You already know about the Bitch Mama and the Brave Mama aka Ego and Intuition, right? If not, make sure you go back and read that blog first. Ego is the big, loud mouthed, mean, bitchy voice in your head that reminds you on a regular basis that you aren’t trying hard enough, doing enough, nursing enough, pumping enough. It is really easy to let that Bitch Mama in your head convince you that you aren’t enough.
Now, I am going to take this a step further. Once Bitchy Mama gets on a roll, she takes control of your thoughts. A thought, if thought frequently enough, becomes a belief. So, even though you may not know it, those thoughts that you are thinking over and over again have become your new reality.
From thoughts and beliefs come emotion. So, while you are having all these thoughts which become your beliefs, you are feeling a certain way when you decide to take action.
There are 22 emotions as described in the book Ask and it is Given. If you like all this mindset stuff, I highly recommend the book.
The basic gist is that you want to do your very best to make decisions from a place of faith, not fear.
I am going to get a little whack-a-doo on you for a moment. Stay with me, ok?
Emotions 1-7 are the “high vibration” emotions. Think happy, blissful, contented, confident. Your body feels light, relaxed. It is easy to smile, laugh and cry happy tears.
Emotions 8-22 are “low vibration” emotions. Think down, depressed, sad. Your body feels heavy and tight. Actions feels burdensome. It is easy to cry sad tears, lose your temper, panic.
Thoughts and beliefs guide your actions and your actions are colored by your state of emotion.
So, here is an example. Baby is nursing and starts to become fussy at the breast. Your baby has been growing and thriving, but you tend to worry about not having enough milk. So, as the baby is fussing, you start thinking to yourself.
THOUGHTS: “She isn’t happy at the breast. She must not be getting enough to eat from me.She always seems unsatisfied at the breast. I bet she never gets enough from me. I always seem to fall short of my goals, no matter what I try to do. I don’t know why I even tried to breastfeed. I should have know this wouldn’t work out for me.”
BELIEFS: I don’t make enough milk. I am not enough for my baby. I am not enough.
EMOTION: Fear, doubt,
ACTION: If you allow this line of thinking to overcome you, you may end up making an unnecessary, fear based decision such as supplementing with formula unnecessarily, pumping excessively or frantically calling the pediatrician.
Do you see how quickly your thoughts become your beliefs which affect your emotions and guide your actions?
Your thoughts become beliefs and your beliefs lead to action.
Therefore, whatever you think is true.
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
— Henry Ford.
I am not claiming that if you have positive thoughts and stay in a place of faith that you can ignore reality and never supplement your baby with formula. Sometimes, supplementing with formula is necessary. BUT, you can make that choice from a place of confidence, assurance and faith that it is the right choice and you are in control of that choice. That using formula is not the end of breastfeeding, but a tool to help you achieve your ultimate breastfeeding goal. This is often why new mothers get really really upset when their pediatrician, mother-in-law, nurse or a stranger on the street tells them to supplement with formula, but doesn’t take it quite as hard when I ask her to. It is because I make a specific effort to make sure mom is in a positive place when this decision is made. It seems like such an insignificant thing, but it isn’t. The state of your emotion when making important decisions colors the whole experience.
** This activity is to stark curiosity, not self-judgement. Each and every one of us has thoughts that dictate our beliefs and our emotions, not just you. I promise.
1. Bring an awareness to how your thoughts dictate your beliefs.
Do thoughts such as “my baby is fussy at the breast. He still seems hungry even though he just breastfed” become beliefs such as “I don’t make enough milk. My baby is going to wean early.”
2. Notice how your thoughts change your emotions. Notice how quickly this can happen.
3. Feel how that emotion feels in your body. What would you call that emotion? Where does it fall on the list of 22 emotions?
4. Attempt to change this emotion and return to one of the 1-8 emotions. If you are successful, how does that feel in your body?
In what state of emotion do you prefer to live your life?
Next, let’s talk about how to get back to that positive place whenever you drop low on the list.