Updated: Mar 28
Language matters. How finding out about the word matrescence helped to make sense of what I had gone through when I became a mother.
What is wrong with me? I asked myself time and time again in the depths of my mama burnout and I hear it too often in my health coaching practice. We are in the middle of an epidemic of overwhelm, self-doubt, anxiety and burnout that seems to be hitting mums the hardest. According to recent statistics, mums are nearly 30% more likely to suffer from burnout than dads.
It does not matter whether you are a working or stay-at-home mum, whether you have a newborn, teen or even adult offspring who still depend on you. There is an underlying feeling of something not being ok which over time becomes part of our identity. Our generation grew up believing that as women we could have it all but we also needed to do it all in order to get there. How are we supposed to make it all happen?
It wasn’t until I became aware of the concept of matrescence that what I went through made sense.
When a woman becomes a mother, she too is birthed.
This huge transformation is psychological, emotional and spiritual in nature, and carries on for as long as you are raising children. Society has completely ignored this process. It is yet another area of women’s health that is underserved.
Without this awareness, we internalize the expectations placed on us believing that if we just pushed harder, we would do better. However, by doing this we risk falling into physical, emotional and psychological misalignment - hello burnout!
Seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as insomnia, allergies and IBS, to name a few, pile up (read my What is Burnout article if you want to find out more about the spectrum of symptoms experienced in burnout). These are all red flags that your body is in survival mode, releasing stress hormones that affect every cell’s optimal function, leading to chronic illnesses and premature aging.
So, what can we do to nourish ourselves during our matrescence?
If burnout is misalignment, we need to tend to our natural rhythms to restore balance.
Here are my quick tips on how to nourish yourself back to balance:
🩸Tune your body into the infradian rhythm (menstrual cycle): eat, move, work and play in a cyclical way.
🥗 Focus on whole, anti-inflammatory foods and balanced meals to support your metabolism.
🧘♂️Nourish your nervous system back to safety. Try meditation, journaling, breathing and start to free yourself of toxic beliefs about motherhood holding you back.
🤝 Build a mum community, ask for help and stop comparing yourself to others.
🚫Create boundaries and systems to support your needs.
Us mothers are the ultimate healers but we need to start with ourselves. Give yourself the time, compassion and understanding to discover the new person you are becoming. You are worth it.