Mitch said to me in the early hours of the other morning, after I’d done a Nappy change and settled back into bed to feed Leo, “do you think you’ve turned into some kind of freak energiser bunny since you became a mum? I’m very impressed. You’re amazing”. I laughed, and as he rolled over and went back to sleep I sat there staring at Leo and having a moment of reflection, because the truth is… I’m feeling REALLY good.
Yep, I’m only 9 weeks in and I’m sure there will be plenty of mums out there chuckling and thinking to themselves, wait until he starts to crawl. But I also have had people telling me from day dot that this is the ‘hardest thing you’ll ever do’ and to ‘get use to being a walking zombie’. But, so far that isn’t the experience I’m having.
Deep down since I fell pregnant, I’ve felt excited to run this experiment. Because, I’m big on self care… and I meditate.
I haven’t become and energizer bunny and what I’m experiencing isn’t just luck. This is what I was doing for 9 months throughout my pregnancy (in fact this is what I’ve been doing for over 3 years now). I was hard core preparing for this. I was meditating twice a day or more, and did some intense work at the rounding retreat I attended in Byron Bay (not to mention the Manly rounding retreat which I’m convinced was a precursor to me falling pregnant in the first place). I focused inward. I carved out time. I did the work.
The first couple of weeks at home were definitely challenging and had me wondering whether I was kidding myself thinking it could be done a different way. I was in horrible pain from cracked nipples and a broken tailbone from giving birth (a tale for my birth story), and as the big-ness of this role hit home I questioned my body’s ability to provide and worried that Leo wasn’t getting enough milk. It was amazing, but a huge adjustment. Learning about cluster feeding and finding my feet wasn’t a walk in the park. The truth is, in these first couple of weeks I struggled to find the time to meditate daily and momentarily thought it was impossible. But, around week three I had a turning point. I felt like we had hit our stride, I got out of my own head and despite Mitch going back to work I found myself settling into this role with a newfound sense of ease. It feels like Leo and I are communicating, and there hasn’t been a tear shed since.
The past 6 weeks have been amazing. Truthfully I’ve found myself saying ‘this is easy‘ more than I’ve been saying ‘this is hard’.
I’m meditating every day again. I’m managing to sleep deeply (albeit broken) and wake feeling rested. I’m finding time to shower, cook nourishing meals, and clean the house. I love breast feeding, and giving my time and attention to Leo. Our days (and even nights) are filled with smiles and laughter. I’m feeling joyful and creative, and I’m genuinely enjoying every minute of this precious time… without feeling isolated, emotional or overwhelmed, and without coffee or wine.
I’ve said it many times – this is not hipster bullshit. Science & modern medicine is finally catching up with ancient wisdom. The numerous studies that have been done on Meditation and the brain and body since the mid 70’s consistently show that this particular Vedic technique has immediate and identifiable impacts on the brain and nervous system. It is associated with structural changes to the amygdala which is the part of the brain that controls stress responses. It triggers release of bliss chemistry – serotonin and dopamine. It shifts the body from fight-flight to stay-play, which is the state our bodies need to be in for repair. And it provides deep rest – 20 mins of vedic meditation is the measured equivalent of 3-4 hours of sleep.
This technique is profound, not only in the way it makes us feel but in its actual lasting impacts on the brain and body.
I made a very bold statement in my pregnancy that I wanted to have a different experience of motherhood. Different from that which is depicted in the media – in shows like The Letdown, Working Moms, and across social media. I feel like I was right in demanding that for myself, my baby and my family.
2 months in, I genuinely feel like I’m thriving. And that’s massive, because there was a time in my life when the idea of thriving in motherhood was not a reality. That idea was too big, and too daunting, let alone concurrently thinking about another building development (which we’ve taken steps to move forward with in the past week).
And it’s funny because among those that know me well and know how passionate I am about meditation and self-care, statements would be made like “your baby is going to be so zen”. But, it’s not about having a zen baby, it’s about having capacity to cope with a baby being a baby. Truthfully he is very calm, conscious, alert… and not a screamer, but there is still sleepless nights, and shit loads of demand.
As I write this post I’m sitting on my front porch with a turmeric latte which I collected on our morning walk, bub is sleeping peacefully in his pram under the shade of our big tree and I’m thinking to myself as I tap the key board… life is good. I know I stand to cop a roasting for saying it’s easy, but I’m not writing it to brag or to rub it in the faces of those that have/or are finding it hard (and I realise there are a whole host of circumstances that impact upon daily life). But this is important – I’m writing this because my wish all along was to have a different experience and therefore offer an alternative narrative because there sure as hell isn’t an alternative being presented in the media right now. It’s all negative, and that’s not cool.
I touched on this in the blog post I wrote discussing the show The Letdown. Stay tuned – I’ll pick up this conversation soon because I believe that original post may have been misunderstood and I have some elaborating to do.
As always I look forward to sharing my experience as we go, in an effort to change the narrative around life and motherhood. It’s early days but when I look at Leo and see him giggling in his sleep, and smiling with bliss in his soul, I know that the work I’ve done to create an environment within myself has had a huge impact on him, a huge impact on myself and my physical and mental states, and has allowed us to establish communication and begin really loving our life very early in the game.