With Mother’s Day celebrated this month, we are delighted to feature a two part guest blog series to support new moms. The transition into motherhood can be disorienting in it’s great challenges and rewards. As Luminaries we have the ability to serve the important woman in our lives by honoring their big life transitions. To shine the bright lights of compassion and companionship to our mama friends as they give birth to new versions of themselves.
Life is full of monumental passageways- when we dare to span the distance between what ‘was’ and what ‘is becoming.’ These identity-related transitions occur when we bravely leave the comforts of a familiar sense of self for the promise of something new and meaningful that will change us forever.
That’s why we can’t wait to share this article encouraging new moms with you. Kendall Nations offers heartfelt wisdom helping you (or a mom you hope to support) combine and nurture personal aspirations with the exceptional role of a ‘mother.’ In fact, her 5 tips are so practical yet powerful, they can be applied to any big life transition you may be facing.
We hope this lovely perspective will help all woman journey with more elegance and ease as we work together to grow in our capacity to change, dare greatly and expand our sense of self.
With love, Cara & Amber
It is when we are in transition that we are most alive. One of my greatest transitions has been into motherhood. For me, motherhood began when I looked at my child for the first time. We didn’t find out the sex of our first child, so it was a surprise and an awakening to meet this baby. He was really here.
Initially, I was terrified. I remember I almost didn’t want to take him into my arms, feeling the deep fear of the change I knew was eminent. This feeling lasted mere seconds, and the moment he was on my chest I was swimmingly dizzy with love. The coming weeks of learning to be a mom were filled with many emotions. Elation. Relief. Depletion. Support. I consider myself fortunate that these are the words I use to describe postnatal recovery. I dove head first into motherhood, allowing myself to be absorbed by every breath, challenge, and smile Keagan bounced my direction. Before having him, I often heard that I wouldn’t even remember my life before he was in it. I disagree with this statement, as I definitely did, and still do, remember the freedom of being alone in the world. But I wouldn’t change my life now.
I consider motherhood my greatest transition because while I dove in, I also had to tread to find myself again. I think it’s more accurate to say I didn’t really know who I was after having him. Sure, I’m now a mother and I prioritize that over many other parts of myself. But there is always more to the story, and I struggled for many months to write those chapters–to discover what I was able to offer in addition to being a caregiver, a food provider, and a midnight sleep inducer. The main chapter of my personal recovery was allowing Keagan into my work.
I felt ready to return to teaching yoga and barre when Keagan was around six months old. We moved from Japan to California when he was four months old and by the time I found a gym that I wanted to teach at, and felt comfortable with their childcare, he was around seven months. It felt so good to be back in the studio, teaching women about their bodies and engaging with their health. After my first class I was on cloud nine and really feeling like myself when I waltzed in to find Keagan a ball of tears. My sweet baby had cried the entire hour I was teaching. I rushed out of the gym, took him to the car, and nursed him while I cried.
As is often experienced in post natal recovery, I was confused by the intense polarity of experiencing two opposites: I was elated with my latest achievement, but also heartbroken over his sacrifice. I continued to teach at the same gym for a few weeks, hoping that he’d adjust to the child care. The ladies who ran the center were incredibly patient and kind, holding him while he screamed. The week he finally adjusted and only cried for a few minutes is the week the gym cancelled my class for lack of attendance. Frustrated, I began the search for a next chapter that would nurture both of us.
It was a few months later while I was bathing Keagan that I had the idea for Jamberri Fit. The idea was an online “mom and me” library of fitness classes–offering workouts for moms to do with their child at home in the event they also had a child that didn’t like child care. My idea evolved and with the support of my husband, family, and close friends, I started my company and website. The site has now grown to include videos to meet the needs of pregnant women, those in postnatal recovery, and those wanting “mom and me” classes to do with their child. For me, this was the stitching between my two worlds–that of a mom and that of a fitness instructor. Here are some tips I’ve found tremendously helpful on the journey to melding my aspirations as a woman and my new life as a mom.
5 Ways to Nurture Your New Life as a Mom
- Start a daily check in. As a new mom I was shocked at how quickly days flew by. I enjoyed my new routine of taking care of another being, but my daily check-in’s became less about me, and more about the baby. It’s important to still check in with yourself, as detailed in this lovely post from Amber & Cara at Be Luminary.
- Note what you love, and introduce it back into your life. After a baby, life can be hectic. Once things calm a bit, begin the rituals that make you really happy. For me, that’s my morning cup of coffee and taking a yoga class. Prioritize those things in your life, even if it means waking up 20 minutes before your child or family, or asking your partner to assist in preparing meals, etc. so you can slip out for a yoga class. If this isn’t realistic, close a door and turn on a Jamberri Fit workout.
- Ask the hard questions. Often it’s assumed that our post-baby life will look similar to our pre-baby life, which often isn’t the case. It’s not that we can’t have it all (as in my case, meaningful work and motherhood) but something we’ll adjust because working mothers are more than just workers and mothers pasted together. I found this article immensely helpful for finding out how to ask the questions to direct my career post-baby.
- Seek out support. We are often asked ‘are you ready’ before having a baby. I have diapers, so…yes? But do we really know what we’ll need to be able to anticipate our needs? Nope. Instead we should be asking each other during pregnancy: ‘do you have support?’ Truly, it’s not about being prepared, it’s about having a system in place to catch you when needed. This may be family, a spouse, friends, or a community of other like-minded people. Seek it out and allow these people to guide you in moments of confusion. They’ll not only remind you of who you are, but the direction to guide you.
- Connect the things you love. I listed above to note the things you love. Now, take that a step further and connect them to your bigger purpose! If you love spending time with your child and shopping, perhaps it’s time to start that blog you’ve been thinking about for years. Transition can be a refreshing time to start something new. Take a deep breath and start!
Finding who we are and letting our purpose evolve post-child can be tricky. However, we can continue to grow and develop an even stronger sense of self woven into the process of transition after a baby. This interweaving is vital. We don’t need to have separate identities of woman (when we’re on our own) and mother (when we’re caring for a child). There is so much power in the life of US–in weaving all the threads of our sense of self and our role in our child’s life together into something new.
P.S. Moms- as you’ve moved through the transition from independent woman to ‘mother’, what has helped you to find the new you?
Her credentials include over 20 years of yoga practice, a certification in Power Yoga, and teaching “live” yoga, barre and Pilates classes in her community. She also has a foundation in dance, with 10 years of ballet training and teaches beginning ballet to toddlers. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is focused on building women up to feel powerful, strong, and more engaged with their lives. When not recording new workouts for Jamberri Fit, she can be found trying to sneak leaves (aka, lettuce) and other healthy offenders into her toddler’s diet, playing outside with her family, and seeking out new adventures.
Check out her wonderful work and workouts here: www.jamberrifit.com