Embracing A New Season - Tips For Finding The LIGHT During Dark Days
I wanted to pause for a moment and write a quick post about what I'm feeling lately... transitioning out of my "postpartum" season and into the next season of motherhood. The season of "raising the babies". If you're in a season of transition, or in a season of motherhood that feels heavy (me too), scroll to the bottom and check out the things that I have started doing to help me see the light in some of my dark days!
It's perfect timing for me to be feeling these feels, as the weather starts to get chillier and all things FALL start to surround me (which I love so much, fall is my favorite season). But this particular season I have had such a hard time with. I'm having a hard time letting go of my beautiful birth season, and moving onto my next season of just being "mama".
I want to share a little backstory and tell you a little about Maya's birth season. Maya Grace's birth season (pregnancy, prepping for her birth, and delivery) was just SO amazing. It was my favorite season in life thus far. It started out a little rocky... we found out I was pregnant with Maya Grace, moved into our new house, and I got COVID all at the same time. It was HARD. It was so scary, so sad, overwhelming, and defeating... I worried so much for her, since I was pretty sick for a few weeks with COVID and she was still so new. I cried a lot. And worried a lot. But we got through it, and she continued to prove to me throughout my pregnancy that she was so strong. She made her presence known, she was strong and sweet, and grew so healthy and so well. She inspired me into trusting my instinct with her birth plan, and doing something I never thought in a million years I would do... have a home birth.
I won't share the details of her birth just yet, but it was AMAZING. I love the memories of Weston's birth, but Maya's birth was just so so special and sacred. I felt really empowered after having my first natural childbirth, trusting my instincts, and surrendering all worry and fear to give her the healthiest entrance into this world. The day of her birth was beautiful, amazing, and peaceful. I feel pretty dang blessed and overwhelmed when I think about it.
And I want to take a moment to acknowledge that everyone's birth story is different. Every pregnancy, every birth, every mama is so different. Sometimes we don't get that magical birth story. Some birth stories don't go as planned (well birth never REALLY goes as planned). But I think we can take moments from our birth stories, small memories, and make them beautiful. I haven't experienced true birth "trauma" with either of my babies' deliveries, but I know birth trauma is so real and I want to acknowledge that. I am sharing my specific experiences, and the beautiful thing about birth is that every single birth is unique and can be beautiful in it's own way.
After having such an amazing birth with Maya Grace, that postpartum season just hit me like a ton of bricks! I love caring for newborns, it's such a sweet phase. It just goes too fast. And doing it with a toddler added a whole other layer of chaos to it. I felt like I was being pulled away from my baby too much. I missed the days when I could just let my baby nap in my arms. Instead I was constantly struggling and juggling both babies, between putting her down constantly and trying to help my toddler adjust and still feel loved. And I didn't always feel well. I have just really started doing gentle yoga and breath work again, and I have definitely physically not felt like myself. Besides walking, that's the only thing physical that I've done so far! And that is completely different than my first postpartum season.
To say this postpartum season went by fast is an understatement. But I have been really trying to hold onto it... not wanting to embrace the fact that now, I'm just "mom". That now, my job is truly just raising these babies well. I think this 2-3 month time of our babes' lives is a tough one... usually this is a time when we are either going back to work, or settling into our new normal. With Weston I was preparing to go back to work, and thinking of all of those things. I had other things to motivate me into embracing the next season, and I was excited about "what was next" for me. But now, I am "just" a stay at home mom (I hate saying that, but that's how I feel some days). I am learning to embrace this season of my life, and trying really hard to lean into it. But it has been HARD for me! Being with my babies 24/7 really has tested and stretched me as a human - I've never needed more patience, more love, and more grace for myself. I also feel like my nursing career has truly shaped the way I "mom" and helps me every day. So I'm thankful for the season that I'm in. But embracing this next season of just "momming" has been tough for me.
