feeds? Maybe you need to feed more frequently?
They may also need to take a closer look at your baby. Is there a reason why baby may not be transferring milk effectively? Is this someone who can look at baby's tongue, jaw and palate? Are they familiar with the term 'tongue tie' and especially 'posterior tongue tie'? Would they know what to do if there was one? That might mean suggesting an exaggerated latch or different positions or it might mean referring you to a tongue tie specialist.
When are you changing sides? Too quickly? (and baby is missing the fatty milk). OR did someone tell you to stick on one side forever to get that ‘hind milk’ and the baby is on 45 minutes without doing a heck of a lot? Maybe you need to change sides at 20-30 minutes instead and get baby a greater volume of milk overall and fatty milk overall. Both of these habits can cause weight gain problems. Get someone to help you recognise what swallowing looks like so you’ll know when to change sides and when good feeding has finished.
3. Google ‘breast compressions’. You’ll get to a video and handout from Dr Jack Newman. You can finish a feed with breast compressions and get an extra dose of fatty milk into baby.
4. You have 3 sides and 4 sides. This is ‘switch nursing’. Try and go back to the first side. There will be milk there. The more breastfeeding you do, the more milk you will make. The second time you return to that breast, the milk will be fattier and richer and you’ll send great signals to your body to make more.
5. Find time.
If you are going to build up your supply, get help. You can’t devote time to switch nursing and skin-to-skin when you have to go to Tesco to buy milk and pick up another child from school. If this is ‘Operation Milk supply’, who can help you? You’ll read people talking about a ‘babymoon’. Go to bed, they say. Just you and the baby. Feed lots. If that sounds appealing, go for it. Personally my babymoon would involve the sofa and box sets and crisps. However there’s no point in babymoooning until next Christmas if your latch and breastfeeding management are the issues. Get that checked first.
6. Using a pump.
Baby feeding effectively is first choice but pumps can be useful. You can pump on an emptier breast to send even more signals to your milk supply. But we’re not going to take a baby off the breast do be able to pump.
You don’t need to wash and sterilize a pump every time you use it. Pop it in a plastic bag and put it back into the fridge between pumping sessions. 10 minutes is ample. If you are pumping for 30 minutes and ‘nothing is coming’ out, you are not getting a letdown and you are not doing yourself any favours. Use hand expression before and after (google ‘Marmet hand expression’) and prepare the breasts with warm compresses and massage if you can. You can take an hour and do some ‘cluster pumping’ or ‘power pumping’. Pretend to be a baby having a cluster feed. Pump for ten minutes. Break for five. Pump again and repeat.
Just check your pump is the best one available. If it’s second hand or you have had it a while, it might need servicing or replacement parts. You also might want to consider hiring a hospital grade double electric pump from someone like www.ardobreastpumps.co.uk to give yourself the opportunity to pump both sides together as effectively as possible.
Pumping shouldn’t hurt. Make sure your flanges are the right size – that means they are the right diameter for the size of your nipple. Don’t think that cranking up the suction will automatically do better things. And don’t think, “I don’t want to pump because I will empty my breasts and baby will have less milk.” Certainly they might be less appreciative if you pump just before a feed is due and you leave them with an emptier breast full of thicker fattier milk but pumping overall will increase milk supply and stimulate milk production. You are not ‘taking their milk away’.
You might also be someone who always gets better results with just using hand expression so stick with that.
Of course, you might not want to pump at all and just focus on feeding baby more effectively and frequently.
Taking herbs and medication that increase milk supply. Not right for everyone but some women really feel they helped. You need to read about side effects and dosage on sites like kellymom.com. Fenugreek, blessed thistle and goat’s rue are popular. Some doctors prescribe domperidone in certain situations. These are never a substitute for good breast emptying and a breastfeeding MOT.
8. The science part.
In a book, this bit would be under a little flap as we’re only talking to a small group of people.
Did you have breast surgery?
