Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Holistic Shame and Guilt

Holistic with Drawbacks

Santa Cruz is a real hot spot for natural health and holistic healing. Weíre lucky to live in such a place. On the other hand, there are some drawbacks too. There can be heaps of shame involved with not living up to what you believe is the right, correct, best, most holistic, natural, and healthy way to live. Mothers especially, can suffer unnecessarily when this shame and guilt shows up in the area of birthing, breastfeeding, and caring for their own sick bodies.

Birthing Guilt-Free
So many of us go into our pregnancies with organic foods, supplements, natural birth, and home birth plans in place. Our beliefs often go like this: babies and mothers do best when the birth process is a natural one, done at home or in the hospital/birthing center, with no drugs, having a doula present, and with a midwife, etc. But birth can be a painful, scary process that requires the kind of surrender that sometimes a woman can only achieve through the assistance of medication - even in the easiest of births. Taking care of yourself by getting whatever you need, so you can get through a difficult situation, shows your personal power, and is not something to be ashamed of.

Baby Feeding Guilt-Free
Next, how many women feel guilt and shame over feeding their babies formula rather than breast milk? I loved breastfeeding, and as a new mother, I could never understand why any mother would not want to have that enjoyable experience. But as I've grown as a parent, so have many of my closed-minded opinions about parenting. Truly, if someone for some reason, canít breastfeed or has to supplement her milk or has to take some medication sheís afraid to pass along or even if she just doesnít want to bother with breastfeeding, why should she feel guilty about her choice? But did you also realize that if you don't want to grow your own organic vegetables just so you can make your own organic baby food, you really don't have to do that either? The job of motherhood is hard enough without all the shoulds we place on ourselves.

Physical Healing Guilt-Free
Last but not least, if you are dealing with a difficult symptom thatís messing with your quality of life and your ability to care for your family, and your natural medicine hasn't totally helped, I say itís time to scrap the holistic doctor and seek some western medicine. You donít need to struggle through, soldier on, and push your way around daily depression, anxiety, or pain if the natural way isnít giving you the immediate relief you need and deserve. Get help for yourself now, so you can enjoy this brief, fleeting stage of your life. There's no shame in being able to be in the moment, there for your life when it's happening, rather than regretting never having lived it.

Be Flexible
There are so many ways that we apply pressure on ourselves as mothers but the ďnaturalĒ thing is supposed to help us, not hurt us. Donít let it get out of hand. Be flexible with yourself and gentle with each other. Know that there is a place for both organic ways of living and a place and time when other choices need to be made for the greater good of your family. You deserve to be happy and they do too.

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Free Tips