Hanging in there….
Everyone always said having a baby will utterly change your life. I could never grasp the extent of the true meaning of this until now.
We have Beautiful new baby Abigail Faith Holt for a full 5 weeks now and I am aware that no one was exaggerating about the impact her arrival would have!!!
I eat faster, I pee faster, I spend way less time talking on the phone, I don’t bother brushing my hair, I shower less, I google less, I scroll Instagram less….simply because there are someone else’s needs to attend to 100% of the time. And yes! – It’s demanding, but it is also helping me by asking me to be fully present at all times – more than ever before – 24/7 for these early days. This is something I have always been aiming for – Being fully in the here and now.
I am constantly tuning in to what this tiny new human being needs. All her cries mean something – she wants to be held, she wants to be fed, she wants to stare into your face and connect, she wants to poo, she needs a nappy change, she needs to be winded.
I am alert to each noise and sentiment she expresses. To this extent, I cannot be in some distant self-induced land of delusion, over-caring about how good my granola is today or over-analysing the photos I have taken.
Although I would describe Abagail’s birth as the most amazing experience of my life, the reality is I took a bit longer to recover from birth than I would have liked (Birth story coming soon!). I fully needed the 40 days babymoon at home to recuperate. Lucky for me, my beautiful family ensured that this was possible, leaving fresh baked bread on the windowsill, dropping in new baby grows, hanging out the washing etc. etc. xx.
But any pain I felt after birth, I know Abigail felt too on some level too. When you are breastfeeding the attachment is so strong. She is still an extension of me. All my feelings and emotions are pouring into her, my dreams for her future, my anxieties over our parenting skills. Our love and bond is deep. Its constant too – she likes food about every two hours! 🙂
I don’t blame her! Being vegan, I eat small amounts, often. It works well for most people, to graze and snack throughout the day. To cater for that same appetite in Abagail, it just means being ready to pop a boob out on-demand, readily available. I am happy to do that. I’ve felt nothing more empowering than being able to nourish, feed and grow a human being solely from my own body.
And yet it feels so easy to get parenting wrong. Last night at midnight she had a lovely feed and a little burp and I let her fall asleep. But as soon as half 1 in the morning she woke up ravenous for some reason and fussed and sucked in air while she fed and her fussing made it quick and messy. I spent till about 2 settling her afterwards. Then by 3.30am she was groaning and writhing because she hadn’t gotten her wind up. It’s funny to think of the amount of time we spend soothing each other now.
In reality I suppose, its nature’s little design fault – she should still be safely tucked up in the womb for another few months. We are the only mammals completely dependent on our makers at birth. We could not survive without their care and attention. And as much as sheer exhaustion sets in when I have been awake so regularly during the night, I know we have the day to spend soothing ourselves and thriving together! I love caring for her even if that means there are days when I miss lunch (so unusual in the past 🙂 ).
I know my life has changed beyond recognition but I embrace that change and my beautiful new daughter as new beginnings. What is more precious than watching new life grow before your eyes? How her little toes curl and straighten as she examines the shadows and light in the room, how her hair shines, wispy in the evening air, how her fingers reach out for me and clench around my own, and now in the last week how she smiles wide into her eyes and chubby cheeks. It is all truly something magical. The first time she smiled tears filled my eyes as hers lit up. There is so much for us both to learn!
As I practice Ahimsa in these weeks postpartum and since I am constantly present, I am eager to pass on all of this awareness to students in the coming weeks and am scheduling yoga classes for September – Keep your eyes peeled.
Also we are busy preparing Avondale Retreat house and grounds for a yoga retreat in October! Exciting times!