I wasn't ready to let Maya's sweet sweet birth season go. But I have to. And I'm learning to cherish those sweet memories, and embrace and look forward to the next chapter. She may not be my sweet newborn anymore, but she is growing into the most joyful, light-filled baby girl! This next season will continue to test my patience as a mama and as a human, there will be sweet moments, lots of love, and lots of tears and frustrations. But I am leaning into it because I have to for these sweet babies. And even though my "mountaintop moment" of Maya's birth is over, I'm reminding myself it's just the beginning.
Sometimes as a mama it's hard to see the light... the days can be long and heavy. There are things that can help us to see the light as mamas, and I want to share what has been working for me...
Talking to mama friends. This. Is. Everything. I wouldn't survive my hard days without my mom friends. I have a few special mama friends in my corner right now with babies similar in age and going through similar experiences as me, and they are EVERYTHING to me. I love that I can be vulnerable with them, and share some of my worst days and moments as a mama without any judgment. And usually it's received with a "me too" from them, allowing me to take a breath and give myself grace.
Journaling. I just recently started journaling at night after everyone goes to bed, even if it's just for a moment. It's giving me the time to "check in" with how I'm really doing, allows me to reset for the next day, and figure out the things that set me off into a spiral of a bad day. It really has been helping me, it's just sometimes hard to find the time to do it! I also take this time to sometimes write to my babies, fill out the baby books, etc. It just gives me some intentional time to reflect and I need that... the days can be long but the weeks and months FLY by and I feel like I don't stop to remember or really feel those sweet moments too. Writing them down helps.
Yoga/Walking/Breathing. So I have not been great at making time for this at all lately. I'm trying to figure this new season out, and what I've learned now as a mom of 2 under 2 is that I have to GRAB ONTO those moments for myself. Like I have to fight for it. When I get them both napping at the same time, if I don't force myself to take a breath, do some yoga, listen to music, whatever... I just go into this spiral of never-ending chores and that never serves me. I am learning that I have to fight for little ways to fill up my cup so I'm not constantly running on empty. Down the road I'm hoping this can be before all the babies wake up. Right now with a nursing baby that wakes in the night, I don't have that set time in the mornings so I have to take it where I can get it! And ask for help when I need. This is my greatest struggle right now, but I'm learning it's SO important.
Get Outside. When the days feel like they are falling apart, grab the babies and get outside. It helps calm my nervous system, my toddler's, my baby's, and resets our day a little bit. And my toddler could spend hours outside, so it just helps me to have a few moments of peace while my toddler runs around. And when my baby is super fussy? Going outside almost ALWAYS calms her. I realized that if I'm trying to put her down for a nap and she is just NOT having it, if I reset and take a quick walk outside it calms us both down to try again. And helps keep me from straight up losing it, which I do sometimes.
Seek Professional Help When Necessary. This can mean a lot of different things for different mamas. I have been seeing a counselor since I was pregnant, both for my marriage and for myself. We just found that we need it, and it has been so good for our marriage and my mental health. There is NO shame in bringing in a professional, and seeking ways to manage some of the things we have been feeling that is beyond our control or capacity. But this can also mean so many things... It's important to take care of yourself, and I am realizing that now more than ever as a mama of 2 babies. Getting a massage, doing some acupuncture, taking a workout class, hiring someone to clean your house, etc. I just have realized how important it is to lean into the ways in which other people can help me feel better, and more like myself during a hard season.
Embrace and accept that you are NOT in control. This is something that I'm working on every single day, but it really does help me to feel better. I don't need to be in control of every single thing that happens to everyone around me. Our days don't need to be so rigid that when things happen to throw it off we feel SO defeated. I have to tell myself this constantly to feel ok about those bad days. I need that constant reminder that I really am not in control, and I shouldn't feel like I am. My babies are human, and they have good and bad days. Embracing the chaos of these days raising babies is part of the beauty of it. So when things feel a little out of control in your home or your heart, just sit in it for a moment. Don't try to "fix" it. Our babies don't need control or perfection, a perfectly clean home, or a schedule and routine that cannot be flexible. Our babies just need us to be present in the chaos with them, to feel safe nurtured and loved... and that's all.
I hope your heavy days feel a little bit lighter soon, mamas. And just in case it makes you feel any better, I am right there with you feeling the heaviness.