I am having to learn myself again.
Clara, as I knew her, just even two years ago is gone. The things I care about are different. Most of the relationships I had two years ago are gone and the ones that stayed are different. They have been upgraded and do not look as they did. They are more life-giving and more fulfilling; more intimate and more true.
I am a mother to not just one but two beautiful girls that have taught me more about life and living than anything else I have ever endeavored.
My body looks completely different than it did before I was ever pregnant.
The skin on my stomach stretched to the max two times in two years. My organs have been squished to the inside edges to make room for the growing beings in my uterus. My breasts have swelled with milk and been emptied countless times leaving them bigger and well worn.
My arms, back and hips called upon to hold and rock and bounce and carry at most waking hours (and a lot of night time hours as well) leaving them achey and sore. The breastfeeding hunger, hormones, sleep deprivation and full permission to eat whatever my body yearns for has left my body with about 50 lbs more weight on my form overall. My sweet and wise body’s way of making sure that we have what we need to survive in case of another self-induced famine.
I have slowly and methodically taken my energy back into myself from the compensatory energy sucks and extractive habits I had developed.
I have taken so much more responsibility for my own well being.
I am talking about real responsibility. Not just making lists of “self care” practices and shaming myself into doing them. Not just giving myself a list of ‘shoulds’ and rules. Not just finding some expert to tell me what I need to do or not do. I mean really taking responsibility for myself and my energy. Going thread by thread. Baby step by baby step.
No more sitting around feeling out of control of my life and thinking it’s about someone else (my husband, my friends, my parents, etc) coming to save me. No more complaining or being victimized by my life circumstances. No more blaming someone or something else for my exhaustion or depletion or unhappiness. No more fantastical wishful thinking. No. It’s been a digging down and process of finding and cultivating my inner resources and advocating clearly for my own needs.
The word that keeps coming up is: maturation.
I have matured so much in these past two years. I have grown older in the best possible sense. My body has been used in the most natural and beautiful way. My orientation has become more internal and less external. Checking in with myself first; making decisions based on how they will affect my inner landscape, not the outer.
As with all change, even when it is largely exactly what you want, there is grief and loss. I was listening to a song the other day that I had seen preformed live at a concert before COVID, before I had become a mother, before… and this bubble of grief rose up in my chest and I burst into sobs.
I remembered the exact way it felt to only have myself to worry about.
I remember feeling so deeply in love with my husband and having this feeling that he was the only person I needed. I remember dancing and loving the way my body rocked and swayed. I felt so sexy. I felt like this was the pinnacle. This is what I wanted forever; to be young and carefree and hot.
Sitting on the couch, nursing a baby, making sure a toddler doesn’t smack her head off the table, in my achey, sleep deprived and well-worn body, I felt heavy with responsibility. I felt so, so sad. I felt the deep loss of carefreeness and my youth.
I felt the deep truth that the Maiden is no longer the dominant archetype of my life and the Mother is here.
The Mother is so good. She is so strong. She is so capable. She is so committed. She is mature. She is wise. She is the steady earth that you can rest upon. She will hold you and rock you to sleep no matter what time of night. She will make sure you are fed and loved and safe. She is responsible.
This is such a gift to be able to feel how much I’ve changed. To be able to feel proud, happy, and in love with the new mature Clara, but to honor the loss of the younger self and feel that loss all the way through.
As I come into the mother and welcome her fully into my being, I am getting to know and learn a completely new Clara.
The things that used to fill me up aren’t really it anymore. I want a slower, bass-ier type of nourishment; a little less flashy, not so much extra.
In our society so many mothers become martyrs, and I really understand how and why that happens.
It’s honestly something I have to constantly check myself on. On the third dimensional reality it would be a lot easier for me to be the victimized the martyr. It’s the common picture we get shown. Mothers are selfless. Mothers would do anything for their children. Mothers put their own needs last. Mothers do so much more in the realm of childcare than the fathers. That’s what a good mother does, right?
But the Mother isn’t a martyr. She is a Queen.
Part of the maturation process is actually taking responsibility for my needs. To say something like, “I don’t have time to take care of my needs,” or “I don’t have the money for childcare,” or “my husband just isn’t as good with the kids as I am,” or “this is just the way it is for us,” is a giving up of responsibility and defaulting to the victim. It doesn’t mean these things are true on some level, it just means when you stop there; you’re giving up your responsibility and creativity.
I can feel my victim getting activated here. I can feel the part of me that wants to scream, “BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY TIME!!”
But this is where the juice of my practice of taking responsibility and coming into maturity lies. That is the practice of precision and going down a layer deeper every time I just want to shut it down and play the victim/martyr card.
Mother-Queens are not victimized and Mother-Queens take exquisite care of themselves.
With the maturity and knowledge that if they are well taken care of; their family is better off. It is not actually ultimately about them; it’s about what is best for the whole family.
This is not a little-s-selfish process; it is a big-S-Selfish process. The mother is the center of it all. The health of the mother is literally the health of family. This is easier to see with pregnancy and infancy, but it’s really always true. The mother is the gravity of the family.
When a mother’s needs are unmet; the family’s needs are unmet.
And so, this is why I feel it is the highest importance to get to know what really fills me, Mother-Clara, up.
- Walking in nature
- Writing by candlelight
- Reading by candlelight
- Waking up early and having space and alone time in the quiet
- Taking a nap with one my of my daughters
- Sitting down at the table and eating dinner with my family
- Giving my daughters a bath
- Time alone with my husband
- Sleeping in the same bed as my husband
- Watching my daughters learn to do something new
- Watching the sunset
- Laying down or sitting in the sun
- A yoga class with a masterful teacher
- Hot epsom salt baths
- Applying and massaging oil to my whole body and speaking loving words to myself
- Connected and present sex
- Really good food
- Cooking something I’m excited about cooking for my family or friends
- Long hugs
- Getting texted pictures of my friend’s babies and lives
- Reading poetry
- Warm milk with honey before bed
- Watching my husband with our daughters
- Writing with no time constraints or ideas about what I’m supposed to be writing
- Gazing at beautiful views
- Yoga nidraThere are so much more I am sure, but this is what came to mind.
We love this beautiful excerpt from wise, intuitive Clara, a mama and cherished part of the Our Yoga Fam. Find more of her musings + wisdom here.
Leave a comment below letting us know what this brought up for you, what resonated, and what belongs on your ‘fills me up’ list.