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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Tough Points of Motherhood: Self-esteem

Dearest mothers,
Dearest family members,

Did you know that psychologists actually found out - through extensive research - that mothers self-esteem lowers drastically up to 3 years after birth?! I was thinking of Motherhood - as I often do nowadays - and how both myself and my friends who have had a baby, or more, changed along time.  I mean, bottom line you are the same person... I still love Star Wars, travelling, taking photos and writing on my blog... yet some things fundamentally change inside of you. You don't know when it happens, but it does. You carry a little, constantly growing, human being inside of you for 9 months and then there is the whole giving birth process... and then... then is when it hits you, when the baby is out: post partum! It's out, it's screaming, it's crying, it's constantly in want of your attention and it's taking your whole time, your whole life... but also your whole heart! Some people don't feel the need to have a bundle of joy and excitement in their life, they choose a different path, and I respect that and understand it. But everyone should also understand that, sometimes, women do need more attention/concern, especially if they are mothers, if they have birth.
This study was done in Netherlands, by the University of Tilburg, on 84.000 Norwegian women between 1999 and 2008 (that's 9 years!). The women completed multiple surveys along this time: 2 during pregnancy and 3 after the delivery, last one being when the baby turned 3 years (36 months after birth). A part of the women even completed the same survey before and after the birth of the 2nd-3rd-4th child. I think besides the main point of the study, showing that women having kids will have low self esteem for a very long while, it also shows (or at least that's what I think!) the degree of endurance that women have. Either that or we are too sentimental about the procreation... it shows that even though you go through hell being pregnant and delivering, even though you don't get much sleep or rest in the first months/years (depending on the baby), women are still able to carry on and take a deep breath and say... heck! Let's do this again! (They do look simply adorable when they are wee small! And the baby smell... priceless! - and I don't mean the poo!).
The team of researchers from the Uni in Tilburg found a pattern: during the pregnancy women experience a decline in their self esteem. It does come back (partially) after 6 months after giving birth, but immediately after it plunges again deep down and it never comes back to the T0 (T zero) point. Even after 3 years after birth it does not come back to its original state! Sad part is... researchers did not collect data further on so they can't say if women ever go back to that original moment, but women who had another child do manage to come back to that T0 moments before the cycle starts again. Now the causes can be multiple, ranging from physical changes to the body (growing with the baby and then handling the after birth weight), hormones, stress (about how the baby is developing, about the decisions one makes for the babies heath and wellbeing, about the future of the baby and the family in general). Add to that the additional stress you might experience from being an expat mum, being home away from home... that's a whole another level of stress being added.
You won't be able to have the fast flow exchange of info with the doctor / nurse / midwife, you might not understand 100% everything that is done, you won't have your family next to you... it's hard, but try to do an exercise of the things you DO have, the things that give you strength at that point: the fact that you DO understand the language, the fact that there IS medical care, the fact that you ARE in a sterile environment, that fact that the little bundle of joy is well and so are YOU! There are many tought points about motherhood that nobody tells you about (maybe not even your mother!) but that shouldn't stop you! You are stronger than you think! You are a Wonder Woman - you just need to rediscover yourself. Some of my friends laugh and say you can DO that once they turn 18-21... well... I surely hope I can prove they are wrong! Who's with me?!

Yours always very sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Her Ladybug Baby Girl