Guest Post: Authentic Mama Emotion

When we recognize our right to feel what we feel and really experience our emotions, the good and the bad, we connect to a deeper part of ourselves and allow real healing to occur.

This week has been full of the unexpected for me. My three year old was rushed to the ER and will subsequently need surgery next week, and an old friend has been declared missing.  I’m normally in touch with my emotions, but this week a weird thing happened.  I felt like I didn’t have the right to feel what I was feeling.

My sons ER trip ended in the best way it possibly could have, and we are extremely blessed that we didn’t end up in an emergency surgery situation. A part of me felt guilty for feeling so afraid and upset about his upcoming surgery when I know that the outcome could have been so much worse.

When I found out that my friend was missing, I had a horrible ache in my heart that has yet to go away, but logically I felt that it was selfish to be so upset myself when his family and close friends must be unconsolable.

But the truth is that every emotion I may be feeling, logical or not, is completely valid.  I am scared. I am heartbroken.

While I am so incredibly grateful that my son was okay that night and didn’t need emergency surgery, it doesn’t take away my fear of his upcoming procedure.

This amazing man who was once an incredibly close friend will always have space in my  heart even though we haven’t seen each other in a decade and our lives took different paths. Yes, my pain is different than the unimaginable pain his mother, father, brother and sister are feeling, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

I’ve talked to so many mothers who push aside feelings of fear, anxiety or doubt because they feel they should be grateful to experience motherhood at all.  But the fear and doubt doesn’t cancel out the joy and excitement. To be scared doesn’t mean you are not incredibly grateful and happy. We are beautiful and complex and contradictory, and by honouring all of our emotions, we are honouring our entire selves.

Today, I wanted to share a simple meditation I do when I am feeling unsettled about a particular emotion or feeling I am having.  It connects me to my authentic emotions and gets me out of my head, allowing me to move forward from a place of wholeness and light and let real healing begin.Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.51.37 AM

If you have any meditation items you use, set them up to create a place of peace for yourself. I set up my meditation blanket, burn some palo santo or sage and set the intention of the meditation while holding my mala beads and favorite stone.

  • Repeat silently or out loud your intention for the meditation:

“ I set the intention for this meditation to tune me into my truest emotions allowing myself to move forward from a place of love, peace and acceptance”

  • Sit comfortably with your legs crossed. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, witnessing but not judging your breath.
  • Feel the cool air entering your nostrils and the warm air exiting.
  • Bring your focus to what has been bothering you and bring your awareness to the physical sensations in your body.
  • Settle your awareness on any tension or restriction in your body. Feel it without judgement. You may experience fear, anxiety or joy.  Let each come to you organically and feel the physical manifestation of your emotion.
  • Sit with this feeling until it begins to subside
  • Once the feeling starts to subside, imagine with each inhale a bright light filling the area with acceptance and love. Exhale any remaining tension.
  • When you are ready bring your awareness back to your breath and spend a few moments absorbing the meditation.
  • Close your meditation by thanking your body for guiding you to your authentic emotions.

 

“Thank you for allowing me to see my true feelings without judgement. I accept my true emotions with love and compassion”

Namaste

 

It is my intention that we all embrace and accept ourselves as the complex, beautiful and sometimes contradictory women and mothers that we are lucky to be. Click here to listen to the guided meditation from Heather.

 

mama mala guest postHeather Mudry is the founder of Mama Malas, creating mala beads and intentional accessories that support women on the journey of motherhood. She lives in Calgary, AB with her three year old son, husband and pup and is obsessed with coffee, bonfires, mountains and the moon. She believes every mother deserves to feel radiant, adore her life and create her own path and strives to foster a community of mindful mamas that encourage and support each other to live according to their intuitions and desires.

Abhyanga – Daily Ayurveda Practice for Pregnancy

ayurveda pregnancy
In Ayurvedic view, the season of pregnancy is dominated by vata energy.  Vata is one of the 3 main constitutions (vata, pitta and kapha).  Being dominant and out of balance with vata is  characterized by dryness, hurried mind, anxiety, constipation, the need to buy things, quick, changeable, cold hands and feet.
I am already predominantly a vata constitution, so pregnancy really aggravates this in me and I need to pay extra careful attention to use foods and habits that nourish my system.  Here are a few key (and easy) ways to help balance vata in pregnancy:
  • Warm dairy
  • Routine and Rhythm
  • Rest when you can around 2-4 pm
  • Warm bone broths
  • Spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove
  • Foods like avocado, coconut oil, nuts, sesame oil, cooked veggies (especially root veggies and greens)
  • Abhyanga: daily self massage with oil

Abhyanga is super easy. Choose a vata balancing oil like avocado, almond or sesame (I prefer sesame in the winter).  Make sure they’re organic high quality oils.  And give yourself a fully body rub down daily.  Especially in a downward direction.  Morning and evening is best.  Take those few moments to breath, be quiet and go inward.  It doesn’t take a lot of time and really does help! My favorite way to have the warm oil is to fill up the sink a little with hot water and stick the glass bottle of oil in it while I’m in the shower or bath and then it’s all warm and ready to go when I get out!

Enjoy!

