Parenting

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my intuition in search for some "answers", I could very well have adhered to these mindless ideas founded in beyond outdated research (like Ferber's cry-it-out method and being able to "spoil" an infant), I mean I was tired, desperate and searching.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

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