The Second Pregnancy

It's 3am, I've been down to sleep and up again twice already. I feel my big round pregnant belly with my baby boy tossing and turning around in there, my little one breathing softly on the pillow next to me - arm wrapped over my body. I can't sleep - again. If it's not the bathroom calling it's the stomach... and if it's not either of those, it's usually a content idea for the new e-course. I peruse on my phone for a bit downloading ideas and the ache to get up and write hits me. This is a typical night, month 8 into pregnancy.

I often wonder if other mamas are this crazy. Starting a company and teaching at the university this semester has marked one of the most passionate times in my life as I give birth to another incarnation of my profession - the mindful mama. Yet, I hear parents complain often of the endless swirl of family obligations in full swing already, not having time to welcome "number two" in the same way. It seems heavy guilt lurks around every corner, as we are relentlessly critical of not managing to create that same space for this baby as we did the first.

It knocks me over, that guilt, from time to time... like the wind is being knocked out of me. I don't feel as intentional, purposeful, or nearly as mindful. Baby bump pictures, obsessing over a registry, and all that prepping (aka "freaking out) I did with my daughter is just not happening. I wouldn't say I'm not as excited, but wow, it's just simply NOT the same.

Humans find it hard to sit in the dark of the unknown. We are patternistic and love to put anything we can into little "boxes". I think once we wrap our minds around something and it becomes tangible it's never quite the same. That once we give birth to our motherhood it ceases to be this ineffable, ambiguous, mystery to figure out. So I am done with the guilt, OVER IT! It was so thick I couldn't see through the fog. Here I was constantly comparing my first pregnancy with the second instead of being where I am. I feel baptized by relief as I say it... It's NOT the SAME... nor "should" it be... it cannot be and it just ISN'T. You will never enter an experience the same way once you have been through it a first time.

I'll tell you, I don't miss the feeling of not knowing what on earth I was about to embark on. And so, I am here. I DO check-in with the little human growing in there, I still think the process of birth is nothing short of mind-blowing, and I am excited. My life, just like other families preparing to give birth to their second, is inundated with the profound day-to-day responsibility of the little one right in front of us. Our hearts will burst wide open and more love than we ever expected will rise up for the second when they arrive. How calming to return to what is - it strikes me every time how much sweetness, richness and pure BEAUTY there is in our moments if we fully arrive in them - and so here I sit, 4am, finally tired but full of peace.

CHECK OUT MY NEW E-COURSE from the founders of The Mind Body Mama

The Birth of a "Mindful Mama"

With the birth of my daughter came the birth of a mother. I never expected to give birth to a new identity - at almost thirty-eight. It threw me for a LOOP – completely unexpected! I thought “women have been doing this for millennia; it’s natural, what is there to know – instincts are all I need”. Alas, I was disoriented. From figuring out how to do dishes one-handed (or ANYTHING one-handed for that matter) to feeling mesmerized by her various sounds that I was now tasked with decoding. I continually found myself saying “why don’t you know what you’re doing”? My inner voice and the constant judgmental self-talk caught me by surprise… I don't usually talk to myself this way... but I kept coming back to how could something so innate be SO challenging?!?

On top of it I couldn’t balance my needs with hers to save my life as I stumbled over basic decisions like how long could I physically wait to go pee in the night so I could hold off on potentially waking her up – or just forgetting to eat. I couldn’t ask for help to save my life either and all along there was this relentless idea that I should somehow better know what I’m doing. Why is it that I don’t feel more confident? Consumed with doubt-filled chatter, I found myself doing things like backing into my neighbor’s car and any form of mindlessness you could think of – “if only my clients could see me now” I thought (gasp)!

I was a little, well, a little "out of sorts" to say the LEAST... with little attention to self-care and a sinking level of confidence I felt - amiss... I felt myself craving wisdom so I asked for advice - -  from anyone - - but what I found was a baseline knowledge founded on old "ideas", unhelpful "midwives tales" and women (once just as lost as I) following a lineage of what others told them was "right"/easy/whatever. Vulnerable, and virtually overriding my intuition in search for some "answers", I could very well have adhered to these mindless ideas founded in beyond outdated research (like Ferber's cry-it-out method and being able to "spoil" an infant), I mean I was tired, desperate and searching.

I didn’t recognize myself really– until – there it was…  my breath… ahhhhhhh, come back to my BREATH, sanity, there, almost – at least for a moment. I used what I already knew, something I had the whole time, to discover myself all over again – mindfulness! And there I grew, in the most organic way, into her, myself, my life and the world - as a mother. It wasn't something to be "discovered",  just validated, honored and held - SACRED... the moments.

Where I had done virtually no reading before giving birth (I was going 100% on "I got this, women have been doing this for millennia), I began to take what I knew intuitively and marry it with what enlightened thinkers, visionaries, and psychologists who are acknowledging the development of mindfulness and connection as primary.

I knew for sure that some things just felt "right". That I wanted her next to me when I slept, that I didn’t want to be far from her skin on mine, and that my breast seemed to be the answer to everything, so I started there. What I didn’t realize at the time was that all of that - what I felt - had decades of research behind it… that indeed, the millennia of mamahood DID back-up the science. Esentially, that I could trust myself and I DID know how to do this (and that maybe all the disorientation was dare I say "normal").

The self-compassion came pouring in, ahhhhhh... and along with it, the deep compassion for others that may have similar beginnings. It is from this perspective that there was a different kind of giving birth inside of me, from a womb of experience my daughter and I were pregnant with. 

It only naturally flowed with the saving grace of mindfulness I had spent the past decade practicing. From the foundation of mindfulness and the value of connection, a beautiful path began to unfold. So, I’m happy to announce the birth of a “Mindful Mama”. I now offer the support I desperately needed.

Also, a new website we hope to be a most beautiful resource for integrative parenting: The Mind Body Mama - Co-founded with a dear mama friend and physician assistant, Amanda Queen, The Mind Body Mama joins our mamahood and professional lives to create an organic consortium of Mind Body wisdom for parents of infants up to pre-adolescence. We have designed an e-course that we hope revolutionizes evolution called The Conscious Connection.

Five Ways to Engage Mindfully with Children

So what does mindfulness actually LOOK like with your children? Here are five tips that help you drop into the moment - By Jessica Killebrew, Psy.D. - original author

Click here for original blogpost at Rituals of Healing published on September 3, 2015

NOTE: All content on drjessicakillebrew.com is written by Jessica Killebrew, Psy.D. All rights are reserved. Please, feel free to share articles, links, and resources. However, reproduction of content is not permitted without direct written permission and is NOT to be disseminated, published, or transferred out of context.

Mindfulness and Mental Well-being

Do you want to know the HOW and WHY of mindfulness? By Jessica Killebrew, Psy.D. - original author

Click here for original blogpost at Rituals of Healing published on March 10, 2014 or you can download and save

NOTE: All content on drjessicakillebrew.com is written by Jessica Killebrew, Psy.D. All rights are reserved. Please, feel free to share articles, links, and resources. However, reproduction of content is not permitted without direct written permission and is NOT to be disseminated, published, or transferred out of context.