The human body can only endure 45 units of pain- but during childbirth a woman can endure up to 57 units of pain- that's equal to 20 fractures at a time. Never tell a women that she can't. Remember, that only she can dance with 2 heartbeats and breathe with 4 lungs, only she can carry the weight of 2 worlds in her belly and give birth to life. Don't you ever tell her she's not capable, she is capable of everything.
They say the first forty days are the hardest most challenging ones as you find your way out of pregnancy, into the birthing world and finally at a new pivot point: Motherhood
I believe anything in life, unless it has been embodied and experienced, is hard to relate or understand completely. Reading books and being informed can educate you, but until it has been felt in the body, it is only known to the mind- And there is a big difference between the two
Since experiencing this profound change in myself, how I relate to women who have birthed and raised children before and alongside me has completely changed.
Everyone has felt it, yet there is so little truthful support which helps a mother feel heard during this fragile time
Society simply does not honor the value which is deserved for the role of a mother. I believe this is a part of why postpartum depression exists, women simply do not feel they are doing enough. I mean I certainly felt that at times, until I spoke with my doula and friends. I said to them, I think my biggest struggle is (fingers inverted) I am not doing a lot. I realised, as I said to to myself, what a lie that was being told. I was doing everything. I was learning how to bring up, raise and nurse a new life into this world and from that moment, my perspective really started to shift. I became more gentle with myself as I realised the enormous amount of strength, courage and love I was connecting to daily. Where had I learnt this false belief from? I believe it is the undercurrent of motherhood from a disconnected society.
It is not a cleanse, it is not running a marathon, it is not even running a business- yes I do not deny all of those above are not tough (I have done them all so I feel its a fair gauge) but nothing compares to the dedication and the devotion which resides inside of the mother. Being an early mother means being a shift worker 24/7. Waking up at all hours of the night to feed, change and soothe, continuing on with no recovery or rest after one of the most physically enduring and traumatic experiences to the body after carrying a child for 9 months+ and Taking on a whole new identity overnight where suddenly your time is no longer yours. It’s a huge adjustment but yet you are just supposed to forget about birth, internalize your true feelings and get on with it. I’m not sure on how society has formed this.
The truth is, behind being a first time mum going through all these new experiences- I realise that loving your baby is not the hard bit, thats the easy bit, watching my baby start to smile as we develop communication with one another, nothing has compared, I didn't think it was possible to love someone so much. The hardest bit is managing the also new born YOU. The new identity and role you walk into. It’s absolutely HUGE and nothing can prepare you for this incredibly deep shift. Suddenly your life feels like it is absolutely upside down, your once clean house- a total mess. Your healthy sleep- lucky to get 2 hours in a row. Your body- not quite the same as before. Your relationship, hard to get 5 minutes alone. Your freedom of time- depends on your new baby's needs. It is quite something and can feel VERY overwhelming. Yet, you are developing this incredible bond and connection with this tiny being that came from inside of you. Your emotions could not be further across the spectrum.
Bonding with your baby like ANY relationship will take time to grow and develop over the first few weeks- it will do you wonders to remove the pressure as to and when. Sometimes moments of guilt arise, should I be doing more, am I giving enough- on the other side, I am doing an incredible amount of giving, the late night feeds, the soothing, the changing, the devotion. The last thing you need as a new mother or father is a voice telling you 'should' be feeling more. My advice would be to let it develop, because like anything, it will.
There will be a huge amount of change in your relationship, something I feel is really important to be spoken about before you give birth so you can become aware of how to keep things alive and connected as when you are put under this enormous amount of change, communication can break down easily. Try to dedicate just 20 minutes a day to check in with one another. Remind each other daily of how much your love matters, hold hands, go on walks as a new family, help each other through emotions where you can- it’s about finding a whole different way of being between you and holding the level of support.
But, something I don't feel is spoken about enough for women is the expectation around the overnight new role of being a mother and how that can become very difficult (even resentful) if not spoken about with your partner or your support bubble. I personally felt at times really frustrated when my partner went back to work. I felt annoyed that I had to stay at home, I had to get up in the middle of the night and breast feed, I was constantly exhausted, I couldn't find any time to do yoga or minimal time for self-care. It was quite a big trigger point for me. On the other hand, whilst feeling this, I would also experience the ever pointless emotion of guilt, was it even okay for me to have some alone time? Was I giving my baby enough? I want to spend time with my partner... So confusing. We found a routine where my partner would take our baby in the mornings and evenings for a few hours to relieve me to take a bath, write, tidy the house, do yoga, cook.. I was grateful for those moments of recharge.
As time goes on, things do change. One night around 4 weeks, I felt a huge shift of expansion in my heart as I was watching my baby drift off into sleep..
Me: How is it possible that the hardest thing be the very thing which brings the most love to your heart?
Elliott: Well, is this not a sign you are out of your comfort zone moving into growth, isn't this what life is about?
Creating a new family unit requires an huge amount of intention, courage and strength. But on the opposite side of this, growth happens, you become a different person, your baby blooms and the hard work makes everything worth while. In fact, not much can compare to those graceful moments.
Postpartum and birth, has really opened me. I am able to ask for help more. Something I rarely did before, I was extremely self sufficient; I used to really take pride in that. Now, I take a lot of pride in realising the strength it has taken me to say, actually can you help me out here, without feeling I have lost my independence; I feel empowered. It’s a gift my baby has given me.
As I look back at my old identity of maiden, having freedom to roam and no solid family attachments, I look back with love, grace and gratitude. I spent my 32 years wisely, travelling the world alone. The more I feel into this new chapter of mother, I see how my world evolves around the love I have created at home with my family. How my home means my world. How we get this opportunity to bring up our daughter Aura with the wisdom and knowledge we have both found over our lives. How we as a family support each other in many different aspects of life.
There is not much more right now that makes my heart explode the way it does watching aura nod off to sleep in her perfect way, waking up to her in the morning, seeing her smile, driving all together in the car, walking on the beach with our dog.
I feel incredibly grateful that god has gifted me with this life. But to have this life, I realize, I had to overcome difficult things. That is something for deep gratitude. One thing is for sure, I am not the same person who I was before the 12th of December 2023
Good luck mamas or parents to be. Your precious journey will be unique to you. But know you are not walking this alone.