Mothering is one of the most profound, transformative, and challenging journeys a woman will undertake in her lifetime. While the love and joy you can experience while watching your baby mature can make your heart soar, the day to day, moment to moment, experience of mothering can often feel grueling and endless. It has been said that for the mother, “the days are long, but the years are short.”
Not to worry. All that you are doing to prepare for an Ecstatic Birth is actually laying the foundation for you to mother with pleasure as well. Set by step, I’ll show you how each of our ecstatic birthing principles provide deep support for the mother in you that is being born. Many of the same tools that make for ecstatic birthing pave the way for ecstatic mothering and living. Watch the class or read the top 10 tips below.. Enjoy!
- Birth is the sprint. Mothering is the marathon.
Many people talk about preparing for birth as if preparing for a marathon. While I am a passionate advocate for fully conscious and empowered birth prep, the fact is that birth is simply the gateway to motherhood. Motherhood is the true marathon and can feel like a long and endless road to a new mom. It is never fun to run a marathon cold turkey. In order to enjoy the experience we need to train and prepare our bodies, minds and souls.
Conscious birth preparation provides a unique blueprint for navigating motherhood. Many of the same tools that make for ecstatic birthing pave the way for ecstatic mothering and living. On a grand scale we get really conscious about our patterns. We learn how to pace ourselves, what pushes us to our limits and how to get ahead of it, and how to support ourselves through intensity. Let’s look at concrete examples and delve deeper into each one.
- Learn the dance of creation and reaction
Reacting to life’s circumstances is a given yet passive act. Life happens to us and we have a reaction, positive or negative. If we only spend our time reacting to life we can feel powerless, out of control. Solely reacting to our children, devoting ourselves to their needs and demands can wear on us in this way.
Creation in contrast is an active approach to life. We decide what experience we would like to have as mothers, as parents, and take the steps to create that. If we create consciously but have intense negative reactions when things (or kids) don’t conform to our plans, we will still feel triggered, off-balance, and victimized.
Ecstasy is the perpetual dance between creation and reaction, the active and the passive, the masculine and the feminine. This interplay is found all around us. In birth (and orgasm) it takes the form of expansion and contraction, expansion and contraction. Once we understand and accept this integral rhythm, we can begin to relax into it and learn to ride its waves.
- You are each other’s teachers
Your children are your very own ever-loving personal growth tools. They will trigger you and press you. They will teach you to play and to love. They will open your heart wider than you ever thought possible. Your experience as a mother is never solely in your hands. It is a co-creation between you and your child. Yes you are supporting them in their growth and development, but they are doing the same for you. Each and every day. Each and every moment. In order to become the mom you want to be for your kids, you will grow and stretch in all kinds of ways. Keeping that perspective in mind fosters gratitude for all your interactions, even the ones that might feel difficult to bear in the moment.
- Above all, YOU matter
Yes your baby is super special and important and helplessly dependent on you, but your baby is not the most important person in your relationship. You are. Your self-care, your needs and wants, are essential ingredients in healthy and ecstatic mothering. The paradigm of self-sacrifice leads to co-dependency and depression. Do you want your baby to have a mom struggling with all that? Of course not. You are the cocoon that your baby develops in. Your baby will thrive when you are thriving. Your baby will learn how to experience life through you. Put yourself first. If that feels selfish, do it for your baby.
- Seize the reins!
There are so many professionals out there to support you as a mother and in mothering your baby. Soak in their advice. Lean into their support. But at the end of the day, no one has lived your life with your unique set of circumstances and no one has spent more time with your baby than you. Trust yourself as the expert on your inner landscape and on your babies wants and needs. Ultimately you and only you hold the reigns to your experience as a woman and a mother. YOU are the go-to expert on mothering your baby. Once you stop looking over your shoulder for someone to tell you what to do, you can grow into your full power as a mother. This growth can be challenging but it ultimately feeeeeels way better than constantly looking to the newest “expert.”
