Thank you Jacinta Tynan. Thank you for writing something that goes against the grain of every bit of evidence I’ve been presented with to date about parenthood. Thank you, for writing Mother Zen.
A few weeks back I wrote a blog post about my fear around having children. It’s something I’ve kept quite close to my chest, but something that I’ve found huge comfort in discussing with my Meditation teacher & good friend Kate Cliff over the past 12 months. It was during one of our breaky catch ups in the morning sun at our fav cafe in Kiama that she told me about a book I have to read, written by a friend of hers, journalist and fellow meditator, Jacinta Tynan. The book is called Mother Zen.
I’m not a reader, I’ve always been an ‘I’ll wait until it comes out at the movies’ kinda gal. But as Kate had been telling me about all the fascinating science and theory around how meditation impacts pregnancy and parenthood she insisted that Jacinta’s book was a must, and leant me her copy.
It’s taken me nearly 12 months. Not because I can’t read, just easily distracted! In the most part I give up on books, not because they’re not interesting but because I just lose interest in the act of reading – things to do, people to see. The only books I’ve ever really enjoyed are biographies & books about health/self improvement which is why I didn’t lose interest in this one…
As it goes, after writing a misunderstood article in the Sunday magazine about how being a Mother ‘isn’t that hard’ Jacinta got absolutely roasted from (almost) every mother in the country who sat down to read the paper that day. What came of it, is this book and it serves as an explanation.
Jacinta tells the story of her experience with Motherhood, a story that is in COMPLETE CONTRAST to any I’ve ever heard first hand. The overwhelming narrative in everyday life is that being a mother, and life after birth, is a shit fight. And the reminders are constant… constant. In fact just this past week a new show was aired on the ABC called The Letdown (you can read my thoughts about the show here), and it too only serves to further amplify the negative sentiment about motherhood. To a future-mother-to-be #mumlife is repetitively represented as an inglorious pursuit of happiness.
The big problem with this “FML” message is that while I understand it might make mums worldwide feel better to share in each other’s daily defeats, the repetitive memo that I should “never do it“, though jovially stated (mind you I’ve been unsure sometimes if they’re actually joking), is harmful to yet-to-be mums. I am exhibit A.
But then along came Mother Zen. In her book Jacinta reevaluates socially accepted (and expected) behaviours of mother, and baby. She offers insights around baby biology, explanations around meditation as a parental tool, and crucially – explains that easy has a lot to do with perspective. Jacinta’s book is a god damn breath of fresh air.
It’s for this reason I needed to write her this open letter:
Thank you. Thank you for offering relief from the harmful repetition.
Thank you for telling me a different story, for sharing with me an experience that’s so honest and yet, so good. The depth of your research, the science and studies that you referenced, along with your unique and loving perspective has chipped away at my fear and left me feeling really, really good about the next chapter for hubs & I. Finally, I can see the light at the end of the labour.
Immediately after starting the book I began underlining sentences and folding over pages. I knew I’d be buying Kate a new copy, this one was always intended for me.
Your book has allowed me to completely shift my thinking around expectations, intuition, life changes, and sleepless nights knowing that I too have information and tools at my disposal which will help me to have a different experience of motherhood. Your book is the positive perspective I’ve been missing all these years.
Reading your book has not only made me less fearful, but has made me come to understand my role, when the time comes. The book not surprisingly was quite serendipitous in it’s timing, and in the middle of reading it I travelled to India with Kate for a retreat where a lot of my anxiety came out on the table. I came home to resuming your book and now, 12 months after turning the first page, ‘when the time comes‘ is no longer scaring the shit out of me. I am finally feeling excited.
People might wonder why this is a topic I’m talking about so passionately when I’m not even pregnant, but this fear of the future has run deep for the better part of a decade and has left me emotionally tangled more times than I care to discuss. The knowledge and tools we both share around meditation, thanks to Tim & Kate, have been taking me on a journey for the past 2 years, opening me up and giving me capacity to move forward with trust and self assurance, but I can tell you now that your book has also played a part in that growth.
Thank you Jacinta, for sharing your unique and warm perspective, and sharing the love. It has impacted me deeply and will continue to carry me through my next chapter.
Sending love back at you,
This is not a sponsored post. This is a book that has literally changed everything for me.
Since writing the post Jacinta has kindly offered to sign copies ordered directly through her website:
You can learn more about Jacinta & her book here.