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Coming Back to Trust

Photo Credit: Meredith Costello

When I was pregnant I accepted and respected my body, I truly appreciated the wonder of what it is capable of, and I felt beautiful. It was unconditional love and acceptance that I had previously never known or had been able to give to myself. I was intentional with my choices and considerate of how they impacted the life growing inside me. I nourished myself lovingly with healthy foods and movement, I journaled and meditated to manage my stress and envision the labor and childbirth I desired. I read multiple books about natural birth. I developed mantras for myself. I even drew a "birth picture." I spent most of pregnancy "preparing" for childbirth.

Without a doubt my labor and birth was probably the only time I have ever had complete faith in myself and my body, there was an absolute absence of doubt, most importantly I never entered into the fear zone and thus the vision I carefully crafted was realized. I believe this had a lot to do with TRUST, though, I am fully aware and compassionate that birth does not always go as planned.

Photo Credit: Meredith Costello

So, what's the point of me telling you all this? Well, it isn't to ramble on and paint a fairytale picture of my pregnancy and birth, though I do enjoy reflecting on it. The story I'd really like to share is what has happened since, in hopes that it might resonate with other mothers and parents.

So here it goes.

While birth was blissful and the early days of motherhood were a bubble of love, a few sleepless weeks turned into many months and with that came many questions and doubts. Looking back and reflecting now, I will share that I experienced high anxiety and depression at times. All my intentional ways of being, my self-care practices that I placed such high importance on in pregnancy were much harder to come by during my son's first year of life, and although I felt oh so in love with my tiny little human, my relationship with myself took a turn for the worse.

It has now been nearly three years of motherhood, and I have returned to a somewhat more balanced state which I attribute to placing greater attention on my self-care. I consider my well-being the vital means for navigating the physical and emotional highs and lows of motherhood. The journey to this point has been a rollercoaster ride of immense love and sometimes overwhelming anxiety, tremendous joy, and unbelievable exhaustion, wonderment and frustration, exciting adventure and doubt, growth and guilt. With all of the ups and downs, trusting myself has been difficult.

What's more is that we are now parenting with a wealth of information at our fingertips on the "best ways" and "how to's" for parents to do nearly everything. Baby sleep books, blogs and sleep programs (I certainly know I desperately delved into a number of these). Books on increasing your child's intelligence, supporting and understanding their development. How to develop healthy habits and a strong immune system. The best practices for making your child a "good eater." Vaccinations. The list goes on. There is a book or resource for almost anything you can think of. And we cannot forget the most dangerous of all, the internet, or as I like to refer to it "the vortex of fear." I say this mostly in regards to googling anything that has to do with your child's health. People warned me about this, but I will admit I have been guilty more than a few times of going down the rabbit hole of the symptom checker.

Don't get me wrong I love learning, and I own many books related to the topics mentioned above, but with all of this access to information, we can lose sight of the voice that matters the most, YOUR OWN. If you layer on other people's well-meaning opinions of what they think will work best for your child, it all creates a bunch of distracting and confusing noise, all of which can drown out your ability to hear and trust your motherly instincts and intuition.

What I have come to realize is that none of these books compare to the experience of being a mother. Nothing could have ever prepared me for being a mother, and though some of these resources are helpful with certain aspects of parenting, they don't matter as much as staying present, and parenting from a place of love and patience for myself and my child. No book is going to teach me how to trust myself or navigate the unique path of our growth together as parent and child. The same is true for any mother or parent that is reading this that has or is struggling to trust themselves.

Bringing life into this world enters you into an unknown and uncertain territory full of learning curves. I am not sure that anyone completely understands what they are signing up for when they become a parent. I think there are certain parts of the ‘terms of agreement' contract that we must skim through because if we read closely, it might be too much for us to agree too. We're talking the sleepless nights, the emotions, the tantrums, anxiety related to your child's health and safety, the challenges to your self-care and loss of complete personal freedom, but probably the most heart wrenching, is the very fine-print on when your child gets gravely ill, or god forbid if you lose your child.

Luckily, the most compelling part of the contract is labeled "unparalleled love" and it sights that we will never know a love like the one we feel for our children, a love that is so pure that we would do anything to keep them safe and see them happy. A love that you can feel in your entire body that makes you feel like your heart could explode at any moment. I think it's this love that is the saving grace of the harder parts of parenting. It is this love that creates life, and that we can use as our guiding light in the darker times. It is in this love that we must place our trust.

Photo Credit:Meredith Costello

Being a mother or father is hard on so many levels, if you are always second-guessing yourself, judging yourself, or telling yourself that you are inadequate; it's even harder. and if you don't make time to take care of yourself, it is far more difficult to overcome the inevitable challenges.

I extend this invitation to all parents- TRUST YOURSELF. Trust your partner and work together. You have a unique bond with your child, a connection and understanding of them beyond any resource or opinion.

"You are enough; you have enough, you have all that you need, come what may you have all that you need." This unknown quote was my birth mantra, I am coming back to asserting this as my truth, feel free to join me if you like.



For any mother who has or is experiencing mental health and mood-related challenges, you are not alone. Join me at the Climb Out of the Darkness event or kindly donate.