It’s Mothering Sunday and (as usual) I’m awake before anyone else and there is the most beautiful sunrise, a perfect gift. My teen boys prefer to stay up late and get up late, so my early mornings are spent with my fur baby Holly. I’ve woken to a surprise, a gorgeous hand made Mother’s Day card left on my bedside table, and I’m feeling so grateful. They know that a scribbled personalised card means more to me than any expensive gift, I guess I’m a hippy at heart.
I’m thinking about what being a mother and a daughter has taught me, and of all the different ways we mother others. I never really saw myself as a mother archetype, yet I find myself now as a birth doula, I support prenatal and postnatal women, I am a step mum, and I’m a mum to my dog, who’s love is deliciously heartwarming and unremitting!
When I think of my mum, I ride that wave of mixed emotions. My mum has suffered quite a bit with her health in the last 5 years or so, and I guess now I’m in the space of mothering my mother. Since the pandemic she has moved into residential care. I haven’t been to her new care home, but I know she’s safe and well, and I’m hopeful that it won’t be too long before I can visit. We knew that mum had suffered some mini strokes, but last year we learned that mum has vascular depression, and whilst the diagnosis has been really helpful, it was tough to hear, a confirmation that nothing could make her fully better again. Thankfully we can speak on the phone or a video call. I saw her in person in October, but the pandemic makes it hard, maintaining social distance and masks is heartbreaking when all you want to do is give a cuddle. I do love a hug, and I’m hanging on for the time when we can all safely to it again! I miss mum terribly, but I’m so lucky she’s still with us, even if it’s on the phone. Without doubt, the love of my friends has helped me navigate these changing emotions, especially those who have supported parents with illnesses like dementia. If you’re experiencing grief or loss, I would encourage you to reach out and find a therapist or trusted friend to help you.
Being a mum is the greatest gift ever. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done, and the most rewarding thing in my life. I never really thought about having kids until I met my husband, and he already had two young boys. I was into my 30’s and whilst I was yearning for ‘the one’ true love, I wasn’t focussed on children. When the boys came into my life it was the best thing, they tugged at my heart, and I missed them terribly when they had to return to their mum. Being a step mum has taught me loads, I’m sure I’ve not been the ‘best’ at this, but I’m still learning, and there’s no such thing as perfection.
My experience of birthing and raising my boys taught me a depth of love I didn’t know existed. It’s a cliche to say, but it’s made me want to be the best version of myself I can be. I have definitely doubted myself over the years, but I know that doing yoga has helped me to come back to trusting my self, my inner guidance. We are all learning together, and I definitely think my kids are here to teach me things. I’ve learned more about myself thought this whole process, from how deeply I can love, to how insecure I can be. I remember the early years parenting as being tough, but I was supported by amazing friends. I just don’t think we were meant to parent alone, it definitely takes a village to raise a child.
This is one of the reasons I love doing what I do, teaching others and supporting mothers. Through community we find support, in order to grow our own confidence to parent the way we need to. The journey into motherhood invites you to question who you are and what’s important to you. The way in which we parent will depend so much on what’s needed for us personally, what we need to learn, and what our kids need for their own individual personalities. Parenting brings so many ups and downs, and it can’t be learned from a book or social media. I have no doubt that yoga has helped me to understand myself, to find a calmness within myself, in order to trust myself. The practice of yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation has helped me to find a bit of space for myself. That feeling of internal space is so important at times of challenge.
Most of all, yoga has helped me to stay fully present. As a chronic over thinker, it’s too easy to be ‘somewhere else’ in your head, thinking about the things you need to do or didn’t do. I know that life happens right now, and the only way we can savour it, feel happy and feel alive is when we are actually connected to the present moment.
So if you do one thing today, appreciate the moment. Appreciate all that you do, all that you are. You don't need to be perfect and you're probably doing a brilliant job. Find a bit of space. Cherish the relationships you have. And if you’re a mother of any kind, enjoy your special day, for what it is, the chance to experience those deep relationships, to love fully, and to learn and grow.