Listening Mothers: Calm, Cool and Attached (Even When That Little One Wails)
Filed under: Baby
Editor's Note: Science has shown that the early patterns we set can help or hinder our parenting for years beyond. Many new parents want the tools and support to help create a relationship of trust and attachment with their babies, and to learn to mindfully manage the stress and pressure that often comes with the world's toughest yet most rewarding job. As part of the launch of our new BabyMap portal, I spoke with facilitators from Listening Mothers (LM), an eight-week program of the Community of Mindful Parents that helps new parents reduce stress and increase well-being. We've assembled a Q & A that peeks into what this approach is all about, plus some tips that parents can use with children of any age.
Meet our virtual panel:
Rama Ronen, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist trained in Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy. She works at the Entelechy Wellness Center with expectant, new, and experienced mothers. "Mindfulness" is integrated throughout her practice.
"Wow, is it challenging to be a mom these days? Absolutely! As a mom of three and from listening to other moms I find it at time overwhelming to trust what is “right” and what is wrong. I would like to encourage all of us to become more familiar with that critical voice and practice being kind to one’s self and remember that we are doing the best that we can."
Gigi Wickwire is a mom to a new baby, a LM facilitator since 2011, a registered nurse with a master’s in clinical social work and a former doula.
“Being in baby time — going slower than the culture what might want us to go — is so complementary to a mindfulness practice. It’s made the word of different in my relationship with my son. There is something pretty exquisite when we pause and listen with our inner listening.”
Yaffa Maritz is a co-founder of Listening Mothers and clinical director of both Listening Mothers and Reflective Parenting, and she is founder and director of the Community of Mindful Parents. Maritz was born and trained in Israel as a clinical psychologist. She is also a licensed mental health counselor trained in infant mental health.
"We know from research that mother's touch enhances attachment between mother and her baby. It can signify security and can generate positive emotions. We especially encourage mothers to experiment with what we call "reflective touch," which follows the guidelines of our program and is a way of conveying a respectful, empathic, sensitive ways of relating."
Why are we so stressed today as parents?
In our competitive society today we all feel somehow less than adequate, and mothers instinctively want to be the best mothers they can be so that their child will thrive. But they are feeling great pressure both from the inside themselves and from the outside to perform in a certain “perfect” way. Because of that pressure, they end up with a barrage of self-doubt and self-judgment.
In our groups we help mothers develop skills to become more mindful so they can notice those judgmental and highly critical thoughts when they come and go and then understand that they, as mothers, are bigger and better than those crippling thoughts.