Are your breasts very widely-spaced or asymmetrical, or very tubular with a bulging areola? Did they not really change much in pregnancy (or puberty)?
Do you have PCOS? Some women with PCOS (not all) have a reduced milk supply.
These are times when it’s worth finding an IBCLC and getting technical.
Some doctors will do hormonal testing for you. There are medications that can help develop breast tissue especially in pregnancy.
What about your thyroid levels? This is something relevant for more people than you might realise. If you are trying everything and low milk supply continues to be a problem, ask your doctor to check your thyroid levels. There are sometimes medical reasons mothers have a low milk supply and doctors and lactation consultants may be able to help you. These are not the most common reasons why people have low milk supply by a long shot. Hence the need for the flap.
Most people who genuinely have low milk supply got themselves into a pickle with using artificial nipples or not breastfeeding enough or breastfeeding ineffectively. And it can almost always be reversed.
Also remember that just because you had low milk supply in your first breastfeeding experience, it doesn’t mean a subsequent lactation will also be a struggle. The development of all that breast tissue first time round often helps.
Hold in your mind the fact that women can relactate after not breastfeeding at all for several weeks. We CAN send signals to increase supply again in the vast majority of cases. There are tons of us in real life and online who want to support you.
1. Play (and work) with them often.
This is the best way to teach children cooperation and self-restraint. The best way to help children learn to cooperate, when there is work that needs to be done, is to work with them.
Every moment of interactive play with an admired adult offers an opportunity for children to learn rules and limits. In the course of this play (and work), children come to understand that rules are necessary -- for safety and for living with others. To the dismay of many well-intentioned parents, most children do not learn good behavior from repeated talks or lectures.
A generation ago, developmental psychologists Eleanor Maccoby and Mary Parpal instructed parents to play each night with their children in whatever way their child wanted to play. Just two weeks later, these children more readily cooperated when asked to clean up their toys.
Since then, the importance of interactive play has been repeatedly demonstrated -- in clinical interventions for oppositional and defiant children, in preschool and kindergarten educational programs and in neuroscience research. I will discuss this research in more detail in future posts.
2. Express enthusiastic interest in your child's interests, even if these are not the interests you would choose.
Enthusiastic interest in our children's interests is a first principle of strengthening parent-child relationships -- and of fostering cooperative behavior. At the risk of being somewhat crass, we can think of enthusiastic interest as the deposit that we draw on when it is time to set limits. (Or, as the behavioral psychologist Alan Kazdin points out, the effectiveness of our time-outs depends largely on the quality of our time-ins.)
3. Repair moments of anger and misunderstanding.
When feelings of anger and unfairness linger, children are far more likely to become irritable, uncooperative and disrespectful. We should therefore set aside some time, every day, to repair angry interactions.
4. Engage them in problem solving.
Most common behavior problems are best solved proactively. Place the problem before your child and ask for her ideas. (For example, "We seem to have a problem every morning, when it's time to get ready for school. What do you think we can do about this?") Then, together, develop a plan. When we enlist children in solving problems, we have changed the channel. Instead of thinking about how they can get what they want, they begin to think, even if just for that moment, about how to solve a problem.
5. Teach them a language of emotion regulation and emotional intelligence.
Children behave well when they have learned to handle (or, as we now say, "regulate") the anxieties, frustrations and disappointments of everyday life -- when they come to learn that disappointments are disappointments, not catastrophes. They develop this ability through emotional dialogue.
Acknowledge their disappointments and frustrations. Talk with them about your own frustrations and disappointments -- and how you coped with them.
6. Teach them to wait.
Pamela Druckerman, in her entertaining account of parenting in contemporary Paris, observed that French parents, from a very early age, do not immediately meet a child's demands. Instead, they stress the importance of teaching children to wait. And, unlike American children, French kids don't throw food.
7. Offer encouragement, not criticism.
When you need to criticize, criticize thoughtfully and gently. Persistent criticism breeds resentment and defiance, which then undermine a child's initiative and sense of responsibility.
