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8 tips to cope with rejection

Babies reject moms sometimes. Shocking but true.

Moms may cook, clean, bathe, feed, change the baby. They may be spending maximum time with the baby. However, baby may be still want to be with dad or grandma. They may cry when parted or cry to be with them.

Why do babies do this?

Maybe he associates fun with dad. Maybe grandma is gentler in handling him. Maybe grandad picks him up whenever asked. Who can really understand babies?

But one thing is certain. It hurts. A lot.

It almost feels like a betrayal. Moms spend all time with babies only to be rejected. The feeling of somehow having failed or inadequate slowly creeps in and begins to take hold. Somedays it gets unbearable and a breakdown is the only release.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are the steps to cope with rejection.

  1. You are adequate
    • Do your best everyday. When feeling of failure strikes, remind yourself that you did the best you could that day. If the baby is well fed, healthy and happy, you are doing a good job. Period.
    • Repeat the Mantra “I have been chosen to be the mom for the baby. I am the best for him”.
  2. Find humor
    • When baby cries for someone else, try to smile and see the baby for the baby he is. We don’t say acting like a baby for nothing!
  3. Accept and stay in the moment.
    • Remind yourself the preference is just for that moment. It is most likely a phase that will pass.
  4. Empathize
    • Tune into when and why he cries for the other person. Is there a pattern? Does dad always pick him up, a better mimic? Is grandma’s touch soothing?
  5. Stay true to yourself
    • Do not copy what the other person does. If lacking, you should certainly improve yourself, like being more gentle. But always be true to yourself. Don’t try to change your style just for the baby. It’s a lesson the baby will learn soon enough.
  6. Practice unconditional love.
    • This is the essence of parenting. Your hurt is a manifestation of your expectation that baby should be most attached to you. Perhaps because you are the primary caregiver. However, love and respect can never be demanded from a child. Your role is only to love and respect irrespective of its reciprocation. Parent the baby because you enjoy it, to savor every moment of joy from observing a small human grow, to love an innocence like no other. Not because it’s your duty, not because of your need to be loved.
  7. Love yourself
    • Unconditional love demands that you learn to love yourself, free yourself from dependency. Sing, dance, paint, write. Do whatever gives you pleasure, lets you stay in the moment, allows your emotions to melt. Be a child and let it all out.
    • Talk to people who love you – friends, parents. Know that you are lovable and genuinely loved.
    • Remember. The best gift you can give your child is a happy parent.

Have you had to contend with rejection? How did you cope? Let’s talk about that!

Birth plan illusion

I love the concept of birth plan. It allows you to imagine the perfect birth as you envision it. It helps weigh your options, ensures everybody is on the same page. There is no ambiguity. It feels like you are in control.

As with anything in life, control is an illusion.

The reality is you can never really plan for a birth. You can only wish for a certain type of birth.

Expectant parents spend a lot of time considering options, talking to concerned people, invest love and energy into making a plan. That’s very good and essential. It avoids last minute panic and uninformed decisions.

But when a plan is made, it is hard not to imagine the ideal scenario, visualize it and feel a deep sense of connection with the future and the baby. So much so, that when things don’t go according to the plan, moms begin to treat themselves as a failure! They feel guilty for taking pain relief if unplanned, or if c section is warranted.

Moms! Please ensure a certain detachment with the plan. Once made, accept that it can go any way. You have done everything you could and that’s that. During the delivery, tell yourself that how you bring up the child is important, not how you bring the child into the world. Surrender, accept. There is really no other option. It will make the delivery experience so much more pleasant, memorable.

In that sense, we need to rename birth plan to birth wish – for that’s what it really is.

Would you agree? Let’s talk about that!

5 steps to resolve fights

Children provoke us probably more than adults because of their emotional immaturity. (Refer to my previous post for details on why and how we shouldn’t behave.)

However, as parents, it is imperative that we stay calm. Think of it as going to your safe room in your mind when hit with the emotional storm. You wait out the storm, assess the damage and repair with the best means available to you. What you don’t do is stand unguarded in the storm and let yourself be carried away too.

How do we access this safe place? How do we stay calm.

