From Stress to Peace | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

stress peace

Being a first time mother was definitely an overwhelming experience from time to time. It was something way out of my comfort zone, something I had never done before. Even when I was pregnant, just ‘thinking’ of all the things I would have to do and change would send shivers down my spine. Will I do good enough? What if I make a mistake? What if there’s not enough time?

I experienced my childhood as being somewhat traumatic. I was very fearful and anything ‘new’ or ‘out of my comfort zone’ would set me off into fear, anxiety. Overtime, this accumulated into a general experience of myself as being inadequate and a victim. When I had my son and saw all the things that needed to be done, I would stress out in anticipation that things wouldn’t go smoothly, that it’d be difficult, that I’d do a bad job, etc. In a way, this seemed normal. Like, stress is a normal experience in life and is actually a good sign because it means you’re being ‘busy’ and ‘productive’.

In the end, I’d still get to everything I wanted or needed to get to. I’d even get to a point where I was no longer stressed out. But then…this just felt ‘off’. I must be missing something? I must be doing something wrong? This absence of stress must mean I am being soft on myself and slacking!!

When I looked at all the points that triggered a stress response, I saw that I accessed a belief that I wasn’t capable and adequate to direct what needed to be done. That things were just ‘too hard’ and ‘too much’ for me. Yet living in constant and continuous stress, well – then things really get hard and too much because the body just can’t keep up.

So what to do?

Every point of stress is actually an opportunity for myself to investigate my relationship towards that which I am experiencing stress towards. I can use these moments to specify myself. If I stress out about a particular task, I gift myself the opportunity to unconditionally carry it out and do the best I can. To gift myself to check whether my belief of inadequacy actually holds truth, and if I see that there is room for improvement, to set myself up to equip myself to be able to direct it better next time around.

How does this bring me to peace?

Well, in every factor of stress, there is something to learn about myself. That I can direct myself, that I can move myself to direct my world and reality effectively. And so piece by piece, I piece myself back together. And it that wholeness is peace – within bringing all the pieces that were missing – back together.

Do you Enjoy Motherhood?

Somewhere, in the first two years of Cesar’s life (and my new life as a mother) – I had a dream where Bernard visited me.

While he was there, from the get go I had placed myself in an experience of dissatisfaction, where my whole body language was clearly conveying that ‘I wasn’t enjoying myself’. Then suddenly he asked ‘So Leila, how are you enjoying motherhood?’

I was with my body turned away from him, making a pouty mouth – ready to make a complaining comment. But – there was something about Bernard asking you a question, which made the truth of you ring just a bit clearer for you to not be able to deny it.

As I wanted to open my mouth and speak – my whole demeanour dropped and softened. And I looked at him and said: I’m enjoying it. And he responded with that big grin smile of his.

And that was it.

What stood out for me in this dream, is how I have the tendency to want to complain, pity myself and seek ‘empathy’ from others – while if I look at my actual experience of myself: I am fine – and I am not just fine, but I am actually enjoying myself. This especially so for things that are challenging and trying – which the first two years of walking with Cesar definitely was.

Where, it’s almost as if just because things are hard and challenging, that I have the right to, and deserve to complain. That I should complain. That it’s expected of me to complain.

And the funny thing is – is that when I keep reacting this way, and keep playing out this pattern, then soon enough – the burden becomes real. It’s no longer just something I am playing out, pretending to be – I become it.

For myself, it was quite something to acknowledge, accept and embrace what I enjoy. That I, ‘out of all people’ was the one to have a child. That I, ‘out of all people’ really enjoyed walking with a child.

To stop fighting myself, where instead of keeping up with the idea of myself, to simply embrace and acknowledge that I do enjoy this. That if this experience is here and it is real – well, then it must be me! Lol.