If we are frequently angry and critical, our children will not be well behaved, no matter how much discipline we provide.
8. When you have to say "No," say "No" calmly. Then, insist that they speak to you calmly.
Our mantra should be, "Johnny, when you're calm, we can talk about this."
9. Begin your sentences with "When..." or "As soon as...."
Too often, we begin our sentences, "If you don't...." This simple change of tone and grammar often makes a dramatic difference in the cooperativeness of young children.
Compromise is not giving in. When we compromise with children, we teach them to compromise -- to think about how their needs and the needs of others can be reconciled. Is there a more important lesson for children to learn, for all their future relationships?
11. Give them responsibilities.
Across cultures, children who are given responsibilities (for example, when they have chores or teach younger children) show more helpfulness and caring behavior toward others.
As a side benefit, they also begin to experience our point of view. They learn, firsthand, how annoying it is when you are trying to get things done and someone doesn't listen.
12. Teach them the importance of other people's feelings.
Respect for the needs and feelings of others is the foundation of moral behavior.
In a series of important studies, psychologist Ross Thompson and his colleagues found that the mothers of children with strong moral development spoke to their children in an emotion-rich language and made frequent references, not to rules and consequences, but to other people's feelings.
13. Let them know when their behavior is over the line.
Then, take a brief time-out. But it is really a time-out, with an opportunity to start over, to try again, to do better the next time.
14. Let them know that you are proud of them.
Especially for the good things they do for others.
15. Take time to listen.
Hear their side of the story. Tell them what is right about what they are saying or doing before you tell them what they are doing wrong.
When children feel that their concerns and grievances have been listened to and understood, they will make fewer, not more, demands. And we will have an easier time when it is time to say no.
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(HealthDay)—Two new studies further confirm the health benefits of breast-feeding.
One suggests that 6-year-olds who were breast-fed have a lower risk of ear, throat and sinus infections compared to bottle-fed infants, while the other finds a similar trend when it comes to allergies.
The research upholds the "many benefits of breast-feeding in the immediate newborn period," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She was not involved in the new studies.
The studies were published online Sept. 1 in the journal Pediatrics.
Current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics urge women to breast-feed baby exclusively for the first six months of life, and then combine breast milk and other foods until at least 12 months.
The two studies sought to determine if breast-feeding's health benefits lingered long after solid foods were introduced.
In one study, a group led by Dr. Ruowei Li, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at data on medical office visits for nearly 1,300 6-year-olds.
Compared to children who hadn't been breast-fed for an extended time, children who had been breast-fed for nine or more months had lower odds of contracting an infection of the ear, throat or sinus, the team said.
For example, the breast-fed children had 31 percent lower odds of developing an ear infection over the past year, 32 percent lower odds for a throat infection and 53 percent lower likelihood for a sinus infection, the CDC team found.
Wu also noted that, "there was a decrease in infections if the mothers had breast-fed and there was a greater decrease depending on the amount of breast-feeding."
Why the effect? Li's team noted that "human milk is the best source of nutrition for most newborns and infants. In addition, human milk provides immunologic protection against many infections during infancy."
The new study now suggests that, "breast-feeding may protect against ear, throat and sinus infections well beyond infancy," the researchers added.
In the second study, a team led by Dr. Stefano Luccioli, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, looked at the rate of "probable food allergies" in 6-year-olds.
They found that children who had been exclusively breast-fed for four months or more had about half the odds of developing a food allergy compared to children who had been breast-fed for a lesser amount of time.
As Wu noted, the finding did have one limitation, however. "While breast-feeding did not decrease food allergies in high-risk populations, such as families who already have a history of food allergy, there was a decrease in low-risk populations," she said.
Another expert said the studies provide valuable information.
Nina Eng, chief clinical dietitian at Plainview Hospital in Plainview, N.Y., said the findings "point out two of the many important benefits of breast-feeding."
"These articles provide evidence that should inspire new moms to breast-feed their children," she said.
