Before I gave birth to my son, I had expectations of what life would look life after he was born.
My oh my, did life’s plan have a whole other road for me to travel down than the road of my expectations.
As often with expectations, these expectations become our teacher by making way for the un-planned.
For instance, I thought the birth of my son was going to unfold a certain way. I was so certain that I would have put money on it.
In reality, giving birth to my son was totally the opposite of what I envisioned. It was wildly beautiful, but not what I had planned for.
Also, I thought I would be basking in a glow (with plenty of energy) during the first weeks after he was born.
Instead, I was deeply in the trenches of new parenthood and recovery, and I could hardly look at anyone without tears in my eyes.
Then, I thought that once we settled into a routine, that I would blog, make art, cook dinner all the same as before but on a different time table.
Well, I’ve been writing this blog for about 3 weeks. I’ve started and stopped it about 2 dozen times. Each day my routine is a bit different, based on my son’s needs, and finding time to do write this has been a luxury.
There’s been a lot of change in my life becoming a mama.
Why I write this is to say, I had some heavy expectations about what my life would look like when everything changed.
Yet, change has it’s own language, it’s own route, it’s own ending.
We are the interpreters of change’s message. We are the vessels for allowing change to make us better.
So how do you live artfully, or mindfully, when change grips you and you even feel that it’s suffocating you?
Here are some ideas:
You breathe. Really, truly, it’s our foundation and it’s all we can do. Taking a deep breath invites a pause, and it nourishes your nervous system to stay stable. Like, when I wake up at 3 am to feed my son after being very sleep deprived, I take a breath. It helps me to wake up and attend to the moment when I pause to breath. Then, I can be in a good mood to help him and stay present rather than pining for that sleep I’m not getting.
You tear down your walls of identity and build them slowly back up. In my first few days of parenthood, I let people know about where I was in my life. I wasn’t able to take visitors. I was recovering from a 3 day labor and delivery and quite a bit of trauma. I was vulnerable and feeling everything, and I was not sure how anything was going to unfold. My sense of who I am (or who I was) was really shaken to the core. Yet, I see that this all was making way for my deepest life transition.
In the end, the deconstruction of me made way for a new, much more powerful me to take root.
You realize it’s going to be okay. If you need a reminder, let me be it. It really will be okay. I don’t have a magic ball to be able to note the outcome of anything, but at the core of it all you are going to make it through. You are doing it, right now, as you choose to be here. Call out to your friends, people you know who have been through what you are going through, write yourself notes to remind you, pray, ask for help, and share your story. It will be okay.
Your outcome may be not great, and may be not easy, and may be totally different than anything you imagined but it will be okay.
You see the change as an opportunity for self growth. I used to love to read self help books and really get excited about so many ways to improve my life. When I was pregnant, these messages made me anxious. Why? Because my body was radically doing all the self growth it needed fostering a new life.
Now, my growth comes in the real lessons, not just the book lessons, of navigating change.
It’s up to me to either allow the unplanned things of my life to make me happy or make me miserable.
Though it’s a lot of work some days, I choose happiness as I delight in my new life and my son’s new life. No one else is going to give me my happiness but me, so why not start now?
You love yourself. Dang it, you love yourself fiercely right now. In this journey of early motherhood, I recognize that I keep conditionally loving myself. For instance, I say I’ll love myself when I lose the baby weight, or I’ll love myself when I get time to love myself. I realized, after a few weeks, that this mentality was not helping my transition, instead it was hurting me. I started to practice love and forgiveness when I remember. Check out this blog I wrote about with some self-love ideas here.
In the end, I share this blog for a few reasons. Most of all, I want to connect my conclusions to your personal path of creating in hopes it gives you the strength you need.
Whether you are creating a new life for yourself as a new parent, or you want to change one of your daily habits to be healthier, these changes take energy and effort. And you know what? Being artful is all about knowing and trusting that you’ve got this, you are supported, and there is light at the end of the tunnel beautiful creative one.
I believe in you.
To your change,
R o s e