Support groups have been around for ages, often made up of people experiencing something in common, such as depression or anxiety. These days, support groups for mums in London typically consist of the traditional NCT group, Facebook page (which let’s be honest is often more about flogging your old baby clothes than really being there for one another), someone you may’ve met through a mums’ ‘dating’ app or friends and family who don’t always have the time or empathy to listen to how you’re feeling.
When I first learned I was pregnant, I had so many mixed emotions – jumping often from joy to fear in the span of a few minutes. I was lucky enough to have friends with slightly older children but I often felt like they had forgotten what it had felt like to be newly pregnant. And now that my daughter is 1 I notice that I too have lost touch a bit with those feelings of vulnerability and trepidation that I had only over a year ago.
My parents and husband too were a great support but I noticed that when I shared my anxieties with my mum she would often tell me things like “don’t worry…everything will be fine..” which is often what mums tell their children. However, what is really needed in those moments is someone to say “tell me how you’re feeling” and to listen and support you in exploring those feelings without necessarily trying to fix anything. What is needed is some validation of those feelings and an opportunity to give them a voice and some space. Even today when new stresses arise as my child grows, I am often met with advice from others such as “it’ll get easier…just give it time…” which, of course, may be true but it’s not really what I need to hear.
This is why I think it is vitally important that pregnant women and mums with children of all ages have a safe space to share with each other people what they’re feeling. This should be a dedicated space in which discussions around feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, uncertainty and even fear can be expressed freely and without judgement. We also know from science that sharing feelings in a group helps to rewire the brain towards happiness more quickly and that just hearing that others are experiencing similar things to us can make us feel so much better.
No one should ever feel that they are alone in what they are feeling. Being a mum comes with lots of joy but also stress and normal feelings of perhaps not being good enough, feeling overwhemed and…dare I say it…feelings of not enjoying being a parent from time to time. Believe me, we’ve all been there and it’s ok not to just have those doubts and uncertainties. It’s also ok to feel like you can share those thoughts and feelings with others.
Joyful Mums is a support group for mums at all stages of motherhood. We use meditation, NLP, coaching, brain science techniques and good old fashioned ‘feeling our feelings’ to rewire the brain away from stress and towards joy. Group meetings are held in person in Wimbledon and online via Skype. http://inner-balance-therapies.com