“In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves.” – Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
When I became a mother 2 years ago, I experienced the incredible happiness and changes linked to parenthood. And like all experiences in life, as wonderful or challenging they may be, there is always something about yourself you can learn.
Here are 5 valuable lessons becoming a parent can teach you about life:
1. An inner strength you never knew you had.
Going through pregnancy and giving birth can be very difficult for some women. For me, what came after that was the hardest part. I wasn’t prepared for it, at all! I remember that specific moment looking at my little baby girl and suddenly realizing that I was going to be responsible for this fragile human being for the rest of my life. It was the scariest thought I had had in years! Of course I was aware of it before, but knowing it and facing the reality of it are 2 very different things. Then came the lack of sleep, the worrying about everything, the constant doubt about doing things correctly or not, the extreme fatigue, wondering at the same time where the “old me” had gone!
Yet, somehow, in this major breakthrough, I felt an incredible strength that was much stronger than all of my disturbing emotions and feelings. It felt like a “super power” coming from my own body but also from my ancestors, a gift from Nature maybe, a Force that could push me and give me the courage to do absolutely anything for that little human being. It has never left me since then. Even when I have bad days, I know I can always rely on this Power.
2. Regaining lost freedom.
Becoming a parent is usually accompanied by losing something. For me letting go of my cherished freedom was something I had thought about a lot before being pregnant, but it hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I suddenly felt deprived of the most precious gift the Universe had given me.
The first thing that helped me deal with this loss was to accept it and let go of the “old Me”. I am still working on that! Then after a while came something else: moments, very short ones at first that became longer over time, where I could not only enjoy but rediscover what it really meant to be FREE. 15 minutes in a day for myself became a treasure, something I didn’t want to waste, a few precious minutes to spend alone, reading, breathing, talking to a very good friend, going out in the sun, writing… I really started appreciating the value of time and this freedom I almost took for granted before.
I have been interested in my personal growth for several years now and mindfulness has always been one of my goals. I believe it can be a pathway to happiness but I still find it very difficult to achieve.
However today, when my baby is asking for my full attention, while playing with a new toy or asking for a cuddle, I fully do it, not thinking about what time it is or what’s next to do. And when I completely surrender and commit to this moment with her, it feels like time just stops for a while. In those moments I can feel how my entire body and soul are aligned and at peace. It feels so right! Of course these moments can’t last very long but practice makes perfect right?!
I have always been the anxious type. And when I got pregnant, it didn’t get any better! But after a few weeks, something really strange happened. I started to hear a “little voice” inside of me. Some may say it was my Soul, I sometimes believed it was my baby talking to me and saying: “Don’t worry. Everything will be all right”. Before going to my first check up, I was quite nervous. I was wondering if everything would go well, if the baby was ok, always thinking “what if…”. Trying to calm myself down, breathing deeply, I heard that voice and thought “And what if she was right …?”.
When I got out of the hospital that day with only good news, I realized that the “little voice” was absolutely right and I decided to trust her no matter what. I went through the rest of my pregnancy with that spirit, and it felt like such a relief! After giving birth, it became a bit harder to hear but I discovered I still can when my mind is quiet for example when I am meditating. It takes more work than it used to but I know that it is still there and that most importantly, it never lies.
I am sure most women who give birth have this feeling about life. This idea was familiar to me but when I felt life growing inside of me, day after day, when I first met my baby’s eyes, when I look at her today, growing, laughing, experiencing, living, I can only feel so much gratitude for this Miracle that Life is. Caught up in our busy and well-organized lives, we tend to forget where we all come from and how extraordinary being alive is.
Since I gave birth to my baby, I have taken the habit of expressing Gratitude towards Life every day, my baby’s of course but mine as well. As Albert Einstein said: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”