Inspired by this quote from Mary Oliver: “What are you going to do with your precious life?”
Mom life is not for the faint of heart and yet some of us are crazy enough to go through the pregnancy process more than once. I thought that having children would fill a void in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t need to have children to feel better about where I was at. Yoga helped solve that problem for me (more on that later). Having children gave me a different purpose. It has taught me to take care of someone other than myself, to be selfless and independent. This type of connection that you have with children as a stay-at-home parent is daunting and priceless. The emotional roller coaster really tests your strength and your limits. You learn to let go in ways you never could imagine.
We all know about PPD (postpartum depression) and that it strikes at a not so ideal time when we’re most vulnerable about our bodies and weak from labor and sleeplessness. I can honestly say I did not experience it with my first child (somewhat abnormal, I know), but I think it was because I searched for friendships and support and went about life with zeal.
With the birth of my second child I really felt like I abandoned myself. Declan (my oldest) and Ronan (my second) were two different babies with different personalities. You hope to relive life the way it was with just one child and have that tribe by your side that understands what you’re going through, but too often we get stuck in some emotional rut that’s hard to explain. Sometimes you shut down and are convinced that it might be best to go at it alone. Now I know why so many women with more than one child do things by themselves. It’s hard enough getting out of the house when you’re outnumbered! Add having to coordinate around another person’s schedule and it really can get pretty messy.
Those moments of loneliness and depression that I have experienced and hate to admit really haunt me till this day. How do I get unstuck? How can I get back to feeling more like myself and less alone? After I had my third child, Ophelia, I retrained by brain and invested in myself for the very first time. I enrolled in a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher training and continued on my discovery of inner peace.
There was one instance in teacher training that I will always remember. My teacher was going through the Yoga Sutras and was talking about God. In Yoga philosophy God can mean virtually anything and is defined by the student. There is no right or wrong answer. As the lecture moved on, I began to drift and my mind took a wrong turn. I wandered through my past relationships and the untimely death of my father. My monkey mind was taking over. I couldn’t just be in the moment with the rest of the class because I was too busy interpreting the path that my God had taken me through.
When I look back at that particular moment, I am reminded of the 5 Kleshas -obstacles that cause suffering. Asmita is the second Klesha and roughly translates as ego. Our egos really do rule our world, but they don’t have to take away from the soul. Too often we become attached to desires or worldly possessions. All of our wants and desires, dreams and goals become an obsession. Over time they can seem so hard to reach or obtain which brings us disappointment and takes away from what really matters: our connection to our true Self. This leads us to forget about the present moment we’re in because we are constantly chasing something else.
Time and time again, we must be reminded that sometimes it is OK to just be. Be in the moment with your kids and help them with something that seems so trivial to you, but so important to them. Stop the monkey mind from taking you away from what matters most- the HERE and the NOW. Easier said than done right? So, what can be done to ease the endless thoughts that pop up in our minds.
Bedtime is one of my favorite times of day because I am finally able to be alone and free. The evenings are the times where I practice a lot of self care. I read, catch up, plan for the day or week ahead. I also sit and meditate. Having a moment to sit in stillness with my mind has made a world of difference in my day to day life. It enables me to slow down and connect my mind to body. I breathe and sleep easier. I’m connected to the present moment, which is the most important thing to practice.
Meditation takes time to learn so you must be patient and willing to get uncomfortable. You may like to start with someone guiding you through a meditation because sitting in silence can be challenging at first. What is most important is carving out time to do it. Start with a couple minutes and slowly increase that time by a few minutes each session.
I’m sharing my journey with you in hopes that you may become inspired to learn how to dive deeper into finding what YOU need to survive motherhood. I am excited to share more of my epiphanies with weekly journal posts. Stay tuned and watch for a post on self care tips and more advice on meditation coming soon!