Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.
There is a theory, first put forth by Rudolph Steiner, that every seven years we begin a new cycle in life. I came across this theory in college and then again when my oldest child was little, but never paid it much heed for my own life until this past year when my twins were born.
I look back on these seven years of motherhood as if I had finished a chapter of a book. This chapter begins with a question that I continued to ask until my twins were born. The question traveled deep within my body and worked its way upward until I really understood that I was asking myself a very different question.
Year One: The Root Chakra
The Root chakra is about being physically present and feeling comfortable no matter the situation.
In the beginning, I thought I was asking my happily childfree self, “Do I want to have kids?” I wasn’t sure so I kept asking and looking inside. Finally, I was comfortable with a very firm, “I don’t know.” It didn’t feel like a mistake to have kids. It felt like I was laying groundwork to take a leap away from who I was into the unknown and trust that I’d still be on the other side when I landed.
This pregnancy was very physical for me. I spent a lot of time learning about the physical aspects of labor, birth, breastfeeding, and tending to a newborn’s needs. I was focused on where exactly this baby was going to come out of my body.
I spent time in physically vigorous yoga classes, kept running, and basically trained for birth like a sport. It was a good thing since my labor, was 26 hours long.
Once my newborn was here, I was in shock that he was here that it took me a little while to bond with him. He had been a part of my body for so long and now he was separate from me.
But, all the training paid off. All the grounding allowed me to take another leap to fall in love with him.
Year Two: The Sacrum
The Sacral chakra is about allowing feelings to flow and being comfortable with your body.
In year two, my baby and I are learning each other’s rhythms. I was learning to be comfortable giving and receiving love in an unconditional way that I had never experienced.
I felt comfortable in my body for the first time in my life. I not only grew and birthed this baby, now I produced food and gave life-giving comfort to this little being. I gave myself permission to like my body without reservation, even the parts I wasn’t happy with. I decided not to care what anyone else said about my body, too.
Then, a surprise pregnancy and stillborn daughter brought me to the deepest sadness and anger I had ever felt. I had to learn to allow feelings and the intense discomfort that goes along with them. I had to learn fast or I wouldn’t be sticking around to be a mother to my son.
Year Three: The Navel
The Navel chakra is about feeling in control and having sufficient self esteem.
Year three, I gave birth to my second son. He looks the most like me of all my kids. Yet again, I confronted all the things I didn’t like about myself. I loved my second son. I loved the way he looked, not because we look so much alike, but because he looks like himself.
I got over myself with my second son. I didn’t hold onto evaluating the way I look anymore. Even though I was already learning to accept myself, I hadn’t let go of deciding whether I liked something about myself or not. I unconditionally love this freckle-faced, brown-eyed, curly-haired kid. I see his easy unselfconscious way of moving through the world and remember a bit of what that was like.
I feel like I hit my stride as a parent this year. I softened and relaxed into parenting. I had sadness that helped me understand how precious every moment is. And I had confidence in my inner strength after surviving the depression after my daughter’s stillbirth and post partum depression after my son’s birth.
Year Four: The Heart
The Heart chakra is about love, kindness, compassion and affection.
This was the year I became pregnant my Buddha baby. I sang often to this cherished baby while he was growing. I knew I needed to pay attention to this pregnancy because it’s so easy to miss things when you’re already parenting.
I spent time during this pregnancy being soft and giving love. My oldest son was coming into the relatively easier age of four and my second son was heading into a surprisingly mellow second year so I allowed all the pregnancy hormones free rein to cuddle and give patience.
As I continued to practice compassion inward and to my children, I began extending that outward. I understood that being heart-centered and giving that love to others was a safe place to be. It had little to do with the other person and everything to do with personal freedom.
Year Five: The Throat
The Throat chakra is about expression yourself and talking.
Buddha baby came barreling out into the world at top speed and hasn’t stopped since. I was highly vocal during his birth. I felt like I was talking and writing constantly during the first year of Buddha’s life. There’s little wonder why he speaks far beyond his years now.
My husband and I endlessly discussed our family size. He was content with our family of five, but I felt like our family wasn’t complete.
Since my second pregnancy, I had been having dreams about two babies. I spoke about these dreams almost every day to my family and friends. I thought the first baby must have been my daughter who was dead, but there was another girl.
Year Six: The Third Eye
The Third Eye chakra is about insight and visualization.
Once I understood that we wouldn’t be having more children, I began anticipating the dreams about the birth of two girls. I went to sleep visualizing the birth of the two babies. It was a happy way to let go of my hope of a larger family.
I was very surprised when I became pregnant again because we were both on board with being done at this point. The odds were so highly against I should have been shocked. But, I knew I was having twins.
It felt like it was planned. Of course, I didn’t plan the sickness and pain that comes with a multiple pregnancy. I thought I had grown more tolerant of being in discomfort, but I had a lot more to learn about it.
I had to face a lot of fear about the births, especially once my care provider fired me and I was looking at a highly medicalized event. In the weeks I scrambled to create the best birth for myself and my babies, I spent a lot of time visualizing what I wanted and needed for this birth. I practiced every birth scenario that was possible in my mind so that I could do what was safest for my babies.
Year Seven: The Crown
The Crown chakra is about wisdom and being one with the world.
We did it. The births of my twins at home were an amazing experience. The three of us were in such a flow together that I often feel like they danced their way out while I breathed.
I remember after my second twin was born and all was quiet again, that I felt complete. We were snuggled in bed together breastfeeding and I began crying. I felt like everyone was here now. I look back on this moment in awe that I knew right away.
I still had to deal with post partum depression, D-Mer, and the various challenges of having two babies at once, but I did it with a feeling of comfort that my family was here and we could move forward together. It was as thought I had been waiting for everyone to get in the car and now we can hit the road.
As I turn the next page in this new chapter of my life, I know it will be without the potentials of pregnancies and new babies. In the middle of the seven year cycle, I couldn’t have imagined being done having babies. Now, I can’t imagine having more.
The question that I thought I was asking when I began this seven year cycle, “Do you want to have kids?” wasn’t really the question I was asking myself. It wasn’t year two that I began asking, “Am I enough?” My answer to this is that I am never enough. There just isn’t enough of my attention, energy, or even just enough of me to go around. It’s something I’ll continue to wrestle with.
However, whenever I feel this lack, I can always find enough love. And this is really what I’ve been asking all along (and what I will continue to ask, “Do I want to live my life knowing how to give and receive love?”
Image credits: Wikipedia
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon December 10 with all the carnival links.)
- Mature Student — Amber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she’d left behind – that of being a university student.
- And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
- Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
- Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
- Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
- Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama‘s parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
- A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
- Junctions — sustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
- Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she’s ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
- Why First Grade Means Growing Up… for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter’s transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
- First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
- Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
- Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
- The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, “Will I be enough for what comes next?”
- Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
- When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen‘s hobby of writing and blogging – it has turned into a side business. She’s sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you’re interested in following the same path.
- 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
- Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
- Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
- Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
- Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
- Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
- Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep‘s soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.