Updated: Jan 5, 2020
Last year at this time, I listened to a wonderful talk by Jackie Dobrinska at Jubilee! Community Church in Asheville. Her message was one that I needed to hear: In this season, life is supposed to be hard. Winter has been dark and cold; we’re running out of resources. But we are also incubating, nurturing seeds that will grow in Spring. Just when it seems unbearable, February arrives, and we get hints that light is returning, and temperatures will rise. Hope swells within us as we prepare for sprouting plants, blossoms, and new beginnings; fresh and totally alive, we are ready for the adventure ahead.
As I have been dreaming, and incubating possibilities for the warmer months yet to come, February/Valentine's Day reminds me to love and believe in myself. Speaking of self-love, how is that going for you, mama? Love is a part of ALL healthy relationships, which also include respect and gratitude, clear communication, and space for growth. Sometimes I like to envision myself as a dear friend and look at the way I have been talking to and acting towards her. Some days I am bewildered at how ungrateful, unsupportive, and unloving I have been, but the days when I treat myself as a beloved are wonderful! Mama, as you incubate new life inside your womb, your relationship with yourself changes. You release your identity as a woman, and construct your identity as a mother. It is normal to mourn the loss of your former self, independence, productivity, etc. You may not have the energy you used to have, or the same interests and priorities. You may wonder who you have become.
In Tami Lynn Kent's book Mothering From Your Center: Tapping Your Body's Natural Energy for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting, she says:
"Grief is an emotion that accompanies all transitions, even those we are anticipating, because it assists us in shedding that which no longer serves us in order to remake ourselves for the way forward."
As you let go of your former self, you will grieve. Take some time to feel the feels, and know that elements of your former self may resurface in the future. When you are ready, I encourage you to approach this shift with curiosity. Who are you now? What do you like, notice, dream? Be gentle with yourself as you get to know and uncover your new mama self.
I am reminded of a quote from author/life coach Jen Sincero: "When you change who you're being, you're basically killing off your old identity, which completely freaks your subconscious out! Change hurls you into the unknown and puts you at risk for all sorts of loss, AND of course all sorts of UNTHINKABLE AWESOMENESS!" Finally, pay attention to how you are defining your experience. Are you telling your friends that pregnancy sucks, or feeling limited by motherhood? What's being said inside your head? Flip these labels around and ask what are you learning in pregnancy or motherhood? What are you grateful for right now? What sorts of unthinkable awesomeness COULD be coming your way? The label we put on an experience becomes the experience. So happy February, dear mama. The light is coming back, so is the warmth. You are incubating something new and wonderful...
Life Beyond Birth provides support for expectant parents, and new babies & their families, online and in-person. Find a class or contact Molly at www.lifebeyondbirth.com.