I was very nearly 41 years old when I gave birth for the first time. I spent months preparing for a positive birth experience.
We had decided not to have any ultrasound scans but at 34 weeks pregnant, I was persuaded to have one scan to check the position of the placenta.
The placenta was in the right place and….we were to have twins!
The positive birth experience was not to be. Instead, I am eternally grateful for modern medical efficiency which I believe saved my life and those of my sons.
It is well known now that trauma leaves a deep impression on the mind and body. It may need careful attention to heal.
However, as new mothers, it can be hard to find the time needed to give to ourselves.
Here are a few little treasures that helped me in the months after birth, when my exhausted brain could remember them:
After a cesarean birth I felt trapped like a wild animal, frustrated that I could not walk out in nature with my babies. This is what it taught me.
- I gradually learnt to protect my new family like a lioness even against well-meaning friends.
- I endeavour to make my home into a sanctuary for myself and my family. Some days that can extend to friends, some days it can´t.
- I am still understanding the repercussions of a traumatic birth. I welcome as much support as I can with healing. I am learning to cherish my own journey with all of its challenges.
- I was forced to find sources of rest other than uninterrupted sleep. I learnt to welcome dreams even in their mysterious, fuzzy form when I had no time to remember them.
- I used other people’s voices on my phone to guide me in meditation and yoga nidra. I prayed. I used these in the ten minutes I might have to myself when the little ones sleep.
- Instead of stressing about not following a recovery exercise routine I did my best to remember to breathe deeply and stretch from time to time like a cat, whenever, wherever.
Growing with children
- Watch nature with your children. We have a big window in the bedroom, one of the twins first words was ´luna/moon´ as we watched her through the window at night and often outside if they woke in the night
- We watch snails come out of their shells.
- We listen to the birds around our house, especially at dawn and dusk.
- I walk in nature. Me with my dog, when I can, like the old days. And with the twins, in their buggy, every day for their daytime sleep and when they are awake too.
Growing through life
- I strive to be as present in the present as I possibly can. Too much looking ahead causes overwhelm and fear. Too much looking behind, nostalgia and frustration.
- However, planning my week so that I do not end up squeezing too much in helps me to relax.
- “I am not I.” I continue to learn to be the observer and the words of poet Ramon Jimenez remind me how to feel this.
- I choose positive affirmations to repeat in my mind whenever I notice my thoughts wandering into negative patterns. One of my favorites is “All is well”.
- I practice gratitude several times a day, for the simple things: food, clothing, a home, birdsong, trees, sun, rain, sky.
- I stand tall and put on my imaginary crown. “I am the queen/king of this household”. “I shine like the sun”
I have a daily quest towards a more sustained connection with myself, with each member of my family, with our family culture, with the ever-inspiring, unfolding nature around us. I strive to fill up our cups every day. To fill up with inspiration. Allowing the joy to flourish amidst all those daily tasks.
I invite you to do the same. Let’s learn to go steady. To be gentle with ourselves more often than not.
Let us support each other to find our gifts again after the gift of giving birth. Let us not allow the overwhelm and isolation take away the creativity of being human.