It’s so hard for me to be focused at the moment. My mind is jumping from one thing to the other. I start Blog’s posts and I don’t finish them, I open my Instagram account and finds excuse not to develop it (like, first I have to watch a 101 Insta Youtube video), I want to carry on in my Doula training but find myself on Netflix instead… So this morning, I decided I’m going to write a Post right now ! And it’s about the Postpartum’s Gremlins : Shame and Guilt.
Postpartum’s Gremlins are very little vicious thoughts monsters. They make you feel lost in your identity. They roll over your self-confidence. Paint over your new learning and resources so can’t recognize them for what their are : new treasures inside of you.
There are plenty of them, different for everyone depending on the area(s) you are usually hard on yourself. For examples you feel you are disorganized, irresponsible, weak, ignorant, you don’t like your body etc.
But there are two big mafia bosses that are ruling over the other Gremlins. They are the Big Dark Villains of all the good stories. And almost every parent has to tackle with, at some kind of level.
The Big Postpartum’s Gremlins are :
Shame and Guilt.
They are super powerful when you become new parents because you are definitely far from your comfort zone. You are in the deep jungle with no previous experience. Prepared the best you could but there is only 10% of the stuffs that you put in your backpack that are really useful. Plus you have to deal with a lot of new urgent tasks to do, coming one after the other (like spiders and snakes falling from trees if you want to carry on with the jungle metaphor). There is NO time to take another perspective! Plus you have little sleep to recover and recharge. And Cherry on top, everyone else seems to know better than you how to do this and they keep giving you advice that are all different !
So you can already take a stop there and appreciate that : You are a fucking Warrior.esse just going through this !!
Our Big Postpartum’s Gremlins, Shame and Guilt, they are just feeding on that. You being in the jungle without having time to look back and appreciate how far you’ve gone. How proud you can be of what you achieved.
It’s easy to catch those Gremlins into action.
They are the one in you saying what you should have done or say better, what and how you did wrong, how you are not [insert a quality here] enough. Or just NOT enough.
But it’s not easy to get ride of them. As I already said, those postpartum’s Gremlins are vicious and they have an ultimate defense program.
Let’s say you got some seconds to reflect and you see them. How Shame and Guilt are telling what you should have/could have. The moment you put the light on them, they are going to get their mirrors back to you. And add, just like that another layer of Guilt and Shame.
It goes like that :
1- You’ll feel even more ashamed to be trapped in self-depreciation.You can’t to confess that to anyone.
2- You feel guilt toward your newborn who probably felt you being in low energy. You should pull yourself together for his/her well-being.
3- You haven’t heard other parents dealing with their gremlins has bad as you, you’re obviously Not good enough.
See what I’m talking about ?
Now, I don’t have magical solutions to get ride of them overnight but here are some tracks to follow to make them shut up more often.
1- Talk about
Not talking make those guys grow bigger and more powerful. Talk to your partner, you are brothers/sisters in arms there. Your partner is probably feeling hers/his own gremlins. And it really helps to know where the other is emotionally in a couple.
Then, find your ultimate support person who’s able to listen to you, not judge you and tell how great and strong you are.
2- Look Back
I mean, really. Take a moment to remind yourself the last weeks or months since the birth of your baby. Feel and see all the things you learned, all the challenges you’ve met and some that you resolved. Give yourself credit for at least having been through all of this.
I guide an exercise about visualization with my clients where you take 60 to 90min to really trace back the journey you did. It’s incredible how powerful it is. One session already helps you to take another perspective on things and make you feel more self-confident.
If you’re interested, Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3- Understand your Gremlins
Have you heard about Brené Brown ? She did an amazing research work on shame and it’s from her I took the “gremlins” concept. I read her book Daring greatly and it really helped me having more self-love and less triggers for shame to hold on to. In her book, she explains what are shame’s trigger, how does it come bigger, why does everyone struggle with it. And how to be more vulnerable is the solution to live a more fulfilling life. She gives a lots of tips and her book, is easy to read. (she makes a parallele between teaching on the shame subject and Pr Snape in the Harry Potter’s books, she got me there !).
What is great is that Brené Brown explains that she struggles as well with being vulnerable which makes you feel you can do it as well.
If you have time, read the book.
If not, go to see her Ted Talks here and there. And there are plenty of podcasts as well.
4-Observe your Gremlins, lovingly
I know, I know.
3 years ago, I was reading Play from your fucking heart from Jerry Hyde (which is also a great book, by the way) and at the end of each chapter, he will conclude by : Observe yourself lovingly. I got stuck there for while cause I couldn’t understand. If I observe myself-> I judge-> I’m not loving.
We saw, the Postpartum’s Gremlins have a strategy to fire back at you in putting you in shame and guilt for… feeling shameful and guilty. The only way to get out of there is to treat yourself a you would treat your best friend. Like, if your best friend tells you about his/her struggle with parenting, would not you answer something like : “Yeah and you could have done THIS better”. Or : “Pfff and think about what you are doing to your baby !”
[Actually, some people DO that. You don’t have to meet them for the moment. They have usually good intention and want to bring a solution to you but that’s not what you need now]
So hopefully, you wouldn’t say something like that. You would reassure him/her, tell how well they did, make them look at how well their baby looks like…
So do the same with yourself. When you catch the gremlins into action that’s already great ! You know it’s not the truth but just one of the voice of your mind. Then, try to back fire with how you can be proud of yourself having done this journey so far. Or sending you a bit of self-love like : Alright, I’m not perfect and it’s ok. I’m doing my best, and that’s good enough.
Course it’s not always working. But the more you do it, the more you trust it !
With Love and admiration,