There are so many different modes of motherhood. We go on autopilot when navigating the tasks of the day. We can easily tune-out when our attention is required elsewhere. For better or worse, we find ourselves going through the motions. It must be an ancient survival instinct for mothers, don’t you think?

We want to be present in full for the ups and downs. For our children and partners. For ourselves. Each moment in which we are fully present pieces together to create a beautiful mosaic. Not because it is all perfect, but because it is unequivocally real.

And the truth of it is: If we want to be present, we have to find space to be grounded.

Without even realizing it, we subconsciously crave small, sacred moments that can help us feel grounded. That’s what grounding is all about—coming back to the present moment and feeling a balance between your internal and external worlds.

As human beings, women and mothers are whole people. Not just bodies, but also minds, souls, and spirits. The ways we feel grounded are as diverse and unique as we are.

With that in mind, what essential part of your body, mind, or soul feels untethered in this season of motherhood? (It’s okay if your answer is “all of them.”)

Our journey through motherhood is a balancing act, and this practice provides a physical and metaphorical means of establishing a naturally sturdy foundation from which to blossom, grow, create, and thrive. Try taking a simple moment for yourself each day to bring yourself back to this touchstone.

// Simple morning stretch.

Hands and feet touching the ground, slowly flowing through a few yoga postures and connecting with your breath allowing you to begin the day in a peaceful and calm state.

// 5-4-3-2-1 method.

The “5-4-3-2-1” is a grounding technique that helps you focus on the environment around you. To practice it, simply identify to yourself:
5 things you see (anything in your view)
4 things you feel (like the cozy sweater you’re wearing, grass beneath your feet, chair you’re sitting on, and so on)
3 things you hear (the ticking of a clock, cars driving by outside, or maybe even the sound of your heartbeat)
2 things you smell (if your environment isn’t particularly fragrant, just take two deep breaths)
1 thing you taste

Notice if you feel more rooted in your body afterward.

// Earthing.

Earthing is a beautiful practice, which involves the placing of feet, the palms of your hands, or your entire body on the earth. Laying on the sand, walking in the grass, or swimming in the sea are all ideal ways to ground yourself and reconnect with nature. Even if all you can do is start your day with a warm beverage while walking in the grass, the ritual will be enough to help bring you back to balance.

// Boxed breathing.

This is a method in which you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and so on until you feel grounded. You can also tighten your muscles and release them while breathing, focusing on the breath and practicing mindfulness all the way through.

// 3-minute body scan.

Begin by bringing your attention into your body, closing your eyes.
You can notice your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, on the floor. Take a few deep breaths.
And as you take a deep breath, bring in more oxygen, enlivening the body. And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.
You can notice your feet on the floor, notice the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.
You can notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
Notice your back against the chair.
Bring your attention to your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.
Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? See if you can allow them to soften.
Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.
Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax.
Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.
Then notice your whole body present. Take one more breath.
Be aware of your whole body as best you can. Take a breath. And then, when you’re ready, you can open your eyes.

You can also listen to a 45-minute version of the Body Scan that the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness uses in its training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

Without grounding to either side of ourselves—the new or the old version—we start to shrink back from any real version of ourselves. So, let’s commit to being present for the true, authentic version of ourselves wherever we are—merging the new and the old, leaving neither behind.

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Tags : Motherhood , Wellness

As we talk about rewilding this month, we’re exploring what it means to return to our most natural state of being. This is not the same as returning to who or what we were prior to becoming mothers, but instead welcoming the natural progression, biological transformation and emotional upheaval that occurs during the process. It means not fighting the push and pull, the both/and, but leaning into them and allowing ourselves to grow, diversify, shed, break down, replenish and flourish.

Maybe before you had a baby you swore you’d always keep your career, partake in girls’ weekends, and maintain your ability to talk about something other than your baby (or, at a minimum, something other than their bowel movements). Or maybe you swore if you could just get pregnant, you would never—ever—take a moment with your longed-for child for granted. Either way, once baby arrived, there’s a good chance those promises weren’t as easy to keep as you’d expected.

But you know what? It’s okay to let go of them.

You might be all-consumed by motherhood and want to talk about your baby all the time. You might be disappointed by the reality of motherhood (even if you love your baby!) and find it doesn’t match up with your prior vision of it. The things that used to be important to you—or the things you thought would be important to you—might not be anymore.

If you don’t quite recognize yourself after baby, miss parts of the old you, or don’t fully grasp who the new you is, you are not alone.

There’s actually a word for what you’re experiencing: matrescence. It describes the process of becoming a mother and all the pushing and pulling that comes with it. Because “when a baby is born, so is a mother” is not just a sentiment to needlepoint on a decorative pillow but one that actually carries real and significant weight and impact.

Although it’s tempting—and even necessary—to turn our attention toward the new baby, the new mama is worthy of acknowledgment, understanding, and nurturing, too. Here are a few ways to give yourself the attention you not only deserve but also actually need to thrive.

1// Acknowledge that what you’re experiencing is both real and normal.

This mom’s personal account will assure you you’re not alone.

“There is no timeline for having everything figured out. … Show yourself patience and acceptance that you are just as you should be and will continue to evolve.”

2// Understand that matrescence is a special and complicated process.

If knowledge is power, this 6-minute TED Talk by reproductive psychiatrist Alexandra Sacks will give you strength for your journey.

“It’s not a coincidence that matrescence sounds like adolescence. Both are times when body morphing and hormone shifting lead to an upheaval of how a person feels emotionally and how they fit into the world. And like adolescence, matrescence is not a disease.”

3// Make time to process your feelings and assess your needs.

This article can help identify and name what you’re going through, and bringing awareness to that can help guide your next steps.

“Ambivalence is a feeling that comes up in the roles and relationships a person is most invested in, because they’re always a juggling act between giving and taking. Motherhood is no exception. … Most of the time, the experience of motherhood is not good or bad, it’s both good and bad. It’s important to learn how to tolerate, and even get comfortable with the discomfort of ambivalence.”

What do you think—does having a word for it make the transition to motherhood any easier? Or at least make it easier to grant yourself grace? Wherever you are in your journey, know that the hard and tender and difficult and breezy are all part of the process. You’re right where you need to be, friend.

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Tags : Motherhood