It’s funny I was having a lovely day enjoying the sunshine with my toddler and all of a sudden I started to feel a bit angsty and a bit insecure. Then I started to question myself about things I’d said and not said, done and not done which led me to more insecure feelings. Sometimes I can experience these feelings and then blame them on feeling tired and somehow that takes the edge off them because I naturally know not to trust them no matter how alluring they seem. Other times these negative thoughts draw me into their web and then whatever happens in the day I seem to use them as ammunition to fuel that thinking and make myself feel worse and worse. Continue reading
So my baby is now 9 months and a few weeks ago we decided to move him to his own room even though he is still not sleeping through. My husband was then able to take his rightful place back in our bedroom.
When we moved my older son downstairs to his own room I cried my eyes out. This time I realised it was time because he had outgrown the crib –literally. -Although the thought of running up and downstairs all night did not fill me with joy (and still doesn’t several weeks later when we are now both being woken up!).
Also I really miss feeding him from the comfort of my bedroom. Not just as a bonding experience with my baby but also because it was a special time for me. You see for me waking in the night has been a guilty pleasure because it gave me time to watch a range of rubbish TV some of which is too embarrassing to share (but let’s just say a well -known posh constructed reality TV series was involved – (oh the shame!) – as well as spin offs from The Bake Off and The Apprentice – Well I did say rubbish TV!– Alongside this I also got to watch lots of documentaries and thanks to the generosity of sharing from The 3 Principles community lots of interviews and talks from them as well. Which led me to discover many inspiring new teachers along the way. This really helped me deepen my understanding. – ( So thank you 3 Principles Community*). Continue reading
Before I start this article I want to state for the record that I really believe in both natural birth and breastfeeding, they just weren’t meant to be for me. By sharing what I learnt from my experiences I hope that this will help give comfort to women who are struggling after having a baby, whatever challenges they are facing.
My first baby was back to back and was born eventually after a 4 day labour by emergency caesarean. Thanks to getting fit before the birth and having a degree of understanding about Innate Health I was able to see the labour as a moment by moment experience and not be fearful about it. Therefore I was fine about the birth and had no negative thinking or feelings about it afterwards. It was the shock of trying to breastfeed and not being able to that really affected me.
I was so exhausted from the birth I wasn’t producing enough milk so he got jaundice in hospital and I had to start topping him up with formula. We took him home and I sought out lots of breastfeeding support and started on the road of obsessively pumping through the night to try and produce more milk to satisfy his ever increasing needs. In the meantime we fed him via various methods from cups to finger feeding (with a syringe) a mix of formula and breast milk. In the meantime I became so determined to breastfeed to the extent that this became my focus to the detriment of my relationship with my baby and my husband.
Unfortunately all this thinking and obsessing about breastfeeding really affected my state of mind to the degree that I didn’t speak to my friends or really leave the house for about 5 weeks until after he was born. Eventually I felt I couldn’t try anymore and so gave up. This left me feeling very guilty and upset that I had let my baby down for a long time after, as I felt I had not been able to provide for my baby in a natural way. Eventually after about a year a half of seeing my baby was just as healthy as everyone else’s I made peace with myself about it and realised the baby would be absolutely fine.
I have since spoken to mothers who have breastfed successfully but found it very difficult for various reasons, be it mastitis or whatever complications, who managed to carry on but also felt equally effected by the experience. Someone even told me they had extreme feelings of guilt having breast fed successfully for one year but had to give up because they had to go back to work.
With my second baby I tried again for a natural birth but never went into labour so ended up with another cesarean. Again my baby fed well in hospital but was too hungry and I couldn’t provide what he needed so I had to top up with formula. Again I got breastfeeding support and again I hired a pump and pumped when I could. The difference was that this time I realised that maintaining a healthy state of mind and building the bond with my baby as well as looking after my toddler was more important than obsessing about breastfeeding. I did what I could when I could but to no avail, so I ended up with another bottle fed baby. I made peace with myself very quickly this time because I realised I was only hurting myself with my thinking about feeling guilty and he would be absolutely fine.
The reason I’m writing this is to say that it’s not breastfeeding or bottle feeding that is the problem. It’s what we do to ourselves by taking our thinking and ‘our beliefs’ so seriously and judging ourselves that’s the problem. While I experienced the prejudices of people against bottle feeding I know breastfeeding mothers experience prejudice about their choices as well. We can internalise this and get upset about it or we can just let it wash over us and let it pass, because the more we internalise it and take it seriously the more we are hurting ourselves and no one else.
This experience helped me to see that beliefs are just thinking that we take very seriously. They are not right or wrong. As Grayson Perry says in one of his tapestries ‘Hold your beliefs lightly’. – This is something that thanks to this experience I am learning to do.
When you care passionately about something and life doesn’t work out for you in the way that you’d anticipated, it’s very compelling to beat yourself up for it, which leads to enduring feelings of guilt. By doing this you are only hurting yourself and prolonging the pain. If you can learn to accept that we all do the best we can in any given moment (given what we know at the time) and that none of us are ultimately in control, no matter how much we’d like to be. – Then you can make peace with circumstances you find difficult in your life rather than keeping them alive with your thinking and prolonging your pain.
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If what I’ve written resonates with you and you would like some postnatal support via Skype or in person get in touch to find out about one-to-one sessions either by calling me on 07901 514 113 or filling out the form below.
The other week I woke up in a bad mood and was going to a friend’s house with my baby and toddler. It was cold and wet and grey which reflected my mood. I set out with the buggy and the toddler in tow trying to control his umbrella. As I was walking I began to feel more and more miserable and sorry for myself – it’s so annoying that the weather is so bad and I can’t drive, and it’s always such a schlep to get everywhere etc. etc . My mind was full of negative thinking and I could feel my mood dropping further.
Then my toddler said ‘Mummy look at the face in the tree’ and I looked up and sure enough there was what looked like a face in the tree we were passing and the next one. Somehow his childish enthusiasm and excitement snapped me out of myself as I felt he had opened my eyes to the simple beauty in nature that I often miss because it has become wallpaper to me. Continue reading
If you go to any classes about the 3 Principles you will often hear people talk a lot about ‘State of Mind’ and ‘Levels of Consciousness’. What they mean is that we are all going in out of moods all the time and this effects how we see the world and our lives, and this is completely natural. So to explain ‘Levels of Consciousness’: if you imagine a lift on the outside of a high storey building and on the bottom level all you can see is what’s directly in front of you, for example the grass and the trees surrounding the building. As the lift rises to different floors you begin to see more and more, so the tops of the buildings, the surrounding area etc, etc. This is similar to our state of mind. – At the bottom the lift you just see the crowded thoughts in front of you and they seem very real and very compelling. As you rise in the lift you see more and more of the bigger picture and thus gain more and more perspective, so that the thoughts from the bottom of the lift don’t seem so compelling any more. The lift can stay on a floor or move up and down. Sometimes you can be on the bottom floor for a while maybe a few days or longer. Sometimes you can be up and down the lift at different points in the day, depending on how much you are taking your thinking seriously at any given moment.
Someone once said to me ‘lack of sleep’ is a state of mind and I really didn’t get it because to me it seemed so real that it must be an exception to the rule. Now I’m not so sure… Continue reading