The post birth period continues to be just as powerful as what precedes it. Surrounded by a giant energy field of this tiny human, the natural instincts that have risen within me combined with the massive expansion of my heart feels like a powerful drug at times. Indra Riv is developing too fast. He is only three weeks old and I have an intense aversion to the growth and development coupled with ultimate proud parent vibe. Through this experience of absolute bliss there is still dualism present in my mind. My job is to filter out the BS. While I am more confident than I have ever been in my thoughts and decisions, there are still, as always, thoughts contradiction in my mind. In Yoga we call it chitta or mind chatter. A voice that questions my natural instincts and can spark doubt or concern in an otherwise perfect moment. During pregnancy I was given a lot of information that could lead to fear about what these first weeks and months will be like. From expectations of sleep deprivation to postpartum depression, there is no shortage of anticipation that can build around this time in a mother’s life. In an effort to help others sort through these thoughts, I am shining light on my most frequent mind chatter and how I am dealing with it.
– To cry or not to cry
My answer is cry. Always cry. I bawled yesterday (and two more times reflecting on the moment) to the country song that goes, “If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”. That crashed down on my like a ton of bricks. I have heard the song many times before and now as a mother it resonates in a whole new way. There is a strange reaction within people that correlates crying with ‘something is wrong’. My first reaction to someone crying is always Awesome. Someone is connected to their feelings. When Riv cries I do my best to support him. We have not experienced any unreasonable fits of crying. When he is upset, there is a reason. We respond to his needs and then try to hold space for him to process his feelings. If there is one thing I can offer this boy, it is going to be space to process his emotions. Little boys are rarely encouraged to express anger or sadness in our culture. Nor are they as quick to be forgiven for throwing fits like their female peers typically are. My main intention is to raise this boy in an environment where he is free to express himself at his deepest core. Where our whole family can.
– To research or not to research
There have been moments where Michael and I have looked at each other and said, can you quickly Google _______?? But less than I would have imagined before starting this process. It is incredible how much information is available online. Information that can be quite helpful but also harmful. I distinctly remember the first time I stumbled on Scary Mommy dot com. The article that drew me there had something to do with the “realities” of pregnancy and birth — what people won’t tell you, the hard truths, etc. My experience with the site was like diving into a dark pool of drama and swimming in circles for 30min before remembering to come up for a breath of fresh air. There were endless articles of ranting about motherhood covered with a sarcastic entertaining humor that my mouse just wanted to keep clicking on. All topics that appealed to my fear-based ego brain quite intensely at the time.. My advice is read and research when and only what is necessary and work. Let your internal instincts guide as much as you possibly can. We are programed to care for children. If you are healthy and well rested, hormones and internal sensitivities will not let you ignore a true need that a baby in front of you has. Avoid dramatic and non-essential readings or conversations. Things like this will breed chatter in the mind and distract you from what is truly important: The experience in front of you, not the hypothetical one on a computer screen.
– To work or not to work [or] To rest or not to rest
How active should I stay throughout the day? How much work should I start to focus on? All with the intention of serving myself and my family best, there is chatter in my mind to decide which actions to take when. Should I be writing this blog right now instead of connecting with Michael or cuddling the sleeping babe in my lap? For me the answers are clearest when I ask them in the moment, rather than planning my day or week ahead and executing then. As much as possible I am working to keep my schedule relatively free so that I can focus my energy where it is needed now. I can already see shifts in how this little one needs my time and attention. At times this past week Indra has enjoyed staring out the window and practicing tummy time on his own. Then there have been more times in which I know he really needs me — 100% undivided attention me. These cannot be predicted ahead of time and my reaction to them are key. I find the same for investing my own energy. It is more necessary that I decide in the moment whether it is time for my body to be physically active or not. Deciding in the morning when I wake up what kind of activity I am going to be doing at 6pm has not been helpful. Nor is thinking about how quickly I will heal and be ready to do more. My mind has wanted to spend hours planning out how and when I am going to practice yoga. When in reality, if I would just spend those moments either practicing to what extent feels right or being productive with what is needed in that moment, strategic planning of my energy would be completely unnecessary, it would just be unfolding. Continuously ask yourself what is it time for now? The answer is there and that is all that is needed.