I thought it would be pink and fluffy, but it’s dark – in a consuming ocean deep way. Not everyone feels it the same, or at the beginning. I felt the levity of motherlove a few days after I met my son, and resisted finding words because everything just felt cliché.
So finally here I am, 7 months of motherhood and attempting a few introspections about my experience thus far…
Big love – When our little guy Arlo first came, my heart seemingly stretched beyond my body – emotions sloshing over the edges. Maybe this is why I cried so much for the first few months, from simple magnitude.
I cried the first time I went to the bathroom at home, because we could be in separate rooms! Not ever being an especially emotional person, these tidal waves took the ground away. Learning to ride them has been an unexpected lesson in loving large.
If in doubt just love your baby – This was the best advice I was given about parenting. I remember this frequently (thank you Tammy), especially when I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s advice…
There is no going back – just forward. I don’t need to go back to my ‘pre-pregnancy body’, all transformation moves us in one direction and it’s not to the past.
I’m so amazed and inspired by what my body has achieved in growing, birthing and mothering my child.
Rebuilding and rediscovering strength is exciting. My experience of strength is also richer now, as are my goals – galvanised by fresh respect for myself.
Self-care is Queen – I’ve always known this, but motherhood has really tested my priorities. I don’t want to just survive, I actually want to thrive and enjoy this precious time. I’m simply a better mother when I look after myself – present, vital and creative. Moreover, I’m teaching Arlo the importance of self-love.
Firstly, I need as much sleep as I can get. ‘Sleep when your baby does’ was some solid advice, naps are truly gold.
Eat well, spend time relaxing and having fun, be in nature and more recently I’ve discovered the importance of being alone. I love being alone. I love being with my son. Both are perplexingly true.
Baby led yoga – real flexibility. My morning yoga practice has yielded now, to yoga snacks throughout the day. They don’t always occur on a yoga mat in the quiet of self-reflection, these times are often now shared, messy and undulating.
Living and moving with a baby creates new patterns of effort and ease in my body, which now responds to a different yoga practice; opening my chest, stretching my back and shoulders, strengthening my core and restoring the wellspring of energy I consistently give. I use a growing connection with my breath as a touchstone of stillness amidst our daily unpredictability.
I have a yoga practice at the change table while Arlo get his tummy massage, a dynamic floor practice together between rainbow blocks and random toys, pranayam (breath yoga) when I breastfeed or have a bath, and a short but quality meditation at the end of the day.
Sometimes we do lots of yoga, other days none.
Good enough – perfection strangles spontaneity. This one is pretty new to me, and I’m slowly getting it. I really do like the dishes done, and they never are now. Our family shows us what’s important, and it surely isn’t a tidy kitchen.
‘Good enough’ is my new mantra, and my little teacher reminds me every day.