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  • Writer's pictureFood & Mood

Share your story: How complaining during parenthood can be healthy

Complaining can be a cathartic experience and lead to increased satisfaction and mastery in life. As stressors build, it’s essential to have outlets to minimize the negative impact on your mind and body. Complaining can act as a release valve, lessening the internal pressure from resentments by airing them out. New parents who suffer ins silence are further isolated and lonely. Social barriers like stigma, being overly self-reliant, denial, inadequate support, and fear of vulnerability keep parents of young children from receiving the social support they deserve. Utilizing complaining in motherhood is actually self-protective. Complaining can be an effective social tool. Complaining fosters social support which is crucial to maternal mental health. Connection is significant in preventing and treating maternal mental illness. Sharing the resentments of parenthood gives parents the opportunity to support each other. Motherhood can be super isolating for many reasons; share your story, the positives and negatives, to strengthen bonds with others. The pandemic era has disconnected new parents even more than they were before. Complaining opens up and holds space for yourself and others to discuss the not so great aspects of being a parent of young children. It gives a time and place to talk about issues you may be having with pregnancy, birth, child rearing, relationships, unemployment and child development delays.

Complaining creates an environment for parents to learn they aren’t alone and connect with others who are living proof of surviving difficult phases of parenthood. There is a lot of shame surrounding negative feelings about motherhood. Parenting is not rosey for everyone, yet we all seem to think others have it better than we do. By sharing your experience, you might be surprised to learn that “I’ll never be myself again”, “I want my old life back” and the scary “what ifs” are thoughts many new parents struggle with.

Complaints are our way of asking for help in certain areas. Focus on problem-solving and you could potentially get exposure to new solutions. Venting is therapeutic; you can resolve issues through sharing.

The perinatal period is a particularly vulnerable time for women’s mental wellness. It covers the period from pregnancy to 1 year after giving birth; this is much longer than most people are aware. The statistics for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are staggering. 1 in 5 women are affected by perinatal depression. It is the most under diagnosed obstetrics complication in America. When left untreated, perinatal depression can have a profound adverse affect on women and children.

Lamenting gets stressors off of our chest and helps release built up stress in the body. It can lead to problem solving, healing and processing frustrations. Complaining can improve emotional health and build stronger relationships. Empathy, information and practical help can come from complaining with peers. So go ahead and express your dissatisfaction and pain, as it will promote mental wellbeing.

written by Lauren Luppino, LCSW -

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