I love when I can help families heal health challenges naturally.
Often I will get moms or grandmothers in the store asking about how to treat infant oral thrush holistically.
My protocol is as follows:
This treatment protocol is about 90% effective. It is 100% effective if the mother also balances out her food regime (refined sugar free, low fructose, high vegetable (ideally juicing), high quality fat and carbohydrates).
There is no need for harsh, suppressive pharmaceuticals. Most parents notice once a drug is removed, the thrush simply returns with a vengeance and the immune system has been further compromised by it.
Primarily, it is wise to support the body naturally to help the innate healing abilities do their fine work. Suppressive medicine is there as the last ditch effort, not the first step.
What many people do not realize is that the core issue at the center of women’s empowerment is the mother wound.
Difficulty and challenges between mothers and daughters are rampant and widespread but not openly spoken about. The taboo about speaking about the pain of the mother wound is what keeps it in place and keeps it hidden in shadow, festering and out of view.
What exactly is the mother wound?
The mother wound is the pain of being a woman passed down through generations of women in patriarchal cultures. And it includes the dysfunctional coping mechanisms that are used to process that pain.
The mother wound includes the pain of:
In our patriarchal, male-dominated culture women are conditioned to think of themselves as “less-than” and not deserving or worthy. This feeling of “less-than” has been internalized and passed down through countless generations of women.
The cultural atmosphere of female oppression puts daughters in a “double bind.”
Simply put, if a daughter internalizes her mother’s unconscious beliefs (which is some subtle form of “I’m not good enough”) then she has her mother’s approval but has in some way betrayed herself and her potential.
However, if she doesn’t internalize her mother’s unconscious beliefs in her own limitations but rather affirms her own power and potential, she is aware that her mother may unconsciously see this as a personal rejection.
The daughter doesn’t want to risk losing her mother’s love and approval, so internalizing these limiting, unconscious beliefs is a form of loyalty and emotional survival for the daughter.
It may feel dangerous for a woman to actualize her full potential because it may mean risking some form of rejection by her mother.
This is because the daughter may unconsciously sense that her full empowerment may trigger the mother’s sadness or rage at having had to give up parts of herself in her own life. Her compassion for her mother, a desire to please her, and a fear of conflict may cause her to convince herself that it’s safer to shrink and remain small.
A common objection to facing the mother wound is to “Let the past be in the past.” However, we never truly “escape” or bury the past. It lives in the present as the obstacles and challenges that we face every day. If we avoid dealing with the pain associated with one of THE most primary and foundational relationships in our lives, we are missing a pivotal opportunity to discover the truth of who we are and to authentically and joyfully live that truth.
Stereotypes that perpetuate the mother wound:
We all have sensed the pain that our mothers carry. And all of us are suspicious to some degree that we are partly to blame for her pain. Therein lies the guilt. This makes sense when considering the limited cognitive development of a child, which sees itself as the cause of all things. If we don’t address this unconscious belief as an adult, we may still be walking around with it and greatly limiting ourselves as a result.
The truth is that no child can save her mother.
No sacrifice a daughter makes will ever be enough to compensate for the high price her mother may have had to pay or for the losses she has accrued over the years, simply by being a woman and mother in this culture. And yet, this is what many women do for their mothers very early on in childhood: they unconsciously make a decision to not abandon or betray their mothers by becoming “too successful,” “too smart” or “too adventurous.” This decision is made out of love, loyalty and a true need for approval and emotional support from the mother.
Many of us confuse being loyal to our mothers with being loyal to their wounds, and thus, complicit in our own oppression.
These dynamics are very unconscious and they operate on a continuum. Even the most healthy, supportive mother/daughter relationships may have this dynamic to some degree by virtue of simply being women in this society. And for daughters who have mothers with serious issues (addictions, mental illness, etc.) the impact is can be very damaging and insidious.
Mothers must take responsibility and grieve their losses.
