We celebrated Vanaya's first birthday this month and after a year of motherhood it feels like a milestone. Being a mum has definitely been one of my greatest achievements. Looking back over the last twelve months I feel really proud of being able to guide another human being through the journey of life. It has definitely been a year of immense change and discovery. The lessons have been real and deep and through the process Vanaya has been the light guiding me on this path.
To honour this milestone I wanted to share my approach to motherhood. As a yoga teacher yoga is a way of life so I knew that when I became a mum I would take a 'yogic' approach. Here are some of the yogic practices I use in Motherhood which I feel have really helped me through the journey. If you are a mum or you are thinking about having children I hope these practices can help or guide you too.
This is by far the most important and valuable tool in my tool box as a mum. I feel really grateful to have been practicing meditation for so many years before becoming a mum. I feel this really helps me to connect with my intuition. When I connect with my intuition I know that my actions are coming from a place of truth. This brings me into perfect alignment with Vanaya and what she needs and requires from me.
Unfortunately sometimes my motherly intuition can get over shadowed by the advice of others or by taking in too much information from books, media, online etc. Not to say these resources are not useful but when the information overwhelms me it can cause me to feel anxious or unsettled which are significant signs that I need to ground my energy and come back to myself and my truth.
In order to follow my motherly intuition I have to trust myself and be confident with my decisions. This has been one of the hardest things for me as I can often worry about what other people think. However when I stand up for myself and my choices with conviction it gives me the strength to be the best mother I can be for Vanaya.
I feel that more mothers need to connect and trust their motherly intuition. So often we look for the approval from others or by searching the internet. However if we can just trust ourselves it will give our children the foundation and stability they need to be the best version of themselves too.
I think any mother would agree with me that they would do anything for the wellbeing of their child and not only their child but their family as a whole. At times I have felt a strong sense and need to protect Vanaya. This energy has often come out so strongly that I have even shocked myself that I could feel this way. However when you have been entrusted with the life of another being it is only natural to feel and act as a warrior. I also see this as a basic animal instinct to 'protect the herd'.
It's taken me some time to trust that I know what is right for myself and my child. Once you have conviction in your truth it is easier to bring up the warrior within you to protect and defend yourself and your family.
Detachment can be hard to comprehend especially when you love and care for someone so much. As a mother your heart wells up with so much love and then your mind can take over which can start to control that love. Also when you detach it can feel like you don't care which can turn into feelings of guilt especially if you don't have a sense of confidence or conviction in yourself.
The way I started to understand this concept of detachment was to let go of 'fussing' over Vanaya. This often comes from a place of anxiety and my thoughts can sound like; is she too hot, is she too cold, has she eaten enough, is she happy etc. But actually when I let go of that mental chatter and create space within my mind I am more able to hear the voice of intuition which will tell me exactly what I need to do for Vanaya. I'm not perfect and I'm still learning to understand how to do this as anxiety can often creep in especially when you have the major role of caring for another human being.
A practical example of detachment is the process of baby led weaning. This is a technique used to transition babies from milk to solid foods. The process requires you to offer your baby a plate of food which they then use their hands to explore, touch and taste. It can be a messy process but it is so much fun. I’ve used this method with Vanaya and she uses her hands to eat the food therefore I don’t need to spoon feed her or try and force food into her mouth. She naturally eats what she wants to eat and the process requires me to trust that Vanaya will eat what she wants and needs. The key is to always offer her a selection of food and to give her variety. I truly believe in this technique and Vanaya eats well and is gaining good weight. Also as you practice this technique you start to recognise when they have eaten enough and as long as you give them a variety of food then they will also get all the nutrients they need.
From this example we can see that detachment means guiding them on a certain path but then letting go and allowing them to explore things in their own natural way.
Self-Love and Self Care
The role of the mother and parents together is so valuable and important because we are shaping the child’s future as well as humanity as a whole. It is a huge responsibility when we look at it in this perspective. This can feel overwhelming however when we accept the role and embrace the intrinsic power we have to positively change future generations the role becomes empowering and beautiful.
I feel as a mum I am responsible for owning the title and being proud of being a mum. The reason I write this is because the job of a mother is not valued enough. Yes there is definitely a movement occurring where we are as a society consciously starting to understand the importance of mothers and women as a whole. However unconsciously and at a subtle level I feel that people don't give credit to the work and true purpose of a mother.
As I said and I reiterate here we are shaping lives and I have found that in order to give Vanaya the opportunity for her soul to shine I have to work on my own inner energy.
In particular I have been working on healing my inner child. As children we all start to create habits, thoughts and patterns which affect us subconsciously during adulthood. Even if we had a happy and abundant childhood we still carry certain beliefs and thoughts which not only affect us as we become adults but they also affect our parenting and how we raise our children. Often these beliefs and thoughts can then be carried on over generation after generation. If the thoughts and beliefs are positive then this can create a strong purposeful energy however if the thoughts and beliefs are negative they can hinder the soul's purpose and progression through life. Therefore mothers who are also self-healers are doing intrinsic, valuable and purposeful work which I feel needs far greater recognition and emphasis.
So if you are a mum I want to celebrate you! I want all mothers to know and value the depth of their role as a mother and to be proud of the title. Motherhood is God's work and when we allow the Divine to shine though us via our intuition, undeniable warrior strength and our ability to detach and let go of our role we have surely done the work of a great heroine.
Lots of love,
These are some resources I have found helpful;
‘What Mothers Do: Especially When it Looks Like Nothing’ by Naomi Stadlen
‘Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food’ by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
The Motherkind Podcast by Zoe Blaskey
Please note that all the thoughts and opinions I share here are my own.