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Motherhood Unfiltered: Maternal Mental Health and Self-Compassion

Hey Mama,


Do you shower your child with love? If so, you're doing a fantastic job.


pregnancy silhouette

Motherhood is no easy feat. But here's some good news: you don't have to do it all. It's tempting to compare yourself to the billions of moms on TikTok, Instagram, and at the YMCA. But guess what? They're not perfect either. We're all on this crazy ride together. Personally, I like to think of motherhood as a bit like sorority hazing. It's a tough initiation into a lifelong bond where we often feel judged, exhausted, and maybe a bit lacking in the self-care department. We're typically harder on ourselves than anyone else is. And while it might seem like we're in competition, the truth is, we're each other's biggest supporters. Because only we, as moms, truly understand what it's like to walk in each other's shoes.


This month at IVY Integrative, we're focusing on "Maternal Mental Health." As I write this, my firstborn son is about to turn 1 year old. Today, he's all smiles, the happiest little camper. But it hasn't always been this way.


baby in crib with pacifier side lying with white sheets

Tatum, or "Tater Tot" as we affectionately call him, had colic for 10 long months. As a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in gut health, it was heartbreaking to see my little one in such discomfort, knowing I couldn't fix it. We tried everything under the sun: topical ointments, oral medicines (both conventional and naturopathic), aromatherapies, sleep and feeding schedules, diet changes, exercises...you name it. But nothing seemed to help. I felt like a total failure. The only thing that brought him comfort was being held—specifically by me—while standing and bouncing. He would cry non-stop if I stopped bouncing, sat down, or even thought about putting him down. And trust me, we tried. He would cry for hours on end. His colic and constant need to be held (at a sturdy 25 pounds by 7 months, no less) eventually led to a strange foot pain for me. I ignored it for 2 months before finally seeing our podiatrist. Once again, I felt defeated. Not only could I not help my own child, but now I couldn't "cure" myself either.


"Are you in a lot of pain?" asked the podiatrist, concern etched on his face as he examined the x-ray.


"I mean, a little. It was enough to bring me in because it's become a constant bother."


"Your foot is broken," he stated firmly. "And it's not going to heal on its own. The bone will die, and you'll have permanent loss of sensation. You need surgery."


I couldn't wrap my head around how that was going to work. Tate was just starting to crawl and I could barely manage with two feet, let alone one. Balancing being a full-time mom and a full-time clinic owner/doctor was already pushing me to my limits.


But c'est la vie...surgery was the only option.


That same week, our retired NICU nurse babysitter left our home with a laundry list of suggestions for things I "should" be doing or buying for Tatum. Another weight of failure added to my plate. I couldn't take it anymore. I confided in her, "Thank you for the suggestions. I feel like I'm failing as a mom. I'm so busy that I don't have the time or energy to be intentional with everything I do for Tatum."


Her response changed everything for me: "I don't know how your generation keeps up with everything these days. There's just so much information overload. But the truth is, your child needs love more than anything else. And you love that baby boy to the moon and back."


A sigh of relief washed over me. Love. That's something I can do. Every day. And though I know I'm far from perfect at it, I strive to be present and to avoid the endless screens telling me I'm not doing enough.

.

I love him. And you love your child(ren).


We're doing great Mamas.


And if you need a little bit of extra self-care during this journey, we're here for ya. At IVY Integrative, you can work with one practitioner or build your own team of holistic practitioners! Check out our Get Started page to learn how to work with us!











Disclaimer:


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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