One of the biggest challenges of early motherhood is the nearly complete loss of personal time. Added to hormonal swings and sleep deprivation (lucky here) and the “baby blues” are nearly a given. (Don’t worry folks, I don’t have Post Partum Depression.) I do have times of extreme irritability, coupled with a loss of access to my normal mood stabilizing routine. For instance, when I was 4 months pregnant with Julia, I went to a retreat with Amma, and learned her IAM meditation. I practiced it nearly every morning until Julia was born. (I missed about 3 days pre-birth, and would generally have a “bad” day at those times.) Now Julia is nearly 3 months old (I attribute her extremely sweet disposition at least in part to her in-utero meditation). I’ve gotten to meditate a grand total of 2 or 3 times since she was born! I try not to worry about it too much, since I know this time is short in the grand scheme of things.
Another issue is exercise. I’ve seen those power moms out there pushing their jogging strollers with another kid strapped on their back or front, and I’ve done my share of kid toting walks. But pushing a stroller and baby wearing both stress my back, and as a constant state, are exhausting! Nursing is also hard on my back- its hard not to have terribly slouchy, twisted posture while sitting and nursing. (Lying down is better.) I’d love to be able to slip out to a yoga class, or go on a walk unencumbered sometime! (Hopefully soon.)
But now I’ll stop complaining, and list what I can do.
–Breathe– this always available. heck, we do it all the time. Add awareness, possibly a visualization or mantra… AAHHHHHHhhhhhhhh
–Qigong: Not as universally available, but easier to “fit in the cracks”, usually when Julia is napping and I’m playing with Viola. I can do this for a few minutes between pushes on the swing, practice posture in line at the grocery store…
–Go Outside: a little sunlight and fresh air work wonders.
Call or visit a friend– this is great, but I wish I had more friends close by.
I’d love to hear from other new moms about what you do to keep your sanity.