Being a mother in our society is unspeakably difficult. I’ve heard many women say “No one ever tells you how hard it is” and “Nothing prepares you for when you get home with the baby and realize what is being asked of you.” Our culture, especially the U.S., is very hard on mothers, offering little support and many are raising children alone.
Our society’s unspoken messages to mothers:
Mothers may unconsciously project deep rage towards their children in subtle ways. However, the rage really isn’t towards the children. The rage is towards the patriarchal society that requires women to sacrifice and utterly deplete themselves in order to mother a child.
And for a child who needs her mother, sacrificing herself in an effort to somehow ease her mother’s pain is often a subconscious decision made very early in life and not discovered as the cause of underlying issues until much later when she is an adult.
The mother wound exists because there is not a safe place for mothers to process their rage about the sacrifices that society has demanded of them. And because daughters still unconsciously fear rejection for choosing not to make those same sacrifices as previous generations.
In our society, there is no safe place for a mother to vent her rage. And so often it comes out unconsciously to one’s children. A daughter is a very potent target for a mother’s rage because the daughter has not yet had to give up her personhood for motherhood. The young daughter may remind the mother of her un-lived potential. And if the daughter feels worthy enough to reject some of the patriarchal mandates that the mother has had to swallow, then she can easily trigger that underground rage for the mother.
Of course, most mothers want what is best for their daughters. However, if a mother has not dealt with her own pain or come to terms with the sacrifices she has had to make, than her support for her daughter may be laced with traces of messages that subtly instill shame, guilt or obligation. They can seep out in the most benign situations, usually in some form of criticism or some form of bringing praise back to the mother. It’s not usually the content of the statement, but rather the energy with which it is conveyed that can carry hidden resentment.
The way for a mother to prevent directing her rage to her daughter and passing down the mother wound, is for the mother to fully grieve and mourn her own losses. And to make sure that she is not relying on her daughter as her main source of emotional support.
Mothers must mourn what they had to give up, what they wanted but will never have, what their children can never give them and the injustice of their situation. However, as unjust and unfair as it is, it is not the responsibility of the daughter to make amends for the mother’s losses or to feel obligated to sacrifice herself in the same ways. For mothers, It takes tremendous strength and integrity to do this. And mothers need support in this process.
Mothers liberate their daughters when they consciously process their own pain without making it their daughter’s problem. In this way, mothers free their daughters to pursue their dreams without guilt, shame or a sense of obligation.
When mothers unwittingly cause their daughters to feel responsible for their losses and to share in their pain, it creates a dysfunctional enmeshment, reinforcing the daughter’s view that she is not worthy of her dreams. And this supports a daughter’s view that her mother’s pain must somehow be her fault. This can cripple her in so many ways.
For daughters growing up in a patriarchal culture, there is a sense of having to choose between being empowered and being loved.
Most daughters choose to be loved instead of empowered because there is an ominous sense that being fully actualized and empowered may cause a grave loss of love from important people in their lives, specifically their mothers. So women stay small and un-fulfilled, unconsciously passing the mother wound to the next generation.
As a woman, there is a vague but powerful sense that your empowerment will injure your relationships. And women are taught to value relationships over everything else. We cling to the crumbs of our relationships, while our souls may be deeply longing for the fulfillment of our potential. But the truth is that our relationships alone can never adequately substitute for the hunger to live our lives fully.
The power dynamic at the center of the mother/daughter relationship is a taboo subject and the core issue at the center of the mother wound.
Much of this goes underground because of the many taboos and stereotypes about motherhood in this culture:
The truth is that mothers are human beings and all mothers having un-loving moments. And it’s true that there are mothers who are simply un-loving most of the time, whether because of addiction, mental illness or other struggles. Until we are willing to face these uncomfortable realities the mother wound will be in shadow and continue to be passed through the generations.
We all have patriarchy in us to some degree. We’ve had to ingest it to survive in this culture. When we’re ready to confront it fully in ourselves, we also confront it in others, including our mothers. This can be one of the most heart-wrenching of all situations we must face. But unless we are willing to go there, to address the mother wound, we are paying a very high price for the illusion of peace and empowerment.
