Today’s Lesson: Mindfulness


Kaia is indulging in a long and much needed nap, which has allowed me to indulge in everything things such as laundry, housework, emails, and writing! While feeding Kaia today, the lesson that unfurled itself on me is that of mindfulness. This is a simple concept, that humorously enough, was introduced to me on an episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy".

"Mindfulness or being mindful is being aware of your present moment. You are not judging, reflecting or thinking. You are simply observing the moment in which you find yourself. Moments are like a breath. Each breath is replaced by the next breath. You're there with no other purpose than being awake and aware of that moment." – from http://www.mindfulness.com

I began to get a bit stressed out about trying to console my grumpy daughter, who had been up way too long and wanted to eat every hour. I kept trying to think of creative ways to just make her quiet down and sleep – the faster I could do it, the better. I wanted to dothings – clean up, eat some snacks, relax and watch TV, put on makeup, put on clothes – and she just wasn't keen on my schedule. As a last ditch effort, I offered her more of nature's perfect food and she, of course, relented. I sighed, put my feet up on the coach, and pondered how long it would take until she was full and sleepy. Then it hit me: Why was I so intent on hurrying my precious girl? In doing so, I wasn't being grateful for the moment. I mean, here I was, with a 4 week old daughter that I had waited 9 long months for. We had planned for her, spent hours upon end envisioning her perfect birth, spend money on creating a humble and peaceful home for her…and now I was wishing her to sleep so I could put her down and participate in mundane things??!! Talk about a moment of humility. I dedided it was time to practice mindfulness…take in the beautiful moment of nursing my daughter, watching her eyes meet mine, feeling her tiny fingers grasp mine, noticing the little dimpled knuckles on her hands. Indeed, I had waited so long for this…and I have all the time in the world to get those other "things" done. And so, I snuggled down into the couch, wrapped my arms around her warm body, and closed my eyes. I relived her birth story, creativly editing some moments like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. I imagined the Dr. again giving me the pros and cons of C-section vs. vaginal birth and asking me for my decision. This time, I sat up in the sterile hospital bed, instead of lying down and vulnerable upon the paper sheet. I looked at my husband and midwife, and locked eyes with the Doctor. With the strength of the powerful birth contractions I had just experienced, I practically sang my intentions for a vaginal birth. The words exited like notes in a primative battle cry. These notes were Kaia's words, they were not my own. From the corners of my eyes, I noticed generations of women, Mothers, standing beside me. They nodded. They prayed. They layed healing hands upon my head. The Doctor needed no response, because she too, had become one of the mystic women and she knew…The lights, voices, walls, colors became softer and more gentle. While time spiraled in on itself, I breathed my sweet, squealing girl into the world out of the same place in my body that she was conceived. LOVE. Her Daddy saw her emerge, bottom first, and laughed and smiled as we together smothered her with kisses and tears. No longer needed on her new journey, I watched Jason proudly sever the lifeline between us. It was bittersweet. It was time. It was over. It was just beginning.

I simply sat in silence with this created memory. I knew in my heart of hearts that Kaia did indeed sing her battle cry for the birth of her choice under those circumstances – she burst from my belly with overwhelming love. And yet, I needed to create this scenario of birth. I needed to know I could have done it and that Kaia could have done it…without fear. I had to know that somewhere, in a hidden corner of my heart, there was courage waiting to be tapped. It helped me come to a place of renewed trust and ownership of my body – something I will absolutely need for the births of my future children. I had to experience this long awaited moment of healing and acceptance. Perhaps more poignantly, sitting with mindfulness and thinking through Kaia's "re-birth" helped me stumble upon the realization that I am still the birth goddess I had always wanted to be! And, being mindful of Kaia in my arms gives me such deep peace and added vigor for tomorrow…and the tomorrow after that…and the tomorrow after that…

I often study my C-section scar in the mirror. I have, at times, despised it. It has represented anger, resentment, sadness, pain, mutilation, intervention, apathy, disappointment, failure. I have also embraced it as a reminder of the momentary door between life formed and supported on the inside and miraculous life independent on the outside. I like to think that as Kaia passed through it's treshold, she was wrapped in pure gratitude. My Doctor told my midwife that she took extra care in repairing my uterus because she knew I would have many vaginal births afterwards. Now I know that with each pass of the sutures through my skin and muscle, she also added a bit of hope.

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One thought on “Today’s Lesson: Mindfulness

  1. Leigh,
    That post was so incredibly powerful – both parts of it. Mindfullness is something we all need a reminder of from time to time – thank you for sharing your little moment in time.

    As for the birth re-memory…wow. That was so incredibly powerful to read. You gave me chills. I’m so glad to follow along with your journey this way.

    Jeanette

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