After given birth, you enter a new world. A beautiful, but smaller world where 90% of all your energy goes into the very small circle around you: your baby, partner and a small selection of friends and family.
The space you had in your life to do as you like freely is somewhat minimised to what others gift to you by way of childcare and support.
Physically, you have less space with the life of a tiny human longing for your milk and touch at all hours of the day and night. Emotionally, you are focused on the wellbeing of the precious being that you grew through, a long 40-week period (or more) of metamorphosis where you evolved from woman to mother.
Underneath this layer of eternal love and devotion, what is there? Is there the time and space to even investigate? Do we not make the time because we are afraid to see what may or may not be there after such huge change?
Two weeks after Ruben was born, I saw a craniosacral therapist and he asked me what I felt in my diaphragm? This used to be an area of expansion where I could breathe with such ease. My answer was “I feel hollow” – I feel nothing where I used to feel such space.
And so I find my yoga practice again: back to the mat I go. I try to find the space to breathe again but every time I do, emotion washes over me like a tidal wave and I let the tears fall. I am not sure if it is the loss of my past life or the baby that left my body to join the outside world or just the result of trauma. I am not sure if I need to keep up the breath work in order to create space or if I need to exert patience and allow space to grow before I can breathe into it. This process creates many questions with very few answers.
But my effort to answer all these unanswered questions starts now because underneath being a mother, I am a woman and I want to be a woman who grows through what she goes through. Understanding doesn’t come easily and maybe time will be my only ally. Meanwhile, I remain open: I wipe baby sick from my top, look at my beautiful son and thank my lucky stars that we are finally united after all these weeks of waiting.
There is so much more information now about mental health post-birth and awareness of post natal depression is increasing. Consequently, you get asked a lot “now… how ARE you?!” or “how are you REALLY?” and most days I find I am not really sure! I have neither the space nor energy to analyse how I really am and like most new mothers, I just try to make it to the end of each day with hygiene and sanity levels intact. There is the extremes of postnatal depression and those mothers sailing through the first few weeks with ease but I tell you one thing for sure, there is one heck of a spectrum in between the two!