It’s Mother’s Day again. That special day when we are pampered by our families who do, after all, appreciate all that we do for them. So as you (hopefully!) put your feet up, take a moment to reflect on your experience of that exclusive club we call motherhood.
Many of you have become mums in the past year – many congratulations to you all! It’s been a joy and a privilege to support the women who have attended my classes during such a special time their life.
“The birth of the baby is just the beginning of another, much longer journey of motherhood.” Uma Dinsmore-Tulli
New motherhood is a major period of transition. During our pregnancies we have time, energy and a multitude of resources at our fingertips to support and prepare us for the arrival of our new baby. Yet while society seems to cherish the expectant mum, often it can feel like we’re left high and dry when baby arrives, with much less support on offer.
Yet this is a time when we need more focus on self-care than ever before. Yes it’s a time of great excitement, but it can also be one that’s fraught with feelings of exhaustion, shock, anxiety, loneliness and insecurity.
We feel we simply don’t have the time or energy to make our own health a priority. But I can tell you from experience that re-acquainting yourself with your body, relaxing, clearing the mind and exercising gently not only helps you, but also contributes to the good health and happiness of your family.
We don’t become fantastic mums instantaneously – no one does, and like anything worthwhile it takes time. Sometimes we will get it right, and sometimes we will get it wrong – it’s part and parcel of adjusting as a family to a whole new way of life.
It’s unrealistic to expect it to be smooth sailing all the time. But that’s a good thing in my book, because if nothing ever went wrong nothing would ever improve. Motherhood is like anything you’ve applied a bit of effort to – the rewards are abundant and priceless! You get out what you put in. Motherhood is the greatest opportunity you’ll ever have to learn and grow. Try to change your perspective. Instead of searching for perfection, look at every challenge as an opportunity, relish the fun times and give yourself a break every now and again.
Gaining a new perspective…
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou
This is a unique arrangement between you and your babyand your new family unit. Only you, your baby and immediate family know and understand what works for you and your baby. There’s no point in comparing yourself against what other mums and families are doing – that’s only going to work for them, not you and yours.
Cultivate an attitude of openness and acceptance to whatever comes – the good, the bad and the ugly! You might not believe it, but they do all bring gifts!
Don’t be afraid to get it wrong– it’s the best and quickest way to learn.
Approach this whole new chapter in your life with compassion for yourself. Enjoy seeing your baby growing and developing each day. Be kind to yourself – try to refrain from ‘doing it all’. Be patient with yourself – if you’re a first-time mum you won’t have done this before. You wouldn’t expect your baby to possess a life time of experience when he or she is born, so why expect the same of yourself?
Do less and embrace the differences between your baby and another and between yourself and another mum - these actually are the perfect parts!
Be realistic - initially life will revolve around your newborn, and you won’t have as much time as you did for yourself. Rest assured it’s not forever though!
Allow your baby’s father/partner and family members time to get to know your baby. This will help them to develop confidence, and discover their own way of looking after baby, which may be different from yours. It’s hard to let go of control, but you never know - maybe you’ll learn a thing or two? It’s also important for your baby to cement relationships with all their main caregivers.
The mother-baby relationship can be all-consuming, to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. Remember it is healthy for both you and your baby to have some space of your own.
Go with the flow and listen to your body and emotions. Feeling emotional is often a sign that your hormones are fluctuating, but it can also be a sign that you’re exhausted. Our bodies can give us lots of answers if we allow ourselves the time and space to tune in and listen to them.
Nourish your body – make sure you’re eating healthy, vibrant food. Spend time in nature, breathe fresh air, get a massage, take a bath, get good at napping (believe me, it’s a skill).
Gather the troops – join mother and baby groups, meet friends, ask for help and find a way of exercising that supports you.
YOGA - A TOOLKIT FOR NEW MOTHERHOOD
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She has never existed before. The woman existed but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” – Rajneesh
My children are 8 and 6, and I continue to use the tools I learned in my pregnancy and early motherhood today, to support me in parenting my children to the very best of my ability.
Exercise regularly and enjoy it – for me it’s YOGA!
Physically breathing well helps to decompress the whole chest cavity. Emotionally and spiritually it helps tune into your heart and intuition. It is always good to connect to this area when there are extra demands in your life.
It may seem daunting, but trust me, everyone can do it - start simply, do it for 2 minutes a day and build up. Meditation allows you to gain clarity, separating yourself from your thoughts, and becoming aware of unhelpful patterns such as comparing, needing space, being hard on yourself, feeling emotional and so on.
Affirming a positive outlook
Thoughts are powerful, and affirmations are a wonderful way of transforming thoughts into actions. Just a few examples you might want to consider:
“Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.”
“I am confident, I am safe, I am secure.”
“Taking care of myself is part of taking care of my baby.”
“I accept that my body has changed with the birth of my baby, just as my heart has changed, and this is a blessing.”
Postnatal Yoga with Baby
In those tumultuous early weeks and months ‘Postnatal Yoga with Baby’ can help you to:
Bond with your baby, feel more positive about yourself, improve body image and help you deal with the big change in your life.
Release tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders, resulting from changes in posture and carrying and feeding your baby.
Develop core strength – for preventing back pain, ensuring a healthy pelvic floor and strengthening the abdominal muscles.
Release endorphins through gentle and safe exercise, which will improve your emotional state.
Recognise that it’s not necessary to hold your baby all of the time – it will be fine with its own company, with you present or nearby. As long as baby isn’t distressed or unsettled. Your body will learn to feel secure if you encourage some independence.
Listen to your intuition and be guided by this.
I consider it a real honour to support mums at this unique time in their lives, and would love to meet you and your baby at one of my classes!
22ndApril – 20thMay
23rdApril – 21stMay
17thApril – 22ndMay