Would you consider yourself a high achiever? It may come as a surprise but being a high achiever when it comes to having a baby may not be to your advantage.
In my work as a clinical psychotherapist I see men and women who at times find life overwhelming. They are unable to self regulate or manage big emotions. What they often share in common is that they are considered high achievers.
The majority of these clients are parents. We are a generation dependent on external experiences to make us happy and this isn't working. High achievers do very well controlling their environment, taking charge of the situation at hand. When they can't control the situation this new territory throws high achievers into chaos and they can fall short of skills, further attempt to control the situation stirs up unmanageable feelings. You can see how having a baby can be a challenge.
It may not be like this for all mothers or all high achievers. But the majority of women describe utter shock at becoming a parent, describing that they were just not prepared.
Training as a psychotherapist & practitioner for the last 10 years in parenting and attachment was extensive preparation for my own journey into motherhood. In order to share my years of experience I focus on the most effective tools I've learnt and share them with new families. Processes that can help have an immediate positive impact. I break down everything that I have found successful and deliver it in bite sized chunks. From protecting the relationship, to knowing what it is exactly your baby is communicating when just days old.
Although becoming a mother didn't hit me like a truck I did and still do have my moments. Sleep deprived and depleted like all mothers, my behaviour reflected this. I told my husband he was useless, thought that at times I was useless. So I've definitely been unreasonable, but never felt shocked or blindsided which I know to be so common. Why is this? Two things, firstly I was prepared to surrender to the role of motherhood and secondly through the exploration of meaning.
It feels somewhat underwhelming to reduce the task of growing a human to what it means exactly, perhaps even a waste of time; choosing to opt for a minute by minute manual of how to care for your baby instead. But the meaning is about the most important thing you can hold onto when parenting. I hate that it sounds like a therapy cliché by saying 'what does it mean to you', but really what does being a parent mean to you?