Here's a flashback from a little over two weeks after the birth of our now 13 month old boy. These letters take me right back to the moment, serving me now just as they did then. I hope it helps you, too.
As I write this, I’ve just finished trying to wake up our 17 day old baby boy to nurse, and this time, he’s not having it (when Bodhi bear is out, he’s out). So, I decided to take this precious moment of quiet and alertness to chronicle my thoughts and connect with you.
You guys, it’s incredible to look back to this day three weeks ago where my belly was as big as a basketball, where I had already been in labor for hours, where I was on this precipice between one life and then a new one as a Mother. Much of that time is a blur, but the moment when our baby was placed on my chest? That moment when he cried for the first time and then opened his eyes? The moment when Eugene put his hand on our baby’s back and we decided on his name? And, when my mom kissed my forehead and marveled at this tiny miracle? I could never know how these short, crystal clear moments would mark an incredible turning point in my life.
And, while I’d love to say that this turning point was the equivalent of rainbow colored sprinkles and glitter confetti (and meeting our baby for the first time absolutely was), the days after were HARD. I won’t sugarcoat it for you. In the immediate days after our son's birth, my body never felt so sore, so tight, so foreign. Every muscle ached beyond measure - my neck, my quads and hamstrings, my calves, my biceps, my chest. I was tired, so tired. And on top of the physical, my mental clarity was...foggy. In a sea of diapers and swaddles and explosive poos and quivering chins (both mine and the baby’s), I was completely out of my element.
While I had been dreaming of becoming a Mother for some time, I really couldn’t understand what that fully meant or how I might adapt to life once a baby arrived. I had set myself up so much to prepare for the birth with prenatal yoga and journaling and walks and good nutrition (and thank goodness b/c they helped!), but I really hadn’t considered how the days after might look. To be honest, I thought I’d jump right back into my life, right back into a routine of meditation, a yoga practice, a little work over my maternity leave, and a lot of baby bonding. Ummm. No. That was and still is totally not the case. Except for the baby bonding. There's so much snuggling over here at the Matullo abode.
About three or four days after Bodhi’s birthday, Eugene was the one who noticed my unraveling, my mix of emotions, my frustration that my body hurt so much, and he told me to close the bedroom door and meditate. I was resistant. Who has time to meditate with a newborn? Shouldn’t I be feeding or swaddling or swaying or...showering?
But, I did it. I sat on my cushion and closed my eyes. I first sipped shallow breaths. My chest hurt. It actually was so tight I could barely breathe deeply. Like my heart wasn’t ready to embrace all this newness and so much uncertainty. But, gradually the breaths got deeper. I could feel my chest rise and fall, my belly expand and contract. Deep sighs. My racing mind started to quiet down. And, I felt a shift. Leanne, this is your transformation from one identity to another. And, it’s hard and it’s different, but it’s beautiful. I realized that labor birthed my baby, but it also was a symbol of my own rebirth to a whole new learning and living experience.
Meditation is helping me to process a time that is filled with so much love and joy and huge belly laughs, but also so much confusion (what did people do before Google?!). It’s helped to ground me. It’s helped me to realize that taking care of my baby is my #1 priority right now and that everything else will eventually fall into place. It’s showed me again that we must be willing to let go of attachments to what we thought life might be or should be.
And, meditation lets me know that it’s okay. It’s okay to let go of work and the laundry. To simply stare into my newborn baby’s eyes and see them reflect back my own. It’s okay that my body feels much weaker and oh so different, to be nervous to attempt a downward facing dog. It’s okay to let go of everything I thought I identified with to fully embrace this transformation. And, it's going to be okay for you, too.
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