- Body connection is the key to hearing your own inner wisdom
The key to tapping into your own inner guidance is through your connection with your body. The language of the body is sensation. In order to understand that, you need to deepen your ability to feel. Take a moment now to feel into your body. What sensations do you notice? Most often our primal needs scream the loudest- “I have to pee!” or “I’m hungry”. Honor that voice and get your most basic needs taken care of. The more you listen and honor the wisdom of your body, the more you will hear. These sensations are speaking to you all the time and integrate all your experiences, thoughts, emotions, and circumstances. Next time you need to make a big decision, don’t ask yourself which option makes more sense. Ask yourself which option feels better. The more you practice and honor the sensations of your body the more you will be able to tap into your inner guidance system and live in full alignment with your body and soul.
- Consciously use pleasure as a tool
In Ecstatic Birthing we learn a lot about using pleasure to support yourself through the intensity of sensations in birth. This is an incredibly powerful approach to mothering as well. Pay attention to the things that give you pleasure and consciously build them into your day. It could be as simple as grabbing an iced coffee on the way to the playground or pausing periodically to inhale your baby’s scent. Create a repertoire of simple pleasures you can reach for anytime anywhere when you need a bit of relief. Counter particularly intense experiences or phases of motherhood with greater dollops of pleasure. As much as possible, plan ahead. If you know certain outings or activities with your child tend to be particularly intense, brainstorm how you can treat you both to some pleasure to fortify yourself through the intensity of sensations.
- It’s all about Oxytocin
The bliss you feel post orgasm, the serenity in your soul after a good conversation with a friend, the openness in your heart when you are pulsing with love, the meditative calm that flows during breastfeeding … these sensations all have a good dose of oxytocin in common. Know as the hormone of love and bonding, oxytocin counters and alleviates the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. The two simply can not co-exist in your system at the same time. The more you consciously practice tapping into a oxytocin drenched state, the more you will be able to lean into that yumminess as support for yourself at any time. Sensual expansion is the most powerful practice a woman can undertake for ecstatic birthing, mothering, and living. In relation to your child, cuddling and eye gazing, are some tools you can consciously use as a mom to help deepen your connection to your child and also to soothe them and trigger oxytocin flow in both your bodies.
- Trying to do it all yourself makes you weak
Please, drop the pretense of proving to yourself or anyone else that you are strong enough to take on task of mothering single handedly. Many do it and even more try, but you can never be strong enough to take on the task of mothering flying solo. To do it and truly enjoy it requires support. There is a moment in every birth known as the transition. In this moment, a woman doubts herself. She feels she can not go on. The irony is that these feelings emerge in the minutes right before her baby is about to come out. Most women will survive their births, their contractions, and their transition regardless of whether or not they have support. However, the presence of a loving woman, someone who believes in you improves birth outcomes exponentially. Women have shorter labors, and 50% less interventions. All in all it relieves a huge amount of the “struggle”. When you become a mom, it is no time to be shy and pretend you’ve got it all covered. That may make you look like supermom on the outside, but on the inside you will be weak under the weight of it all. Surrounding yourself with support, leaning into that support, that will make you strong.
- Be as gentle with yourself as you are with your child
Would you be proud if your children pick up your style of living, your self-care, your thought patterns? Care for yourself mind, body, and soul as you’d want your children to care for themselves. They are watching you and learning how to live. Strive to be all that you want for them, but above all remember success doesn’t live in an idea in your mind. It is a practice- continual, perpetual and often striving.
Would you dare to chastise your child for falling after taking his/ her first steps? Of course not! You will be all fanfare and celebration for each accomplishment in their journey. Yet most moms spend more time beating themselves up for their shortcomings rather than celebrating how far they have come. Motherhood is a growth journey. You are growing, evolving, and changing. Notice and celebrate every drop of that.
Notice how you treat yourself when you fall down. Is it good enough for your child? There isn’t a person on the planet that learned to walk without falling (and who still doesn’t fall from time to time) and there isn’t a mother on the planet that hasn’t fallen flat on her face countless times in the marathon of motherhood.