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Maiden to Matrescence


WHAT IS MATRESCENCE? First described by Dana Raphael in the 1970s, and then recently resurrected by Dr Aurelie Athan at Columbia University, Matrescence is the groundbreaking and revolutionary way we now understanding what happens to a woman when she becomes a mother. Matrescence changes the way we support a mother that finally acknowledges the physical, emotional, psychological, cultural and personal changes she goes through.

In other words....


It's The Revolutionary New Way Of Understanding, Valuing And Supporting Mothers That Finally Liberates Mothers From An Outdated View Of Who They Should Be And What It Means To Be A 'Good Mother'. Taken From https://www.amytaylorkabbaz.com/matrescence/


Recently I spoke at a mother's group on how to support our bodies and our nervous systems through matrescence; because for some, it can feel like a dark night of the soul. It can be the biggest developmental leap of your adult life, and can leave you questioning beleifs and conditioning that have got you this far, but no longer feel aligned as you step into your new iteration of yourself as a mother.



Here's some of what I had to say...


Matrescence

The biggest physical, mental, hormonal change outside adolescence. It's the adult version of a developmental leap in a sense, it changes our perception on everything and our values because these were all shaped from a place of only having ourselves to worry about, and now we have a small child to take responsibility for!! Just because you go through it once; doesn't necessarily mean you're done. You could go through it in varying ways each time you have a baby, or maybe you won't noticeably go through it until baby number 2, or 3...


How to support yourself through Matrescence;

Self care; holding space for yourself. If you cannot hold space for yourself then how can you expect anyone else to? If you cannot meet your own needs then how can you expect anyone else to even know that you have needs, let alone meet them?

I want you to think of self care as an act of saying to yourself; "I see you, I honour you, I know its tough but you’re doing a great job. This too shall pass…"


How can you give that to yourself in small windows of time throughout your day?

Is it handing bub to your partner and going for a solo walk, shower, sleep?? Is it lighting a candle or the diffuser in order to honour your emotions through our sense of smell?

Is it as simple as saying it to yourself when you get into bed? "I see you, I love you, thankyou for all you did today, you are amazing"


Nutrition

Again it comes back to self care and meeting your needs…

A few things that will help support hormonal changes etc through nutrition are eating regular meals… 3 times a day is fine, or if you’re more of a grazer and have smaller meals more often that’s fine too… whatever you can manage. But you want to aim for 3 meals minimum so your body doesn’t start to go into starvation stress.

Breakfast is most commonly skipped or the hardest one to find time for if we have older kids, so prepare the night before. Put the smoothie together so you just have to blend it in the morning, or prepare chia puddings or overnight oats so you just have to grab it out of the fridge. If all you can manage is a piece of toast, great! Have avocado on it so you’re getting some healthy fats in. Honestly id say don’t stress too much about what your putting in your mouth, just keep the meals/food intake regular.


Healthy fats

These are really overlooked as a superfood. They’re important for brain function and WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT! Healthy fats convert to slow release energy, they help stabilize mood and energy levels so you don’t crash and burn, and they’re also really good for hair, skin, nails etc and will help keep you level headed in regards to your hormone fluctuations. Make some nut balls to grab out of the fridge if you’re finding it tricky to get brekky or lunch at a reasonable hour.

If you’re eating lots of simple carbs; bread, pasta, cakes, pastries, packaged foods etc, or sweets they convert to sugar for your body to use as energy, any sugar that isn’t used then converts to fat. It will also impact your mood because you get a high, then a low, and you will crave more of that.


Hydration

Water intake!! So important!! Not only for getting good milk supply, but also for all our bodily processes, cell function, etc… it also helps to flush out excess waste and if we aren’t drinking enough, then there isn’t enough for all of those things to happen effectively and we will end up feeling sluggish, tired, irritable and even achey


Movement

Movement/exercise will energise you, as well as releasing endorphins (feel good hormones) energy creates energy so you’ll actually feel better for doing it. However be mindful that if your body is already in a stressed state, then rigorous exercise can make things worse, so stick with gentle things like walking or a few stretches and build from there as you start to feel really good in other areas. Simply getting out in the fresh air and going for a walk will make a huge difference to your mood, and vitamin d is really important for mood, hormones and immune health so its beneficial in so many ways just to go for a walk. Park the car and walk a few blocks to school pick up, or do drop off and go for a walk on your way home… let bubs have one of their day sleeps in the pram and go then, as long as that’s not when you’re stealing some nap time! Movement also helps activate your metabolism and lymphatic system so if you’re feeling sluggish it can be the perfect antidote.


Sleep!!

I know!! Dangerous territory here… but, can you meet your own needs, give yourself some self care In the form of more sleep? Where can you steal an hour here or there? Is it a day nap when the baby sleeps? Or getting to bed 30 mins or an hour earlier? Or even getting your partner to do the night shift once a week, or let you have a sleep in on Weekends? Get strategic with your sleep. Quality of sleep is also a big one. I find that doing a yoga nidra or some sort of guided meditation puts me to sleep and I wake up feeling better rested than when I don’t do it.


Intuition

Women are incredibly powerful, intuitive beings… society has tried to disconnect us from that because its so powerful. We are so powerful… so I'd invite you to reconnect with that. People will tell you that you know your baby best. You innately know when something isn’t right and I encourage you to trust that knowing. Even when medical professionals or whatever the case may be tell you that you are wrong.


Also; practice dropping into your heart space and asking your intuition; "what does my body need today?" or "what do I need in this moment? To help me cope/honour my own needs or hold space for myself?"


And most importantly, create a village around you and reach out for support when you need it!! You are not alone in this Mama. XXX


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