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“I didn’t realise what I was leaving behind”

Lydia Nicholson had all the support a mother could ask for when she had her first baby. Although her birth was traumatic – as first births so often are – she was surrounded by family, friends and a tight and incredibly supportive mothers group. She felt held, understood and supported.

When she was six months pregnant with her second baby Lydia, her husband and their 15 month-old moved to Paris, France, for her husband’s work. Ooh là là!
Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t.

In this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV Lydia shares with us the challenges of giving birth and raising children in a foreign, non-English speaking, country. How her experience shaped her and changed her, and how she used her isolation and loneliness to go inwards to get to know herself and find what she needed, and how this allowed her to grow as a woman and mother.

In this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV you will learn:

  • ✓ The importance of resourcefulness – what to create for yourself if you are having/raising your baby away from your support network
  • ✓  Tips on how to combat sadness and loneliness in a foreign country
  • ✓  How to look for the silver lining in every cloud
  • ✓  The importance of meeting your own needs as a mother

Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.

Or hit play and watch the full episode on YouTube.

The struggles and triumphs of pregnancy and motherhood in a foreign country
The important take-aways from this episode are:

“It was really hard”

  • It is important to recognise our gifts in the present  Podcast [9.37], TV [9.07]
  • When you are pregnant and arrive in another country, you are not in their computer system. So, there are no notices that prompt you in regard to your pregnancy. It will always be in their language, and things are done differently Podcast [17.32], TV [17.02]

“That was the tipping point for me. I said: that’s it I’m going home”

  • Having a baby in another country is very different to having your baby at home – different health system, no family or support network, little to no knowledge of the language, no mothers group – the loneliness in comparison to having your baby at home is immense. Podcast [21.10], TV [20.40]

“I remember sitting at my dining room table breast-feeding my baby and having a woman over who was teaching me French at the same time”

  • Lydia’s advice for the early days: You must become resourceful when resources don’t come to you. Re-create what you desire, or what you left behind. Podcast [22.12], TV [21.42]
  • Become really observant. This leads to mindfulness and living in the present which allows you to tap into what you need, and can lift your mood. Podcast [23.10], TV [22.40]
  • Don’t underestimate the power of nature and getting into nature. Podcast [26.02], TV [25.32]

Studies have shown that time in nature can reduce depression1 and anxiety2, and can increase general wellbeing and self-esteem3 (References 1,2 and 3 below in Mentions in This Episode)

  • • You must actively go out there and find your people, your tribe, that can support and hold you as you go through matrescence. Podcast [27.31], TV [27.01]

Matrescence – the transition from woman to mother – is one of the most life-changing transitions a woman will ever go through.
We are changed – physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

  • Lydia’s tips for women who feel motherhood is challenging, and they are not coping, especially if they are abroad.   Podcast [30.13], TV [29.43]

“Give yourself the credit that whatever it is you are doing, is coping”

  • Put yourself first – never apologise for having your own needs. It is through our needs being met, and our cups being filled, that we become better mothers to our children. Podcast [33.42], TV [33.12]

“Ask yourself: what do I need right now?”

  • It wasn’t all bad! There is a positive in everything, you just have to look for it. Podcast [34.49], TV [34.19]

“Growth, strength and determination comes out of situations like this”

  • Listen to your heart, not your head (or the chatter of other people). Follow your intuition and be kind to yourself. Podcast [40.31], TV [40.01]

I would love to hear from you

What insights did you have when you watched this episode?

How could these potentially change your motherhood experience and life?

Leave a comment below and tell us about it! Many mums come here to find support, and your experience or story may help one of them.

Who is one person that would benefit from watching this episode? – Share it with them through the icons at the top of this article 😉

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Mentions In This Episode

1. Berman, M.G. et al. (2012) Interacting with nature improves cognition and affect for individuals with depression. J Affect Disord 140(3):300-5.

2. Mackay, G.J & Neill, J.T. (2010) The effect of “green exercise” on state anxiety and the role of exercise duration, intensity, and greenness: A quasi-experimental study. Psychol Sport Exerc 11(3):238-45.

3. Barton, J., Griffin, M. & Pretty, J. (2012) Exercise-, nature- and socially interactive-based initiatives improve mood and self-esteem in the clinical population. Perspect Public Health 132(2):89-96

Credit to oxygen mask image: https://havingitaltblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/201569attach-your-own-oxygen-mask-first/

lydia nicholson

You can make an appointment with Lydia Nicholson for therapy at her clinic: https://www.TherapySpace.co.nz/LydiaNicholson
Or find her on social media: https://www.facebook.com/LydiaNicholsonTherapy
.

Mental Health Support Services

If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.

In Australia: www.healthdirect.gov.au
In New Zealand: www.mentalhealth.org.nz
In the USA: www.mhnational.org
In the UK : www.mind.org.uk
In Ireland: www2.hse.ie

In South Africa: www.safmh.org.za

If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.

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