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Embracing Darkness

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Most of the words we use to talk about becoming a mother evoke the season of Spring: blossoming, birthing, blooming, joy, wonder, radiance, etc. However, a hidden, yet inextricable, piece of the postpartum journey for new moms is letting go. In this season of Autumn, nature is showing us how to release and retreat within. For many new mamas, one of the most challenging shifts is related to self-identity. Gone are the days of total independence, control over your to-do list or schedule, and the ability to support others as a friend or family member. Life becomes a microcosm focused on healing from pregnancy and birth, meeting baby’s needs, eating sleeping, drifting... Birth is a rather abrupt change in the big scheme of life.

Just as trees shed their leaves when they shift into their winter cycle, so begins the release of pieces of your former self. Tears are a common and natural piece of the grieving process. Don’t we all mourn when things, once vibrant, are stripped away? It seems quite heavy, this change in your life, but the intensity will fade, and the new life you’ve brought forth will become a teacher of love, a focus of purpose. When else has your body been the safe cozy home of another human? This darkness is the incubator of your new self, your next adventure. A good friend of mine told me that the greatest gift I gave her after her daughter was born was my ability and willingness to hold space for the darkness AND the light of the postpartum period. There are both, and those who keep the darkness at bay are missing one of life’s transformative blessings. “All things gestate and grow, and shed and grow. Many life forms do this more than once. Snakes shed their skin. Birds molt their feathers. Nests are built and broken down and built elsewhere. Most plants move through this cycle every year. As humans, we do this constantly in ourselves, in our families, and in our communities. We grow and shed and grow some more. We cycle through this being and becoming.” ~ Mark Nepo And so, sweet mama, if you have days where you feel sad, or tears well up when you think of how much life has changed, please give yourself a moment to mourn the losses and see the growth that is coming because of them. There is nothing wrong with you, or your experience of motherhood. You are simply alive and going through life’s cycle. We all must pass through darkness to once again appreciate the light.

Life Beyond Birth provides support for expectant parents, and new babies & their families, online and in-person. Find a class or contact Molly at

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