What is the cost of not healing the mother wound?
The cost of not healing the mother wound is living your life indefinitely with:
There’s a lot of talk these days about ‘embodying the divine feminine’ and being an ‘awakened woman.’ But the reality is that we cannot be a strong container of the power of the divine feminine if we have not yet addressed the places within us where we have felt banished and in exile from the Feminine.
Let’s face it: Our first enounter with the Goddess was with our mothers. Until we have the courage to break the taboo and face the pain we have experienced in relation to our mothers, the divine feminine is another form of a fairy tale, a fantasy of rescue by a mother who is not coming. This keeps us in spiritual immaturity. We have to separate the human mother from the archetype in order to be true carriers of this energy. We have to de-construct the faulty structures within us before we can truly build new structures to hold it. Until we do this we remain stuck in a kind of limbo where our empowerment is short-lived and the only explanation for our predicament that seems to make sense is to blame ourselves.
If we avoid acknowledging the full impact of our mother’s pain on our lives, we still remain to some degree, children.
Coming into full empowerment requires looking at our relationship with our mothers and having the courage to separate out our own individual beliefs, values, thoughts from hers. It requires feeling the grief of having to witness the pain our mothers endured and processing our own legitimate pain that we endured as a result. This is so challenging but it is the beginning of real freedom.
Once we feel the pain it can be transformed and it will cease creating obstacles in our lives.
So what happens when women heal the mother wound?
As we heal the mother wound, the power dynamic is increasingly resolved because women are no longer asking one another to stay small to ease their own pain. The pain of living in patriarchy ceases to be taboo. We don’t have to pretend and hide behind false masks that hide our pain under a facade of effortlessly holding it together. The pain can then be seen as legitimate, embraced, processed and integrated and ultimately transformed into wisdom and power.
Once women increasingly process the pain of the mother wound, we can create safe places for women to express the truth of their pain and receive much needed support. Mothers and daughters can communicate with one another without fear that the truth of their feelings will break their relationship. The pain no longer needs to go underground and into shadow, where it manifests as manipulation, competition and self-hatred. Our pain can be grieved fully so that it can then turn into love, a love that manifests as fierce support of one another and deep self-acceptance, freeing us to be boldly authentic, creative and truly fulfilled.
When we heal the mother wound, we begin to grasp the stunning degree of impact a mother’s well-being has on the life of her child, especially in early childhood when the child and mother are still a single unit. Our mothers form the very basis of who we become: our beliefs start out as her beliefs, our habits start out as her habits. Some of this is so unconscious and fundamental, it is barely perceptible.
The mother wound is ultimately not about your mother. It’s about embracing yourself and your gifts without shame.
We address the mother wound because it is a critical part of self-actualization and saying YES to being the powerful and potent women that we are being called to become. Healing the mother wound is ultimately about acknowledging and honoring the foundation our mothers provided for our lives so that we can then fully focus on creating the unique lives that we authentically desire and know we are capable of creating.
Benefits of healing the mother wound:
We can confidently emerge into our own lives, with the energy and vitality to create what we desire without shame or guilt, but with passion, power, joy, confidence, and love.
For every human being, the very first wound of the heart was at the site of the mother, the feminine. And through the process of healing that wound, our hearts graduate from a compromised state of defensiveness and fear to a whole new level of love and power, which connects us to the divine heart of Life itself. We are from then on connected to the archetypal, collective heart that lives in all beings, and are carriers and transmitters of true compassion and love that the world needs right now. In this way, the mother wound is actually an opportunity and an initiation into the divine feminine. This is why it’s so crucial for women to heal the mother wound: Your personal healing and re-connection to the heart of life, by way of the feminine, affects the whole and supports our collective evolution.
© Bethany Webster 2013
View source here: http://womboflight.com/2014/01/18/why-its-crucial-for-women-to-heal-the-mother-wound/
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