I interviewed Dr. Rachna Buxani-Mirpuri for the podcast recently, and the interview was so good I wanted to share some of it here with all you readers! Dr. Buxani is a maternal mental health expert and founder of Buxani Counseling Care, fellow mom, and author of “A Pint of Patience and a Dollop of Love”.
You can connect with Dr. Buxani here:
- Get a copy of A Pint of Patience and a Dollop of Love: https://www.amazon.com/Pint-Patience-Dollop-Love/dp/057891364X
- Connect on Instagram: @Buxanicare
- Visit her website: https://buxanicare.com/
- Check out her YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa_uI0RQ5FWje8Y5EsAN6pw
- Contact Dr. Buxani via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know you specialize in maternal mental health, and I would really love for you to address the level of burnout that moms worldwide are experiencing, especially having just parented through a pandemic. Women are doing more than ever, and the remedy for burnout must be more than just a one-hour massage, right? How can women start recovering from burnout, while continuing to be mom, wife, employee, etc.?
First, it’s important to recognize the signs of burnout and being mindful of what I am feeling. If you’re feeling more tired than normal, forgetful, trapped, and a sense of general unhappiness that you know isn’t you, that’s a signal that something is going on. And then once we have the awareness that we’re approaching burnout, recovery is a mind, body, & soul issue. We need a holistic approach to self care. First, we must get better at setting boundaries. It’s ok to say no! We don’t have to always give in to what our partner or children need. It’s ok to ask ourselves, how am I feeling today? And then it’s about finding little moments for yourself to connect with your mind, body, and soul. So a 5-minute meditation might feed your soul. A great heart-to-heart with your grandmother might feed your soul. Reading a great book might feed your mind and soul. Exercise can feed your body and mind. And find your resources. The support system of people in your court that you can count on as a mom.
It’s so important we prioritize our own health as moms, so in that vein can you speak to the moms listening who are struggling with their own mental health. Maybe its post-partum, anxiety, depression, etc. What advice or encouragement do you have for the women who are trying to show up for their families while dealing with their own mental health journeys?
Mothers are often the glue and feel like they need to hold it all together. But there’s no way for moms to hold it all together if they’re not taking care of themselves. We don’t have to do it all. We can ask for help when we need help.
Recently, a mom told me that this makes her feel selfish. So I asked her, “what’ the opposite of selfish?” And she replied, “I guess selfless?” Ok but there’s still a self in selfless, right? So we need to take care of the self whether selfish or selfless.
Something that I think isn’t spoken of nearly enough is the topic of miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and infertility and the impact it has on a woman’s mental health. I think many of us who’ve experienced pregnancy loss don’t even fully realize how it’s affected our mental health, especially when we don’t take the time to grieve because we have other children to care for, work to do, a house to keep up, etc. As a professional, can you speak to this?
We need to give ourselves permission to grieve. As a society, we often impose the idea of being grateful for what we have. And I don’t think this is bad, however it can diminish what we’re actually feeling. We can be grateful and grieving at the same time. So it’s giving ourselves permission to feel what we feel and taking care of ourselves through the process. It’s going back to the holistic approach to self care. And if you are noticing signs that you’re not ok, reach out to a professional that can help guide you through your grieving process.
Many of our listeners express levels of guilt at not loving every aspect of motherhood, or not enjoying the day-to-day routine of it. Could you speak to mom guilt and the practical advice you’d give your clients to combat it?
Just feel it. Guilt can be one of the most useless emotions we have, but nevertheless we all have it, right? We know that society’s expectations of moms is very high, and it is normal for us to feel that it is too much. So you can feel the guilt, while still doing what intellectually you know you need to do.
And try to remember to have some perspective. One day where you feed your kids junk food is ok. Give yourself some compassion.
As moms, even if we know we shouldn’t, I think it’s just human nature to sometimes find ourselves comparing our motherhood journey to someone else’s, or even comparing our children to others. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and how we can re-direct our thinking when we feel tempted to compare.
First, we have to recognize that this comparison is about us, not about our children. We need to take accountability for comparison. The only way to combat a desire, is to have a higher causal desire. So instead of focusing on the small things we tend to compare, we can shift our desires to having a greater and broader impact.
And choose contentment! How can we find contentment in the here and now regardless of our circumstances?
I’d like to switch gears a little bit and talk about marriage and the relationships we have with our partners and co-parents. I often hear women tell me that they were not anticipating the impact having a baby would have on their marriage. Can you shed some light on how having a child tends to affect a marriage and some things we can keep in mind to ensure the health of our marriages post-partum?
Communication is the most important thing. We must learn to speak without attacking the other, and without being defensive. Likewise, the expectations between the couple must be clear, and if not, it is time for them to be clarified. We also need to have realistic expectations that yes, the relationship will be different when children are introduced into the dynamic. If we can keep communication open and build empathy toward one another, that’s a great foundation. Also, a great resource to help partners connect emotionally is the Gottman Card Decks.
One of the things you wrote about in your new book, “A Pint of Patience and a Dollop of Love” is what we can do as parents to help our children develop a healthy self-image. Can you touch on the importance of raising children with healthy self-images and what we can do to encourage it?
We must guide our children, but we need to fight off our primal instincts to do everything for them. The best way for them to build self-esteem is by doing things themselves. Let them experience success, let them make mistakes, and allow them to get up to try again. We can also help our children differentiate between being and behaving. This internal dialogue is essential – help them and teach them to make the distinction between these two things, and let them know that the fact that they make mistakes does not mean they are mistakes. The fact that they do something silly, doesn’t mean they are silly. Another great parenting tool is humor! We can help our children to learn to laugh at themselves and not take things too seriously.
Your practice specializes in and has a focus on teen mental health. It feels like now more than ever, we’re seeing higher rates of mental health struggles in teens. As parents, what should we be on the lookout in our children as it relates to supporting their mental health? How can we best support them?
The best way to be part of your teen’s life is through communication. If you don’t know what’s going on in your child’s life, you won’t be able to guide them. We must understand that we are not their judge, nor are we their friend. And we have to leave the channels of communication open without judgment. The more mindful we can be about withholding judgment, the more open their communication will be.
As parents, we can also have conversations with our teens about why certain things are important to them. If your teenager is doing things “just because,” it is good to ask them what they really like, what they want to do with their life, and what they need from you to achieve it.
How good was this conversation with Dr. Buxani?! Let us know your greatest takeaway in the comments below!