Being a new mom is no walk in the park. Being a new mom when you live so far from your family, well, that’s a whole other story – one that many expats are familiar with.
When Celia-Jane Ukwenya, a stylist from the UK living in Dubai, became pregnant with her son, she began working with a hypnobirthing specialist to make the delivery process as easy as possible on both mother and baby. During that time, she began collecting affirmations that she would write on pieces of paper and stick on the walls around her house.
“With hypnobirthing, they prepare you for birth by teaching you techniques to stay calm and relaxed during your delivery. Within the booklet I was given, there was a list of affirmations that I could listen to and read. I would listen to these affirmations daily, and I also wrote them down around my house,” she told Goodness.
Ukwenya put these affirmations in places where she would be sure to see them each day, such as around the TV or on her bathroom mirror. Soon after her son was born, satisfied that these had served their purpose, she took them down. But it wasn’t long before they’d be back up on her walls.
“After I gave birth, I struggled with feeling overwhelmed. I think it was a mix between the change, the newness of it all, and the heavy cocktail of hormones. It felt like a heavy cloud was above me for about 12 weeks. I spoke with my husband and some friends about how I was feeling, and one of them recommended I place affirmations around my house like I did when I was pregnant. As soon as she said that, I remembered them and thought it was a great idea.” That day, her friend wrote three affirmations for her.
Some of the ones hanging on her wall today were also inspired by kind words of encouragement from those closest to her. “One of my friends who lives in Los Angeles said to me, ‘Hugo is healthy, wealthy, and loved,’ which I later wrote down. That was the most impactful one for me,” she added.
Others, meanwhile, were drawn from moments of realization. “When Hugo was nine- or ten-weeks-old, I saw a therapist and discussed my feelings of worry. The therapist asked me, ‘Before you had the baby, were you a worrier?’ I said, ‘No way! I have always thought worry is a useless emotion. I used to think that you should do what you can with what you have and that there’s no point in worrying.’ And then it dawned on me. Later that day, I wrote a new affirmation: ‘Worry is a useless emotion — release yourself.’ That one I’ve kept up.”