Thursday, February 29, 2024

Embracing Maternal Mental Health: A Journey to Self-Care

Embracing Maternal Mental Health: A Journey to Self-Care
Photo Credited to Alicia Berg and Anna Nowak

This October, as we observe Depression and Mental Health Awareness Month, we sat down with Anna Nowak and Alicia Berg, the founders of Made Hot STHLM AB, to delve into the critical issue of maternal mental health and the importance of self-care for mothers. At Made Hot, Anna and Alicia have made it their mission to create a safe space for women to discuss the challenges they face daily. They believe that by sharing their stories and experiences, women can not only support one another but also learn and grow together. It’s a refreshing perspective that acknowledges the struggles of modern motherhood.

Shattering the Silence: Postpartum Depression and the Power of Sharing

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a term familiar to many, yet it remains shrouded in silence. Anna and Alicia encourage women to open up about their experiences with PPD, emphasizing that it’s a common and normal part of the journey. Seeking help and talking about it can be a vital step toward healing. However, the founders of Made Hot want to take the conversation a step further. They recognize that the challenges mothers face don’t end with PPD; they persist throughout the motherhood journey. The early days of sweet baby smells and tiny clothes eventually give way to a relentless balancing act.

Self-Care: A Necessity, Not a Luxury, for Mother

Embracing Maternal Mental Health: A Journey to Self-Care
Photo Credited to Alicia Berg and Anna Nowak

Mothers are expected to excel in multiple roles simultaneously – as partners, caregivers, employees, and friends. Society’s expectations often weigh heavily on them, pressuring them to provide for their families, maintain a picture-perfect life, and make time for everyone, including themselves. Anna and Alicia understand that mothers often find themselves stretched thin, unable to fulfill every role and meet every need. Their message is simple but powerful: it’s okay not to be everything for everyone all the time. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Mothers need self-care, love, attention, silence, and patience from others. They deserve to pursue their dream careers and embrace their sexuality. The love they give to their families is immeasurable, but they must remember that they can’t pour from an empty cup.

The ‘Lay in Your Own Love’ Exercise: Reconnecting with Self in Just Five Minutes

It’s time for mothers to prioritize themselves, to take a step back, and to breathe. Made Hot encourages women to look within and identify their needs, to reconnect with what makes them unique. Whether it’s pursuing a fulfilling career or dedicating themselves to motherhood, they should embrace their femininity and prioritize self-fulfillment. Anna and Alicia share a powerful exercise, the “Lay in Your Own Love” by one of their coaches Taryn Jade.

The ‘Lay in Your Own Love’ Exercise Steps:

Lay down comfortably in a quiet space by yourself- with yourself.

Put both hands over your chest and heart, rest their weight on you, as if you are holding yourself with the care you would a loved one. Feel that care on you.

Breathe in.

Follow your breath in, under your hands, and into your chest.

Notice if you feel your heartbeat.

Feel your own presence, your own company, the essence that is “you” felt by others in your company.

Say (aloud or in your head) and repeat the word LOVE using different tones and speeds.

Notice what feels best for you. Goofily, lighthearted, a whisper, deep or a caring sensual manner?

Notice your relationship to the word, and how you say it, how you hear it, where it travels to as you ‘listen’ to it.

What does the word hold for you?

Do you feel it somewhere, somehow?

Notice any sensations in your body as you say it. Waves, warmth, tingles, peace, calm, happiness, maybe even feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Now say “I love you” as if it were to a loved one, but to yourself.

Again, play with different tones. Listen to yourself.

Do you believe in yourself?

Start to feel your relationship with “love”.

Notice your level of love within.. is it easy or hard to access?

Maybe it feels strange, unbelievable or awkward?

Play around with what it takes to light it up.. faces.. memories.. passions.

Lay in your own love, whether you find it uncomfortable or not.

Let it be whatever it is, something you are just now noticing, there with yourself, your own relationship to your own love.

..Remember, you are building on it as you become more aware.

Here, in this exercise you can see and build the relationship with your own love as you become more aware and create space and time attuning to it.

Practice.

FEEL where you feel it in your body, how do you feel it in your body?

How does it move? Do you see it as a color?

Here you can start to understand and shift your idea of “love” and your connection with “love”, both the feeling, and your personal association with the word and its meaning to You.

Here is where to build the relationship with self and feelings to develop this “self love” people talk about.

I recommend you keep looking at your own relationship with LOVE, your ‘self love’ and if you want to increase your love levels in life, keep repeating this exercise to feel yourself.

Work on your relationship with yourself. It is the most important, interesting, and invaluable relationship to invest in.

This exercise is designed to help mothers reconnect with themselves and cultivate self-love. In just five minutes, this exercise offers an opportunity for mothers to realign their minds, release anxiety and depression, and learn to love their bodies, minds, and hearts. The impact of incorporating such practices into daily life cannot be underestimated. Motherhood touches every facet of a woman’s existence, and it’s essential to view oneself with love and light. Anna and Alicia remind mothers that it’s time to put themselves first, embrace self-love, and embark on their journey of self-fulfillment.

As mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and friends, women carry a tremendous burden. Made Hot invites women to walk this journey together, providing support and guidance along the way. Anna and Alicia are not just trailblazers in forging healthy relationships; they are women who understand the struggles, challenges, and joys of motherhood. They encourage all mothers to invest in the most important and valuable relationship of all – the one they have with themselves. By working on self-love and embracing self-care, mothers can not only become the best versions of themselves but also inspire their families to do the same. It’s time to prioritize self-care, love oneself, and shine as the strong, resilient women that mothers truly are. Made Hot is here to support every step of that empowering journey.

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