When we hear the word betrayal we typically think of relationships and the betrayal of someone we love. Betrayal, however, is not that limited. For many women who are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, betrayal is personal. When our experiences do not line up with the ones we dreamed up and our body does not do things the way “everyone else’s” does we feel betrayed by ourselves, our bodies, our expectations, and our spirit. When this happens it is important to remember that you are not alone, many women before you, now and in the future have and will experience this pain. The question is how do we manage it?
Pregnancy is not always butterflies and lollipops. It is real, it is hard and it brings up so many emotions that we never thought we had.
Name it: This might sound crazy, but one of the first things that can help us when we feel pain is to name what it is. When we can recognize that we feel betrayed by ourselves we can begin to discover what we need to move forward. It helps us begin to get unstuck. Words that might show up for you: betrayal, grief, loss, disappointment, anger, sadness and so much more.
Grieve the losses: The betrayal of our bodies leaves us with feelings of loss. Before we are able to move on we have to recognize what we have lost and take time to grief those things. It is ok to cry, scream, and … this is normal
Reconnect with your body: After we take time to grieve we MUST reconnect. Honor your body and what it did, does, and can do. Use mindfulness, yoga, exercise, meditation, or other practice to take time with yourself and for yourself.
Talk about it: When we feel betrayed by our bodies it is natural to feel shame and want to run and hide from all the people we love hoping that they will not see “the real you”. When we talk about it and get our story out there, however, we get to normalize it, we get to be vulnerable and grow from our pain. What might surprise you is that when you talk with your partner, family, friends, or even colleagues you are likely to find another woman you know well who went or is going through these same things.
Find a community of other women: Mom’s need moms. Finding a group of supportive, nurturing women who just know what motherhood is like can make all the difference. Having someone who understands what it’s like to be exhausted, how frustrating it is to deal with toddler tantrums, and laugh with you when faced with yet another diaper mishap can be a life-saver for many mothers.
If this is you and you are struggling to work through your personal betrayal, it is also important to know when to get help. You do not have to do it alone. Counseling can be a great way to help you begin to move forward again. We are here to help.