Navigating postpartum Part 2: keeping the things that bring you home
This is one of the most useful things we can do in pregnancy: to explore what brings us home. Because chances are, they always will. To invest our time thinking about how we could make those things achievable on small scale.
So much changes in that early postpartum period. I was overjoyed when I realised these things stay the same.
That home is always home.
That the paths we had previously used to perform the sacred act of turning inward remain the same.
Albeit a bit less decadent.
I asked myself: What brings me home?
Yoga brings me home.
Writing brings me home.
Walking in nature.
Sunshine on skin.
Exploring some place new.
Catching a little pocket of sleep.
Snuggling up in an armchair with a warm blanket.
Delightfully, all these things were still available to me, just in smaller pockets than before.
So I redesigned, problem solved and carved out space for them.
Even now, three years postpartum, these are the very same things I rely upon to hold me strong.
And this has positive flow on effects for everyone in my family. I'm a much nicer person (and less of a perfectionist dictator) when I continually surround myself with small opportunities to come home.
Yes, they need to moulded to make them possible in this new life, but the feelings we were chasing before and the experiences we used to access those feelings are just the same.
Here how I have recreated my list to make it attainable for life with young ones:
Driving to a yoga class becomes a few intentional cat-cows while my kiddo builds a train set alongside.
Armchair snuggles now come with a tiny breastfeeder.
Walks in nature now include a pram and a toddler - and the fresh air and sunshine on skin feel just the same.
Sitting on the beach with my feet in the sand is recreated with a driving detour to catch a glimpse of that breathtaking ocean. If I'm feeling especially mindful I will take a few slow deep breaths and imagine the sensation of sand between my toes.
Exploring new cities has become exploring new streets. And as crazy as it sounds, I'm surprised at just how little difference that makes to me. Perhaps because the amount of stimulation feels appropriate for the amount of energy I have available for exploring.
Writing has morphed from dedicated cafe trips and almond chai's to scribbling on the back of envelopes when I catch an idea passing through from my heart. (The time when the toast is cooking is perfect for this. Just enough time.)
They all continue to lighten the load.
To help me feel into the expance.
The bottom line: work with what you've got to create what you need.
Yes, it can be frustrating. It's frustrating that I can't manage to get to a yoga class in community. That I can't haul up and spend a day on the couch alone with my book and a cup of tea.
Compromises need to be made, but no so much that I'm not filling my cup at all.
Time is short. But I need myself.
As heartbreaking as it is to see my yoga mat collecting dust in the corner, I know a time will come when the balance will swing back my way a little.
I can almost taste it.
And that is going to feel just mmmm.
So for now, I'll just be here, letting go of my perceived limitations, finding my centre, leaning on grace and coming home. X