Before we had our first child, I became fascinated with the postpartum period: the personal transformation that’s possible if you’re nurtured, allowed enough space to sit with the changes and probably most important of all, open to surrender. Cultures around the world have recognized this critical juncture for centuries and emphasize the need to “mother the mother” to support her transition from woman to mother. In Ayurveda, the first 42 days is considered a sacred window, a time that defines the next 42 years.
I entered my postpartum days with a list of things I wasn’t going to do…things like worrying about how my body looked, hyper-focusing on keeping our house tidy and perfect, getting out of bed, entertaining and being active too soon. Despite a couple of setbacks, the first six weeks went beautifully. I felt physically healed, at peace and so deeply connected to our daughter.
Fast forward to today, eight months later. Over the past month, my emotions started to spike, and suddenly feel turbulent, seemingly out of nowhere. My nervous system felt unbalanced. I was having dreams about flooding water and rollercoasters, an ongoing theme in my dreams when I’m feeling emotionally overwhelmed in life.
I felt myself going off track, so I started focusing more on restoring balance to my body and recommitted to my spiritual practice. I also booked a psychic reading this week with Gina Fuschetto, She talked me through several visuals she saw of my emotional state, and we talked about what the symbolism meant to me. Through that experience, I was finally able to see my emotional landscape more objectively.
In my attempt to do everything “right” in my postpartum period (and let’s be honest, my life overall) I missed the bigger picture…the importance of letting go. I held too tightly to my ideal vision of what my postpartum period “should” be that I unknowingly managed and controlled my emotions throughout the process. As a result, my inner world felt only partially acknowledged.
That realization is so liberating. I haven’t appreciated how much pressure I’ve been putting on myself. The changes I’ll make are small but profound. I am determined to be more vulnerable with my loved ones and myself about how I’m really feeling. And I’m committed to being even more transparent about my own experiences on this platform, too.
As I reflect on the past eight months of motherhood, my biggest surprise has been that the healing process (emotional and physical) hasn’t been linear…and I don’t think I’m alone in that experience. I expected the transition to be really hard for the first six weeks and then taper off in a predictable way once we got the swing of things. I focused so much on that sacred window that I really didn’t give myself permission to struggle after that. But I found that actually, there have been so many ebbs and flows…
Months 0-2 – physical healing, complete awe, crying because of deep love, not having a clue
Month 3 – feeling adjusted, starting to get in a rhythm
Month 4 – major sleep setback for baby, tired, depleted, anxious
Month 5-6 – deeper physical healing, finding a good schedule for us
Month 7 – loss of self, feelings of monotony, mild depression, disruption from teething leading to crankiness and lack of sleep
Month 8– return to balance and to self
As a first born and a perfectionist, I wanted make motherhood look easy. But I owe it to myself to let it look messy and complicated and exhausting, because it is! That’s not the lesson I expected to learn during my sacred window, but I’m so incredibly thankful that I see it now and that I can set the intention to let. it. go.