Every woman who has birthed a child, has also birthed herself as a mother. Most women will make this transition from knowing themselves in their maiden form their whole lives to new the stage of mother with little or no guidance, ritual or support. Many women find themselves equally overwhelmed by their love for their newborn and the aching for the relative simplicity of their pre-motherhood life. Body and mind captive to habit and muscle memory; personal boundaries porous; energy and emotions scattered by surging hormones; it’s hardly surprising how persuasive the influence of dominant culture is. The outrageous voice roaring at women from all directions is demanding they return to their pre-pregnant form to lose “baby fat”, to disappear the magnificent and transformative influence of pregnancy and birth; to “regain control”.
In times of profound transition, when women are most vulnerable it’s understandable many women will look to physical fitness as a tool to restore some sense of boundaries to recapture the illusion of control.
But your energy is no longer your own, you share your energy with your growing child. The physical practices that you used to energise yourself before you were pregnant will drain you of your precious reserves. Just as you’re getting to know your child, you’re getting to know yourself as a mother. At every stage of your life, as you have navigated profound transitions, what was it you most craved? Unconditional love, support, acceptance? This is the rich journey of motherhood. As you learn to mother your newborn, you have this golden opportunity to learn to mother yourself.
When you feel yourself made weary by the fierce tenderness of mothering, this is when you most need to pour unconditional love, acceptance, compassion into yourself. Seek out practices that fill your cup, nourish you energetically, and help you restore healthy personal boundaries.
The real news is this – that pre-pregnant body everyone’s demanding you to chase does not exist! Just as you chose to birth and raise your child, consciously choose to embrace this new you. You birthed yourself into motherhood, now raise yourself with all the love and joy you are offering your child.
Darling, how does your regime look now?
Looking for some loving guidance? I’m running my shantimama women’s yoga workshops through out he year in Melbourne and Kyneton. Living in the Macedon Ranges? I’m now running Womanly Yoga classes in Kyneton.
And if you need some convincing about taking care of yourself through postpartum recovery, I highly recommend reading this article Postnatal Depletion.