Last October I became a mother to a beautiful little boy. I carried this squirming, curious, playful little bundle for 40 weeks and 4 days and we finally met one Wednesday morning at 2:30am.
Now I could share with you some frivolous anecdotes about sleep deprivation, but I know I am in safe hands here to go a little deeper…
Become a parent aka one half of my son’s everything- food source/ protector/ comforter/ carer/ guidance has delivered so many lessons on a daily basis. Stepping into this new role is my most exposing job yet. It is the first time I can truly see who I am and all that entails; my strengths, my needs, where I fall down, how I face and challenge adversity and what all those elements look like in a very real way.
However becoming a mother is only an entry point into what I want to share. Whether you are a parent or not, I want you to know, you know far more than you think about everything. You have all the right questions inside you to find the right answers and the instinct and intuition to propel you forward in a way that wholeheartedly lights you up.
As you may know, there is not one way to parent; there isn’t a linear manual to follow. So how do you know what to do especially when it is absolutely critical that you do a reasonable job? I certainly have never picked up any of the books I read in pregnancy in my hour of need.
Here are a few thoughts:
1) The importance of being quiet and tuning in. Throughout my pregnancy, I practised yoga and used a technique called the golden breath. This is a slow exhale through the lips which is long and defined. During these classes, my baby would be very active but when I used this emphasised breathe, he would become very calm and still. In the darkness of the night, I would often use this breathe to calm and reassure as my son would drift off to sleep. This would change his state into a sleepy slumber and would also transcend my anxiety and brain of a thousand of active thoughts and encourage me to rest and just be still. In any fraught situation, I come back to sharing this breathing technique and know it is a reliable soother. Using your breathe. Simple. Free. Easily accessible. Highly effective.
2) The power of our memory. I found myself in so many situations when I knew just what to do. Some circumstances were just common sense i.e. don’t wander off to make dinner with a baby left on a changing table but other times, my memory served me so well. Out of nowhere I found myself singing songs to comfort the cries, that I had sung in school assemblies and bizarrely remembering all the verses- pretty impressive considering some days I could barely string a sentence together. People from my past who had shared their guidance with me years ago suddenly were in the forefront of my mind. I immediately went back to that place- the smells, the surroundings and often, the shell suits! I realised how much my body and mind had absorbed; noticing helpful nuggets and strategies to deliver at a later date.
3) We can and we should monitor what we are exposed to. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I decided not to watch ‘One born every minute’. Opening credits of screaming, hysterical women wasn’t going to do anything for my positive mindset. Sure, in the end I didn’t end up having the Glasto, water birth, mermaid experience (!) I planned but remaining calm and collected to deliver a healthy baby (and mama) where I had a sense of choice was paramount. If something doesn’t serve you and you have a choice to remove yourself from it, do so. Take a strong stance. ‘It is difficult to fly when you have something weighing you down’.
4) Finally in tough times, going back to basics can be refreshing, comforting and rewarding in a simplistic way. A home cooked meal, a hug, a wedge of cake. Someone telling you that you are doing a brilliant job. A freshly made bed. Cosy socks. A baby to sniff (without looking weird) because he is yours. Going back to what we know can calm things down and help us remain in the moment. There have been many times in recent months when I have paced the local streets trying to get my little one to sleep. It wasn’t until a rainy afternoon prevented the walk that we ended up curling up in bed. Low and behold as soon as I laid him down, all snuggly on my side of the bed he went straight to sleep. He rolled onto his left side, exhaled (not quite a golden breath, but not far off) and drifted off. He went back to what he knew and his comfortable place where he was for 40 weeks and 4 days...me in the same position, in that bed, on my left side, all snuggly.
Nicky Raby is a Coach | Actor | Writer | Speaker | Mama Find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nickyraby, Twitter: www.twitter.com/nickyraby and Instagram: www.instagram.com/nickyraby