Losing "Control" in Postpartum: (It's more common than you think)

Oct 04, 2022

Feeling a loss of control and a strong loss of identity is more common for moms in postpartum than you may think. 

The loss of identity after having a baby (not recognizing yourself or feeling like you're missing out on your old life), is something SO MANY moms deal with. It can feel terrifying, and lead to a ton of mom guilt or mom rage.

For some, this loss starts in pregnancy as you face many physical changes (first trimester exhaustion anyone? whew!). For many, this comes during postpartum healing (postpartum depression is a very real thing).

It’s truly no surprise that nothing comes close to preparing you for the transition from self to mom. 

And this is precisely where the idea of "control" (in motherhood and in life) comes in to play.

Before children, you have “control” over your life:

  • You decide when you get up.
  • When you go out.
  • What you're going to do. 
  • And most importantly, you can do all these things & change your plans on a whim — without having to consider anyone else (for the most part).

You are responsible for YOU. And that is control! Or so we think.

It’s not until you have children (amongst a few other intense life occurrences) where you truly can see how illusionary the idea of control really is!

No matter how hard we try, we simply cannot control our newborn/ toddler/ child. 

All we can really do is guide and cultivate them, try to give them our best, and hope they make empowered choices. But we cannot make them do anything.

No matter how much I want to make my 4 month old go to sleep, I quite literally cannot “make” them. Even when 100 people give me their opinions and advice, all I can do is my best (and recognize that EVERY single child is different). This is where the power in NOT responding helps you a ton!

But this feeling of not being able to make things happen...this is when the frustration comes in. Because you, mom, can do everything “right” and still, nothing works! Or so we feel in the moment. 

This is when understanding the "illusion of control" (rather than truly believing you can control life) will become your best friend; especially when you feel like you're drowning (metaphorically) in motherhood.

Rock with me on this one…

There are two ways we can move through life: trying to control it (resistance) or moving with the flow (allowing).

In motherhood, there is SO much we are learning in real time that we aren’t truly prepared for. Colic, milk supply, hormones, a new family dynamic, mastitis, getting your baby to sleep, learning their different cries, understanding your own cries...the list is endless. And all of this is happening with little to no sleep.

That sleep deprivation in postpartum is unreal!

You can't quite understand it’s magnitude until you are in it. And when the brain is not getting enough oxygen, you’re literally not thinking like yourself.

When we aren’t thinking like ourselves, we don’t feel like ourselves. This is when we have lost our identity.

Identity is an accumulation of our memories, what we eat, what we dream, where we go…essentially it’s life experiences that we bundle into an understanding of who we are.

So when things get tough, and our body is in a constant state of fight or flight (stress), we run to our comfort zone (identity)...and we try to control things. 

The moment we try to control life (especially in postpartum as we are learning our babies and they are learning us), things really start to get sh*tty.

Babies very quickly teach you that you don’t have control over much. 

Before becoming a mom, you could just get up and go. But you didn’t have control over the temperature, traffic, other people...you catch my drift. Yes, you had more freedoms: but life was still happening (not being controlled by you). And this is something we aren’t really prepared for prior to becoming a mom.

The lack of feeling free is real…and it’s intense to all of a sudden be tied down to someone else’s schedule at every waking second (yea, I’m talking about your baby).

But once you’re in it, you have two choices:

You can either try to control everything and everyone and fight against what’s going on (resistance), or you can let that sh*t ride (allow).

The same way I talk about allowing in childbirth, and how much of a game changer this in during labor and birth (remember power over pain), this is the same thing that will truly impact you in the best way during postpartum and beyond.

The moment you can open up to the idea that you don’t own your child, but rather that you were chosen to help guide and cultivate them, this really helps you grapple with this flawed idea of control.

It doesn't mean your life will magically switch to "easy perfection like all the mom influencers have" (not real btw)...it simply helps redirect your energy. There's not much to spare during postpartum healing anyway.

We cannot control life. We can plan well, coordinate, and make wise choices with great outcomes.

Yes, we can impact things (making choices with consequences). But we aren’t controlling life. 

So let this be your "out" right now. The sign you needed you today, that helps you start to release this tight grip you have on controlling every detail of your motherhood journey.

No matter what anyone says, you cannot “make” your baby do anything. All you can do is your best.

And once you recognize that you don’t have to do and be all, once you really let it sink in that you don’t own your child, once you really accept that your child is their own human being (and not just your DNA or your legacy), then it really helps take the pressure off.

Pressure off what? The illusion of perfection in motherhood. 

And letting go of the idea of control, let’s free this idea of perfection.

You don’t have to control. You don’t have to be perfect. You don't have to get it “right”. 

All you have to do is live in gratitude for how beautiful you are, for this wonderful life you have, for the freedoms you posses (even if they’re altered now). Gratitude that you are alive right here, right now. And gratitude that you won’t be in this phase forever (whatever phase that is).

This is your season. It won’t be like this forever. So don’t try to control it. Just let that sh*t flow!

What you should do next:

 #1) Subscribe to my newsletter below for weekly tips, inspiration, tools, and truthful information to help you feel more confident and ready for your journey into and throughout motherhood.

#2) Click here to receive a FREE copy of my #1 most downloaded book: Birth Goddess. This book offers my top 10 tips to have an empowered and peaceful labor & childbirth.

#3) Start your course today! Join other birthing goddesses just like you who are stepping into their power and experiencing incredibly peaceful, trauma-free childbirth. After working with over 3,000 moms, I can honestly say there is something here for every one ;)

#4) Visit the Freakuency Fit Library. Want more information but not sure where to start? Browse the collection of books & audio books covering pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Find what you need to have the experience you deserve.

#5) Click here to grab a copy of "Wild Mama": 10 steps to self grace and love when you feel like you've lost your identity. A very powerful quick read for anyone hoping to add more grace, patience, joy, and forgiveness of self during your postpartum healing.

With love & light xo

Written by Danielle Jai Watson @DanielleJaiWatson

Founder/ Cosmic Doula @FreakuencyFit

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