Sometimes I think self-compassion may be the most important aspect of mindfulness that I teach. When students first come to class, they often judge themselves and worry what others will think of their practice despite my reminding them that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to approach mindfulness. Over time, they learn to treat themselves with more kindness and caring like they would a friend. Instead of evaluating themselves negatively, they learn to appreciate themselves and their effort regardless of outcome.
This is also true of many moms and especially women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders who think they have to be perfect in order to be good moms. Last week, I got a FB comment from a postpartum mom about last Monday’s post on Paula Sims and it touched me so, I wanted to share it.
Here’s what she said,
“I think the mothers who are suffering with PMADs have not taken a freedom yet, and I am trying to get what I want and what I need, not what my culture wants. My culture tends to push a mom to be perfect, a supermom, and my journey to be a mom was not easy, and I felt I was a failure. In fact, my family said that what happened to me occurred because I was too inadequate and weak to be a mom. So, I hid my depression and tried to be a supermom and not to be weak but my illness got worse. Striving for perfection does not heal anything..
Finally, I put down my mask, speaking out to my friends and told them I experienced Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Psychosis. I said it is a medical condition and was not my fault. This is not what I expected…I don’t care what people around me say now. That is my freedom, putting down my mask, to not be perfect and to forgive my self,,love my self which I am starting to do..I love myself and am accepting my depression as part of my life’s journey, not a disaster,,
I am glad Paula Sims has forgiven herself, and I need to learn from her. My psychosis was different than Paula’s, but still very strong. When my son died at birth two years ago, I believed I had killed him even though my doctor said it was not my fault but a genetic abnormality. When my daughter was born, I told myself I was evil because I could not deliver her vaginally and was unsuccessful in breastfeeding her.
Now I realize, ‘Hey it is okay not be perfect.’ I FORGIVE myself and that’s my freedom. I will not let anybody tell me I’m a “bad mom” and lead me to do what I don’t want to..I have learned this.”
Your mindfulness practice for this week is to practice self-compassion always and gratitude for who you are despite your “imperfections.” Please listen to the video which follows.
Best to each of you. Namaste.