Joyful Mothering, Identity and Self-Worth. What comes first?

Questions of motherhood are too often structured around deeply flawed arguments about what is “natural”.  That mothering should come completely naturally to a woman, that we should enjoy every single second of our mothering journey and always have that angelic smile on our face as we lift our beautiful children up to the sky with joy; like you see on television adverts.  A mother’s identity is being constructed through social culture and a “true-self” is being lost.  The impact this is having on the happiness of many new mothers is significant.  Rates of postnatal depression are rising and we are hearing more about other illnesses, like postnatal anxiety and postnatal stress disorders.

Motherhood is of course an evolving journey of a woman’s identity.  From a naively self-involved state of being able (on the most part) to do what you want to do when you want to do it to having to care for, think of, ensure the survival of another person (or people) when there are days when you are not sure which way is up because you are so tired and yet you still have to clean the dishes, vacuum the floor, walk the dog, work and represent a relatively sane and together presentation of a woman to your husband when he walks in the front door at teatime.

Then there is the penetrating, daunting question of “who will I become?”  And all of this amidst that social expectation of what a mother ought to be and ought to feel from the media; from trends like natural parenting, from the other mothers around you.  Much of this expectation radiates an unwavering vision of happiness – you are a mum, you have it all, you should be happy.

And yet, postnatal depression is the most common and serious disorder of the first year after childbirth. Rates are estimated at between 8 and 13% of women in New Zealand.  There is little information about prevalence rates of postnatal depression in Māori women, even though they appear to be at higher risk of postnatal depression than European women in New Zealand, so the true rate is undoubtedly higher.

The expectation of happiness is a burden.

The achievement of happiness is a key theme running through this year’s Green Living Show, scheduled for July 2 & 3 at the ASB Showgrounds, as our event showcases powerful seminars, activities and exhibitors that focus on supporting you to live rich and satisfying lives.

Jennifer Allen, founder of Jayayoga NZ, Senior Facilitator for Bliss Baby Yoga and Enlighten Sponsor of Be Fit Auckland at this year’s Show explains that a woman’s identity—as an individual, a woman, and a mother – is key to happiness.  “Motherhood calls upon us in the most divine of ways to cultivate stillness within ourselves in one of the most fluctuant times in our life.  A mother’s journey is constantly evolving, so we need tools to reconnect to our true selves and find the most still and quiet place within us.  It is here we will find the ability to be present in all other aspects of our life, as a wife, a mother, a co-worker, and a friend.”

Jennifer’s tool is of course Yoga and is scheduled to share her personal insight and extensive experience as a Yoga Teacher in her own unique Seminar at the Green Living Show 2016 called The ‘Mummy’ Movement – Reclaiming Your Identity After Children. 

Explore reconnection to yourself after the experience of birth and new motherhood with Jennifer at this valuable and personal presentation. Work with Jennifer to build an accessible ‘toolbox’ of practices (yoga, breath, mindfulness) to help you find the woman within that you recognise and love, and re-establish connection to your true self.