Vulnerability as part of self-care
For some reason, vulnerability seems to be associated with weakness or something negative, but I believe it to be a connection with our emotions and find NOTHING wrong with it. Vulnerability has gained a bad reputation because people don’t really understand the meaning of it. It is not about being weak or talking only about your feelings all the time. It is about connection. It is about knowing how you are feeling and being able to freely speak about these emotions knowing that it is okay to do so. Feeling comfortable with who you are and what you need is a huge part of it, as well as learning to understand these emotions and connect with them on a deeper level so you can take care of yourself.
When we are vulnerable, we are caring for ourselves because we connect to feel all of our emotions which is what helps us become more in tune with our self: something we're all striving for in one way or another.
“Vulnerability isn't good or bad. It's not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable.” I loved this quote so much because it really gave the word “vulnerability” the power it has always represented. So why are we so strict on the idea of not wanting to feel? Why are we so afraid of feeling? Connecting with ourselves so that we can connect better with others is one of the greatest benefits of vulnerability and until we stop seeing it as a weakness, we can start gaining power and strength from it.
Why encourage moms to be vulnerable?
As a mother, being vulnerable is one of the most powerful tools you can own. In my experience, it has become part of my self-care routine. Why? Because it allows me to connect with myself, with my baby, (and now my baby in my belly), my husband, and with those around me. Being vulnerable offers the visibility we need, especially as new mothers. There will be times where we will need to communicate our feelings and emotions, but before we do that, we must first connect with them.
Being vulnerable is part of being honest with yourself. It’s about sharing your passion and dreams, talking and setting boundaries with those you need to, asking for help when you need it, not holding on to your emotions but letting them be as they come. There is so much that comes with Motherhood and there are so many untold truths that makes us feel like we are alone in this journey. Yet, we are so far away from that belief.
When I first became a mom, I did not know how I was going to be a good mother to my baby. I fell into postpartum depression for more than 9 months because I was not able to connect with myself and my feelings and I felt like the worst mom ever. I did not allow myself to process these emotions of becoming a mother and all the responsibilities that came with it. The worse part of it was I was blaming everyone in my life for how I was feeling instead of owning my feelings and imperfections and taking responsibility for myself. I was constantly trying to change the people in my life instead of paying attention to what was going on with me and my emotions. I felt as if my life was falling apart. I was angry and depressed every day. And the truth is, I was mad because I did not know I needed to be vulnerable and feel all of this that I was feeling. I didn’t know I was allowed to talk about not feeling okay. Can you imagine having postpartum depression for 9 months due to holding on to your emotions because you were afraid to express them?
At the time I did not know this but the reason why I felt I could not talk about my feelings was because I had this limiting belief of thinking that if I said I was struggling or I could not do something, I would seem weak and people would look down on me for that. Where did this belief come from? From my childhood. From being taught that I needed to be strong and to me during this time, strong meant holding onto my feelings, stop hugging those I love, to express little to no emotions when something was not right or maybe just saying “I’m fine”, when I was clearly far from it. Little did I know I that tuning into my emotions and asking for helping and support would lead me to feeling and being stronger. When we ask for what we want because we know what we need, don’t we feel empowered? When we get what we need, don’t we feel stronger?
This might come as a surprise to you but the moment I started owning my imperfections and stopped trying to do it all and asking for help, support, and setting boundaries, my life turned around. It became clearer to me what I needed to do in order to thrive. This doesn’t mean that I started to feel amazing every single day, but from that day on I knew that when I would feel down, I needed to connect with myself in order to feel better.
What can you do to connect with yourself?
Don’t wait around for this to happen to you and start living your life as you deserve. You are worthy of living a beautiful and wonderful life today, now. You are allowed to care for yourself. Start owning your feelings and start being the best version of yourself. Stop blaming others and start changing what you can within you. Stop comparing yourself with other moms and start doing what works for you and your family. Setting the bar way too high on those expectations is not the path to a successful Motherhood journey. Take it one day at a time. Hear the noise, but don’t listen to it and find what works for you and your family. You do not need approval from anyone else but yourself.
How can you support other moms?
When a child is born, a woman is reborn. In this rebirth, a mother may think she has lost her identity as a woman because she believes to have transformed into a mother. Yet she has not. Motherhood is just another facet of who she is. Most of the time, a mother will get lost in her role and forget that she is first and foremost a woman before becoming a mother. We have the capability of reminding this to any mother and we have the ability to make her feel better by letting her know she has not lost her identity. She may feel lost, but truth is she never was, and you can be the one to guide her back into herself.
Mothers do not usually speak about their struggles. They mainly speak about their wins but in reality, we all struggle. This is what makes us mothers feel like we are alone. No one shares the raw parts of Motherhood. The physical changes in our body, the intimacy with our partner, the changes in our marriage, sleep deprivation, processing our birth experience and reality with a newborn, the anxiety, routines and so much more. The perfect mother we see on social media or on TV is NOT real. The perfect mother does not exist, and until we let go of the belief that there are moms that have it together all the time, we are going to be living in a fantasy with unrealistic expectations. No mother has it together 100% of the time and sharing your honest experience of Motherhood is one of the best gifts you can give a mother and make her feel supported.
Changing the narrative
As an integrative health coach and self-care advocate, I have learned that speaking the unfiltered, raw and honest truths about Motherhood has brought more and more moms together. I used to be ashamed of feeling a certain way or talking about certain taboo topics but today, I share my stories and my struggles just like this one in the hopes of helping other moms all around the world thrive and know they are not alone. One of my biggest intentions is for mothers to drop the mom guilt and loosen up on or let go of the expectations so they can be their best self and feel empowered. Going at your own pace is essential on this journey. I have always said this, and I will keep on saying it: Motherhood is not a race. Look within yourself and ask for support when you need it. Always do this from a place that is coming from love. Start by being vulnerable. Connect and remind yourself that you are not here to know everything, but you are here to learn.
Motherhood comes with a lot of unknowns and if there is something I have learned and could share with any mother it would be this: It is okay to be vulnerable. In fact, I recommend you dive into your emotions so that you can get to know and connect with yourself on a deeper level. It is okay to open up because you and your feelings matter.
Change your narrative. Eliminate those limiting beliefs that are telling you “you are a bad parent”, “you are not enough”, “you cannot do it”. If there is a magical power you have as woman, it is your intuition. Connect and listen to it; you deserve to take self-care action, feel empowered and be seen. Caring for yourself is also part of your health and there is no way you can care for others (AKA your family), if you are not caring for yourself first.