This week I did a group session about changing relationships before and after a baby is born. Inevitably, the discussion turned to communication, and how it feels when one or more people in a family feel misunderstood or sidelined.
When a new baby arrives into a family group, everyone enters into a new learning cycle, where questions about role, identity, and belonging may arise. In addition to this, normal sleep patterns and opportunities for rest, relaxation, and alone time shift around, and getting used to new ways of doing things, and different priorities, can leave you feeling disorientated and tired.
This disorientation is a natural part of learning. Beginning is easy, ending is sweet, but the messy middle requires you to realign yourself in all kinds of interesting ways, and to have new insights about your life. So much of what we do is composed of messy middles of one sort or another!
At a time where big changes are occurring, it is only natural that people should get a bit wrapped up in their shifting world. Perhaps too, there is social pressure to keep it together, to have the answers, to be proactive, and to suck it up, and we can get in a bit of a panic when we feel swept along and out of control.
Getting wrapped up in our thoughts about how we are doing, where we are up to, what we want to achieve, and how our lives should look focusses our attention on our internal world. That means, that we are less able to focus outwards and be open to new ideas, the perspectives of others, and cannot obtain a clear view of our situation. If we want to reach out to other people, then it is much better to do this from a place of relative clarity and openness.
The good news is that it is really easy to spot when we or other people are feeling open, relaxed, and ready to truly listen and collaborate. You only need to observe basic body language to see where other family members are at-
Good mood= open and relaxed body language, clear eyes, sparkle, easy smile, easy eye contact
Bad/preoccupied mood= defensive and closed off body language, glazed expression, lack of eye contact, or aggressive eye contact, furrowed brow, strained features
Even before any speaking happens, we can see if it is a time when conversing will flow with ease, or we need to tread carefully, or when we need to back off and come back later.
The other bit of good news is that because it is only natural that people get down in the dumps or confused, then there is absolutely no need to take their moods and whims personally. When problems in communication occur it is because people are innocently bogged down in whatever is going through their minds at that moment, not because we are distancing ourselves on purpose.
We live in separate realities, so sometimes it is difficult to see through our own perspective, and get a glimpse into what is real for the other person. However, when we do, we can connect in profound ways with one another, and family members of all ages, shapes, and sizes!
I made a video with some examples. I hope you enjoy it!
Please do come and share your own experiences of relationships and transitions in the Mamajestic Facebook Group, or indeed to share any related blogs or videos you come across in your travels.
Do go ahead and share this post if you found it spoke to you! I love it when posts get shared about. It helps other people to find the site.
Take care and lots of love,