Just saying. Sometimes I do and I wonder if you might feel the same?
Perhaps together we can laugh it out and hold space for this difficult phase of finding self.
18 months ago, when Bridget was pregnant with Sylive, I remember her saying how ‘off her game’ she felt and by contrast, how ‘on fire’ she thought I was.
At the time I thought she was delusional, but now I find myself in this same position; feeling somehow ‘dulled down’ in new motherhood and by contrast ‘everyone else’ (including Bridget) seem to have their shit together, their ducks in a line, they’re ‘all cylinders firing’.
I look in the mirror and I don’t recognise this body. My clothes seem somehow ‘wrong’, my daily life seems somehow a little askew though I can’t pinpoint what it is I’m missing. I’m ‘tied’ to a breastfeeding baby, who doesn’t take the bottle. My life currently revolves around the needs of another entirely. I feel a little ‘shrunk’ in this world, unseen and unheard and unsure how to change or even what I need to do, or 'should' do to create change.
My whole day seems taken up by family and home and I’m dissatisfied with this. I want the ‘me’ in my day too. I want the inspired work in my life also. But while I’m unhappy with this perceived lack, I’m also uninspired to create the change needed to facilitate a different reality.
What is that about?!
So I’ve been sitting with a few theories:
I wonder if this is a cultural clash – mothers and motherhood seems somehow invisible in our western culture. Am I asking to be seen and valued? And if this is the case, I must first see and value myself, so where or why am I not?
Is it a biological driver designed to ‘blur out’ everything else except our child/ren so we focus on their survival? And if this is the case, am I ‘fighting’ a losing battle against my biology? Or if biology is the playing out of our mental state and beliefs, then why am I holding onto the belief that I ‘can’t’ do everything I want to do? Why am I unmotivated to but happy to complain about what’s missing?
Is it a values clash for me? Is my value on family taking a front row seat, so my other values, like business, that previously rated higher are now lower down on my list? And if I’m dissatisfied with this, why am I not doing the work to link what I want in my life to my top value to see how it ‘gives’ rather than ‘takes away’?
I listen to my body and there’s a few things going on there too:
I’ve had a few headaches lately. Sure, it could be dehydration, a breastfeeding mother needs a huge amount of water and even more to make up for the coffee that’s dehydrating her. Sure, it could be magnesium deficiency, I’m using so much up in my body at the moment; breastfeeding, hormones, less sleep etc, but it is also a clear sign I’m living out of alignment.
I’m crazy tired, which manifests into apathy and the more apathetic I feel, the less I get done and the less I get done, the more it all seems ‘too hard’, it’s a vicious cycle that I’m not currently breaking. Sure, it could be that I haven’t had a full nights sleep in months. Sure, it could be I’m crazy busy, pushing myself and my body through babyhood as well as my ‘usual life’. Sure, it could be iron deficiency; I’ve just created and birthed life, I’m breastfeeding, I’m using more stores for healing and sustaining me, but I’m also perceiving that to some extent I’m uninspired and without inspiration our infinite energy source is sucked dry, which feeds apathy, the ‘greyness’ of life and a lack of motivation.
I’m also completely uninterested in creating the change required to create the change I seek. Our current reality is a direct manifestation of our previous and current beliefs and thoughts. To change my reality, I need to address the underlying beliefs and change my thought processes, but instead I find myself finding all sorts of things to do in my home and with my family over anything that resembles work. If we don’t consciously fill our time with what we love or are inspired by, we will unconsciously fill it with our top values. Our time will be fully consumed by that which our life demonstrates is most important to us.
That which we resit most, holds our greatest capacity for growth and expansion.
I know all my excuses, all the reasons why I’m not showing up the way I want to, hold all the answers. Sure, I can make it about x, y, z. I can say that I can’t do, have or achieve what I want because ……… but if I stay here, I stay in my victim story. I continue to believe I’m at the mercy of my biology, my life circumstance, my children, my finances….etc, etc. It's just a story, a belief I have not yet transcended.
My family reflect some pieces of the puzzle too:
Tonight my daughter could go back to basketball training, in a limited capacity. With a new cast on she can run and do one-handed skills but she can’t fully be involved, so she spent a large portion of training watching. She came home and as I sat with her while she ate, I could tell she was fighting back tears. “You look upset honey, what’s going on?” I asked. She’s frustrated, she’s feels like she’s missing out on what she loves doing and what she see’s everyone else around her doing, she feels stuck, imprisoned and sick and tired of herself and her cast.
I hear myself holding her feelings and reflecting them back to her, saying:
“it’s really hard to feel like we can’t fully do what we want to do. To feel somehow held captive by our body or life circumstance. But I promise you this is just a short phase, it’s a tiny time in life that will be over very soon and you’ll be back to doing what you love in the way you want to do it. In the mean time you get this wonderful opportunity to really sink into gratitude for all the things you previously took for granted, to realise how much you love what you do and how grateful you are to be able to do those things. It allows you more opportunity to connect with people in different ways, to find new ways of being in yourself and to release emotions that may have been stored before this all happened.”
It was in this moment I had another realisation of the profound nature of our mirroring experiences with our children. She was me and the advice I was giving her was also for me.
Feeling stuck. Frustrated with where she is at in life. Itching to get back to what she used to do and finding it really difficult ‘watching from the sidelines’. All the feelings she was expressing are mine also. All the benefits I can see for her, are mine also. All the love and grounded acceptance of her current reality are mine also. The vision of this ‘fleeting moment’ in her life that I know won’t impact her as greatly as she perceives, is the same for me. My desire for her to sink into where she is, knowing it’s just ‘for a spell’, is a reminder for me also.
So I’m here. Once again in question, sitting with what this new identity and reality is for me. I phase in and out of contentment and gratitude and just plain WTF frustration.
I get that this is hard. I get that this feels forever. I get your desire to ‘be out in the world’ and to achieve all the things you want to, and I get your desire to ‘be here’ for this short time in your child’s life – it is in the end just a ‘blink’ in their lifetime, I hardly remember my eldest being so young, it is as short as they say, and it is ok to both find yourself and seek awakening, to be present and be seeking for more. We are constantly evolving and each ‘new pain point’ is a new layer desiring to be peeled back by you to ultimately express more of who you are, but it doesn’t mean we always like it!
Julie Tenner is Co-founder of Nourishing The Mother and is The Pleasure Nutritionist. Julie is a Naturopath, specialising in women’s and children's health, with specific focus on awakening women to their full potential – health for the mind, body and soul – creating lasting life change for you and your family by “coming home” to your magnificence.