Beth Wilson's advice:
New Moms, shocked to discover your little one doesn't come with operating instructions and you're feeling overwhelmed and in need of a woman's group, the wisdom of the ages and a close friend rolled into one? Beth Wilson's best-selling meditation book series can be just the lifeline you need.
1. Some people say pregnancy is the easiest part of motherhood. What makes this transition so difficult?
Beth: Like it or not, becoming a mother doesn't instantly make a woman a mother any more than having a piano makes one a pianist. It is a life-altering transition that changes a woman's lifestyle, her ability to manage her time, and puts demands on her that she may have never contended with before. Her world is permanently altered in ways she couldn't have imagined and the mixture of joy and elation, frustration and anxiety can be overwhelming.
2. What changes? Almost everything, right?
Beth: Yes! Almost everything: her relationship with her husband, her need to juggle competing demands, her feelings about her body and self-perception, her sex life (Erma Bombeck: "The only reason I'd take up jogging is to hear heavy breathing again.)…and, of course, her sleep patterns. A newborn touches every aspect of a woman's life.
3. Can it be difficult for a new mother to admit she's having difficulties?
Beth: Absolutely! The same skills a woman uses in the boardroom don't necessarily transfer into the nursery room, and even if a woman is accustomed to being in a more nurturing role it is more likely than not that her new baby will throw her some curve balls that she may not be prepared to handle. For example, what if your child has colic or won't take naps? A new mother may not know what to do….and then she may feel guilty that he's unsure and this can be incredibly stressful. Some mothers feel so incapable of handling their new responsibilities-especailly if they're aspiring to images of SuperMom--that they isolate themselves, afraid others will judge them.
4. And even if a mother does handle all these changes well, isn't it common for most new mothers to feel unsure of themselves and, at times, inadequate to the task at hand?
Beth: You bet! Most new mothers compare their insides to other mothers' outsides, often coming up short. In other words, they feel their own doubts and fears, asking themselves in their minds, "Am I doing this right?" as though there is one correct way to raise a child, assuming that all those mothers "out there" are somehow managing better than they are when, in truth, most new mothers feel uncertain and have a tendency to doubt their capabilities. It's a futile mental game that gets moms caught up in unnecessary comparisons. I really encourage new mothers to be gentle with themselves during this incredibly important phase of their new life.
5. What can a new mother do to feel more confident?
First of all, they can realize that most new moms are experiencing the same thing they are whether it is apparent or not. Believe me, when moms step into my office, the truth comes out! We celebrate successes as well as tackle the challenges-and every mom has them!
Secondly, keep a sense of humor. Two examples: My "poop on the ceiling story" and projectile vomiting story (waiting for my little angel's head to spin!)
Third, savor the joy, the bliss, the incredibly intimate moments that you share with your little one. Revel in the amazing miracle of it all! As cliché as it sounds, they won't last and before you know it they'll be ditching you for Mylie Cyrus or at the very least, for a plastic replica of her!
Fourth, enlist support! Have friends take your baby out of the house so you can nap. Ask for babysitter referrals, join a mother's play group….keep your lifelines open. Get Dad involved if he isn't already and Reach out!
Fifth, remember, while we tend to focus on all of the external changes in terms of juggling a career and family life, altering our daily routine, incorporating doctor's visits and car seats into the mix, new moms are experiencing profound inner changes; some are empowering while others can create a mini-identity crisis.
Sixth: Ditch the Guilt. I often remind new moms that it's normal to feel resentful of the demands on your time. If you're sleep deprived, it's not unusual to be cranky (I've known the most prim and proper ladies to swear like sailor after the second night feeding!) to expect yourself to always feel totally elated even though you're in love with this delicious miniature person is unrealistic. Embrace the paradox!!
About Beth Wilson:
Beth Wilson is a best-selling author, speaker, integrative life coach and women's empowerment expert whose active involvement with parenting and women's issues, as well as personal growth and change, gives her a unique perspective on the challenges facing men, women and families today.
Wilson is the author of the best-selling book, Meditations For New Mothers (1992), which was featured on the front page of The Wall St. Journal due to its volume sales in the first five months of publication. Currently, it has sold more than 800,000 copies and been translated into 15 different languages.
The success of Wilson's first book was followed by publication of Meditations For Mothers Of Toddlers (1995), Meditations During Pregnancy (2001), Restoring Balance To A Mother's Busy Life (1996) and Creating Balance In Your Child's Life (1999).
Wilson is currently finishing her latest book, He's Just No Good For You: A Guide To Leaving A Destructive Relationship, expected in January 2009.
Wilson is also the host of "Quantum Leaps," the popular Internet radio talk show with an international audience that airs on Voice America, the leading live Internet talk radio broadcaster. After initially airing on Voice America's Women's Network, where it became the top-rated show in just 10 weeks, the Internet broadcaster moved the show - which offers listeners a new path for self-empowerment - to its flagship channel in May 2008.
At the same time, Wilson launched a new website, www.bethwilsonlifecoach.com, as a companion to the radio show. In addition to expanding upon the conversations Wilson has with callers to her show and life coaching clients, the website lets visitors sign up for a free bi-weekly ezine, "Teaming with Life," which covers personal growth and health topics.
Wilson earned her B.A. in International Relations from Oberlin College. Upon graduating, she worked as a legislative assistant for former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who was the only woman on the prestigious and powerful Armed Services Committee. As part of her duties, Wilson drafted legislation, floor statements and speeches on Congresswoman Schroeder's behalf and "learned first-hand, how challenging it was to operate in a man's world, and how misunderstood 'woman's issues' truly are."
Wilson's client list includes politicians, celebrities, scholars, royals, Olympians, models, parents, journalists and financial executives. She also has formed an extensive international network of physicians, osteopaths, nurses, healthcare practitioners, therapists, and social workers who utilize her skills for individualized wellness programs.
Wilson conducts life coaching sessions over the phone and travels extensively to meet with clients in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. Based in Mountain View, Calif., and the mother of three children, she enjoys distance swimming, film and traveling in her spare time.