Know Your Season
Morning friends! This morning is bright and sunny and beautiful. One of the best types of days during Ontario winters. I hope today you can find some sunshine to keep your chin high and your heart full.
Since starting Becoming Mom I've done a lot of reflection around my pregnancy and motherhood journey hoping to find some raw truths to share here. I have a few ideas, but the theme of seasons keeps cycling back. Discovering, validating, and owning the season you're in can be extremely empowering.
I believe that understanding the seasons of your life will help you navigate the strong feelings you may have, ease your suffering, encourage your growth, offer hope or perhaps aide in some much needed closure. I believe that winter's can be tough but spring is coming. I believe there is a time to sow and a time to reap, and there is a time to grow and a time to be still. And I think when you realize that in life, you grow. You get better.
When I think back to the first six months of Beaus life, I immediately think of the "newborn stage", the season of life where you're up routinely throughout the night, every 2-3 hours tending to your little bundle of joy. You're on duty around the clock, partially delusional, partially asleep, and entirely smitten with your baby. You stink, your hair hasn't been washed in days, you have spit up on almost all your hoodies, and you're the happiest most exhausted version of yourself. It can be tough staying afloat, and even tougher being present in the moment and not wishing away for a new season. The season with more baby (and momma) sleep, the season with longer naps (Beau was a short shooorrrtt napper until 5 months.. so I feel this one hardcore), a season that looked different in any way than the season you are currently in. I encourage you to stop that train of thought the moment you realize you're sitting in the caboose along for the ride. It'll rob you of the joy of this season. The season where baby cuddles are omnipresent, and the gentle and soft cooing is the theme song in your home. This is the season of recovery for your body, recovery for you soul, recovery for your little ones arrival (however that looked) into this big world. This is the season for rest, the season for learning, the season of patience. This is the time where you learn your rhythm and get into a groove with your little one. It's a hard season that helps create a great foundation for you and your family. There will be time of hectic schedules, of gymnastics and swimming lessons, potty training and play dates, and that will be a season with it's own learning curve and victories. But that isn't the season you are in now.
Recognizing the struggles of each season will help you overcome them. Having the ability to identify those difficult things is a great first step in working towards a solution, a better way of approach, or simply a shift in perspective and mindset. It has been proven time and time again how powerful it is naming and identifying emotions. I am feeling lonely. I am overwhelmed with a messy home. When my daughter cries I feel incapable to soothe her. Giving power to yourself can be as simple as saying exactly how you feel and understanding where your anxiety, fear, whatever is stemming from. Validating yourself, validating your partner, validating your child, is an incredible stepping stone to a supportive and empathetic life. You can't be thriving all the time. You'll burn out! It can't be summer all year round, the sun would scorch the earth. There needs to be a time of rest. There needs to be a time of growth. Strength, adaptability, resilience, gratitude, are ALL byproducts of challenging times and intentional living. Feel your feels; validate them and express them. Then figure out your game plan. You can do both, you can be both. I need help with household chores and I'd like to take a shower. I am exhausted from breastfeeding and I love spending that time with my son. I love my partner and I am unsure of how to communicate when we are both sleep-deprived and over-sensitive (hitting any nerves friends?). I have anxiety when I am not with my daughter and I need some time alone. You see. AND is a powerful way to communicate our needs. OR and BUT don't help much. We are complex people capable of incredible things... so surprise surprise we can feel more than one (even opposing) feeling. Crazy, right?
Really diving into your life, being present and intentional can only benefit you and your family. It's refreshing taking in all the messy, squishy, stinky, dimpley, glory of this first season of motherhood. And empowering to lift your hands up and say "Help! I want to learn, I want to succeed, I want to find my joy, annndddd I need some extra sleep, can you pick up groceries for me, I'm overwhelmed with all the information online and not sure what is the "right" thing to do, I need new clothes because my body keeps changing (Momma, you buy the sh*t you feel good in. ahah don't let anyone tell you differently). Sure, you'll be exhausted, you and you partner will have to navigate your new roles as parents without loosing your sh*t on each other (guilty, guilty, guilty), and you won't have a clue on what is the "right" thing to do. But you'll learn. You'll grow, and each day will get easier and easier. You'll start appreciating the season you are in when you are intentional around practicing gratitude. I can't emphasize this enough. The days can be so challenging, but we all know it is so, so worth it. So, I encourage you to embrace your season, embrace the new challenges, and embrace the changes as they come. You are the best momma for your baby.
All my love,