  • Opportunity in distress
    • Just as with any self improvement project, progress happens slowly with practice. In that way, the more you are exposed, the better you can manage! Consider every fight and disagreement as a practice opportunity. Be it with your partner or boss or family.
  • Know yourself
    • If the provocation is totally a lie, we can get angry. If there is some truth in it, we get furious. For it is ourselves that we are angry at. We get defensive. It is vital to distinguish between the two. If true, we need to humbly accept after tuning out the exaggerations. Accepting the truth liberates us to act on changing ourselves. It also frees us from anger for the person just stated a fact.
    • This usually happens in retrospect. After the dust settles on every fight, analyze objectively . Take help from candid friends if unable to do this.
  • Practice silence
    • Pause before you react. Let the storm pass. Listen to everything said.
    • Take time to filter the actual accusation, cause for anger.
    • It is important to tell the child that you are pausing to understand what was just said. They should not feel ignored as it is a direct disrespect to the child.
    • Unconditional love develops with this practice. We begin to separate the behavior and words from the child. We understand they need help and guidance (not more anger). You put your love for them before your bruised ego and tell yourself that these words are meant only for the moment, but you love your child forever.
  • Empathize
    • State clearly what you understood of the situation. “You really wanted to go for the night out. My objection to it has disappointed you especially when all your friends are going. I understand. I might have been too.
    • This follows knowing yourself. As you analyze your own emotions, you begin to understand others’ too.
  • Problem solve mutually
    • Share your concerns and difficulties honestly. Ask specific questions that give you and the child perspective
    • “I had planned the meeting almost a month back and as it involves many people it is very hard to find another time. That’s why I can’t drive you to the place. I am really sorry about it. I wish I could reschedule as I don’t want to disappoint you. But I can’t see any other way. Can you help with a solution?”
    • The child in most cases understands. “Oh! Ok mom. I’ll go next time.”
    • Don’t offer bribes or bargains. “Next time let’s host the night out!” Or “you are such a darling. Let’s get you a candy”. This trivializes their understanding of an adult situation. A simple thank you conveys respect. It also makes them believe they helped out and increase their self worth.

Do these tips help you? Would you change anything? Let’s talk about that!

When Children Provoke

People provoke. They utter statements meant to touch a raw nerve, to inflict hurt, enrage us or put us on the defensive. To assign or shift blame or shame us.

Why do people provoke?

They don’t know how to express or handle strong feelings. These may be feelings of being wronged, disappointment. Or we might have unknowingly touched their raw nerve.

Such provocations quickly escalate into uncontrolled fights with both parties feeling indignant and furious. It’s only time that brings sense to at least one member to initiate remedial measures.

Children provoke too.

“You don’t love me.”” You are a bad mommy. I wish she was my mommy”. “You always do it just to hurt me.”

What happens with children though? Children, being powerless, bear the brunt of our fury as punishments. Some of them very harsh. They are in no position to initiate a remedy.

See the difference? The onus is entirely on us to handle these strong emotions for them.

Do children really mean these statements? At that moment may be. Only that moment. We ignore this aspect, take it personally, even though we are the adult. We reason first, yell next and finally punish.

When we ourselves can’t handle strong emotions, the least we can do is to accept that children can’t either. Children will need time for their brains to mature enough to regulate their emotions.

We though, have no such constraints. We can change starting today. So how do we handle deliberate provocations? Wait for the next post!

Meanwhile, tell me how you handle such situations?  Let’s talk about that!

Interview – Lisa Gold, Psychotherapist, on her miscarriage experience

The silence around miscarriage is deafening especially considering how common it is. Although incredibly difficult to re-live the loss, talking about it is essential and empowering. It provides a release, allows for embracing all emotions and is the first step to healing.

With that as the intent, presented here is an interview of Lisa Gold about her personal miscarriage experience.

Lisa Gold is a Psychotherapist from Michigan, USA. She works in private practice with people who struggle with anxiety, depression, relationships, stress, transitions, women’s issues and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. 

She is the mother of a 10 month old daughter and savours every moment of it. She loves taking nature walks with family and enjoys yoga and cooking.

I sincerely thank Lisa for agreeing to talk about such a difficult topic. She is an inspiring role model for other moms to open up, accept and heal.

This interview is about coping with a miscarriage. It is hard sharing something so personal. Please tell us what made you agree to talk about it. 

