As a mother, it is really important that you know how to ask for what you need. But before you can ask for what you need, you need to know what you need.

Perhaps one of the reasons we are so quick to say, “No thanks, I’m good” to those who offer us help is because we have no idea what we really need.

I don’t mean what you should need.

I don’t mean what you are supposed to need.

I don’t mean what you need to do.

I don’t mean what you think others need of you.

I mean your deep down, honest needs.

Do you know what you need?

It is hard to know what you really truly, deeply need unless it is knocking you to the ground.  

For example, you know you need a nap when you are so exhausted you are weeping because every fiber of your body hurts. Or, you know you need to eat when you realize it is three o’clock in the afternoon and you have had three Oreos all day.

Here is how I figure out what I need:

I stop whatever I am doing. I am still and I often, but not always, close my eyes. I breathe. Then I slow my breath. I am still. I ask myself, “What do I need?”

If my mind is too noisy to pinpoint what I need, I back up a moment. 

I am still. I breathe. I ask myself, “What do I feel? What do I physically feel in my body that is telling me how I feel emotionally?”

Once I can determine what I am feeling, I can ask “what do I need” with a similar question. I ask myself, “how can I balance out what I am feeling?”

Let’s practice.

Example 1: I’m acting like an angry bitch with very little patience. 

“What do I need?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do I feel?”

“My hands feel shaky. My stomach feels tight. It is hard to take a deep breath. I feel anxious.”

“What do I need?” 

“I need to get rid of this yucky feeling in my body so I can figure out what is making me so freaking anxious.”

“What do I need to get rid of the yucky feeling?”

“I need to be alone for ten minutes.”

Then I give myself permission to get myself what I need. 

Then, and only then, can I ask someone else to help me get what I need. 

“Hon, can you please be the primary eyeballs on our child for 20 minutes? I need to go take a moment to be alone.”

Example 2: I can’t get off the couch. I am so exhausted I can’t even bring myself to brush my teeth.

“What do I need?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do I feel?”

“I feel heavy. My body feels like it is a bag of sand, but my stomach feels hollow. I feel sad and lonely.”

“What do I need to get rid of this yucky feeling?”

“I need a friend to talk to.”

Now you can give yourself what you need by asking for what you need. “Hey, Victoria. Are you free to chat? I feel like a pile of hot garbage over here and I could really use a friend.”

Now that you know what you need, ask someone to help you. Need a friend who “gets it” but not sure who to ask? Start building your breastfeeding community. If you are local to Delaware, Breastfeeding Support Group every Friday at 1:00 pm at The Birth Center is a great place to start. Not local? Join the Balanced Breastfeeding Club to connect with other mamas who value safe, realistic, and kind breastfeeding and mothering support.

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