Honestly, I am not really sure what made me agree to talk about my miscarriage. One night, when I was having a hard time falling asleep, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by @solidstarts that had caught my eye. It was a picture of a woman leaning over as if she were hugging herself but there was a hole in her stomach. In the caption, Jenny shared her experience of having a miscarriage and how this picture spoke to her at the time. It helped her feel seen.

Miscarriage feels like there is a hole in the womb and women bending over in grief
Miscarriage emotion art

Honestly, seeing that picture and reading her caption made me feel seen as well so I commented on the post. The next thing I knew, I received an email from you reaching out and kindly asking if I would share my story.

As a psychotherapist who works with women who struggle with perinatal mood disorders, I know how lonely and isolating pregnancy loss can feel. But yet, I still have a hard time sharing my experience with many people.

How did you know you suffered a miscarriage? 

When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, we were over the moon and filled with so much excitement! I had called the doctor the next day and they instructed me to come in about 3 weeks later based on the date of my last missed period.

By the time we had our first appointment, we had only told my mom and two of my closest friends. I tend to be superstitious and I remember telling my two friends, “Don’t get too excited just yet, we have to get the pregnancy confirmed by the doctor tomorrow” even though I was still so beyond excited! I told them I would let them know how the doctor appointment went once it was over the next day.
My mind had completely jumped ahead to calculating the due date and all the changes and accommodations we would have to make in order to prepare for the baby!

My husband and I went in for the ultrasound and were completely caught off guard when the technician became silent. She basically hinted that something was wrong but said she was not allowed to let us know and that the doctor would be in to speak to us. My heart sank. The doctor took a look at my ultrasound and informed us that it looked as though there was an empty sac, meaning, the fetus may have not developed. However, my HCG levels said otherwise. They told me to come back in a few days and if my HCG levels had doubled, then this would be a viable pregnancy.

I remember having multiple missed calls and texts from my eager friends to see how the doctor appointment went but I couldn’t bring myself to even look at my phone. I was in a state of shock. I couldn’t respond to them because I felt like I couldn’t’ even function, let alone, put this into words.

A few days later I went in to get my blood drawn again and nervously waited to get a phone call with my results the following day. I remember getting a call from the nurse, who informed me that “based off of [my] HCG levels and the way [my] ultrasound looked, it was likely that [I] had a molar pregnancy”. When I asked her what that meant, she told me I had cancer. I literally dropped to my knees and was in complete disbelief. I knew in my heart that I did not have cancer. I then asked several clarifying questions and then demanded I speak to a doctor.

Eventually, I was able to speak to the doctor, who reassured me this was not a molar pregnancy and that it was a “missed miscarriage”. She explained that this meant my body was still in fact pregnant, however it was not a viable pregnancy and my body just hadn’t realized it yet (hence, why there was no cramping or bleeding and why I was experiencing all the pregnancy symptoms).

The doctor reassured me that there was nothing I could have done to cause this. I clearly remember her saying, “trust me, if there was an actual way for you to cause a miscarriage, abortion would not even need to be a thing”. She also told me that 1 in 8 pregnancies end in a miscarriage, but I honestly didn’t believe her at the time. She then walked me through my options, which included taking a medication to allow the fetus to pass at home or to have a D&C in the hospital, which is what I ultimately chose to do.

What were your immediate emotions?

Through that experience, I was just in complete shock and I had so much anxiety. It was about a full week between getting that first ultrasound and then the blood draw and that was really hard. I just felt like I could not catch my breath for that entire week.
I remember feeling so protective of my little baby right from the beginning.

When the doctor first told me this might be a miscarriage, I just assumed that automatically meant I wasn’t pregnant. I was already feeling the symptoms, so I felt almost stupid. I remember telling her, “but I am pregnant” over and over again. The doctor reassured me that I was pregnant, it’s just that the fetus did not form.

What helped you cope with the news at the time?

Someone close to me had actually gone through a miscarriage 3 weeks prior to my miscarriage. I remember she had been texting me while I was at the doctors office (she did not know I was pregnant). As soon as I found out the news, I remember walking out of the office and texting her back saying something along the lines of, “I don’t know how to say this. I was pregnant and now they’re telling me I am having a miscarriage”. That friend literally dropped everything, ran out of work and drove straight to my home. She let me share my experience, helped me process the complete shock I was experiencing and cried on the couch with me for hours. I’ll never forget it.

Continue reading “Interview – Lisa Gold, Psychotherapist, on her miscarriage experience”