 

Mama Wellness Wednesday – Clutter and Conception

holistic fertility tips

 

Though I’ve never studied Feng Shui, I’m willing to bet practitioners would agree with me that clutter physically, leads to (and is often caused by) clutter emotionally.  Ever notice how it’s hard to think when your office is a mess?  How can I cook an amazing meal when the kitchen is dirty?

My tip this week: clean out the clutter.  It’s the perfect time of year!  Summer is warming up, you can be outside and get some sunshine and toss out the junk.  We don’t need most of what we think we do.  I heard a great sermon the other day that talked about a man who was healed and suddenly able to walk and dance and in the very next verse he was “leaning” on someone near him.  “What are you leaning on that you no longer need?” The pastor asked.

Boom.  Ummmm… a lot of things!  What isn’t serving me any longer that maybe once did, or maybe never did?  Cleaning out your space physically can help to inspire a spiritual and emotional de-cluttering.  One coaching client described to our private facebook group how she was finally cleaning out the room they had intended for a nursery a long time ago and has since collected clutter and junk.  She cried and it was freeing for her to empty that space out, create some room for hope and possibility again.

We need to clean out the clutter to make room for the new- even if it’s scary!  You can do it mama!

Bonus Mama Wellness Tip for Mother’s Day!

art for pregnancy

 

You know what’s the easiest way to see your ideal pregnancy and birth? See it.  Draw it.  I have all of my clients do creative drawing tasks to help them circumvent their conscious mind (what I think should want, see or feel) and get to the deeper needs.

It works!  Even when mamas originally feel intimidated by the idea (we’ve all been told we’re not “artists”), after realizing that it’s not about making art but using a tool to get ready for pregnancy or birth, find it so useful.

There are all kinds of specific tasks you can do – and I have clients work through these, often adding in one if they could use something unique.  Here are three steps to get you started:

1.  Pick a medium.

The simple task of choosing your art tool can say a lot about what you need.  Try not to think about it.  Do you feel drawn to something more structured like pencil or more soft like water colors?

2. Pick a theme.

If you decide to just sit down and “draw” you likely won’t ever do it, or the blank page will loom before you like a waiting audience.  Decide on one topic, word or question.  For example: “motherhood”, “conception as a landscape” or “me as a pregnant woman”.

3. Don’t think about it…until later.

As much as possible just put on paper (or into clay) what comes out.  Turn down the inner critic and filter and just create.  Focus instead on that word or question.  Later (a day, an hour, a week), come back to the drawing/work and see how it makes you feel.  At that point it’s great to notice things about the work:

  • How do the colors make you feel or what do they make you think of?
  • What surprised you about it?
  • What stands out?
  • Did you learn something about yourself/fertility/pregnancy/postpartum vision?

Enjoy!

Need guidance walking through your creative tasks for motherhood?  Schedule your Blissful Mama Breakthrough session no by clicking here!  I can’t wait to connect with you!

Finding Something to Worry About

pregnancy wellness program

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

There is a lot of information available to us as mothers.  Blogs.  Books. Baby center.  Facebook posts.  Tweets.  Texts.  Nice old ladies.  Mean old ladies you don’t even know.  Everyone has something to share.  Everyone has an opinion on pregnancy or some new scary story or information.  If we want to find something to worry about, more often than not we just need to sit still for about 30 seconds and something will come to mind.  Everything from how much sleep you are or are not getting to what kind of birth setting you want; things as small as “Should I have this cup of coffee?” to “What does this prenatal test result mean?” can become enormous debilitating burdens.

Guess what?  You don’t have to play that game.  You don’t have to worry.  Jesus has made it simple not to.  It’s a thought issue.  2 Corinthians 10:5 says we need to “take captive every thought”.  If we pay attention to our thoughts, and consciously choose which thoughts we want to remain and which thoughts we have no need for, we can begin to experience more freedom.  We get to be free from the weight and burden and enslavement of destructive thoughts.”

Who doesn’t want to experience his “most excellent harmonies”?  That sounds lovely.  A harmonious life.  Where my heart, my thoughts, my soul, are in alignment with what God is doing in and through me.  We give into fear and depression when we allow the negative and false thoughts to overpower the positive, good, holy, uplifting ones.

For each mama this will be different.  Here are some thoughts around pregnancy, birth and motherhood that I’ve heard that you might relate to.  Remember, our thoughts turn into feelings, that turn into choices that turn into our future.

“I’m just an anxious person”
“I don’t handle pain well.”
“I don’t want to be a hero.”
“I don’t need anyone.”
“I can’t do that.”
“This pregnancy is making me less attractive.”
“I should have known better last time.”
“I’m not as strong as ____.”

Don’t judge yourself or condemn yourself for having thoughts like these (God certainly isn’t condemning you!) But instead, find the promises of God to meditate on when these thoughts arise.  Be released from having to think this way and instead live in the freedom of God’s love.

“I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me.”
“I am more than a conqueror.”
“I am the beautiful and beloved daughter of God.”
“Perfect love casts out fear.”
“No weapon formed against me can stand.”
“Jesus came to give me life, abundant life!”

Romans 12:3 says “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

Need more mama inspiration? Click here to schedule Your Blissful Mama Breakthrough Session Now.

Myths of Birth

A prenatal yoga student and I were talking the other day about births I’d seen as a doula.   She asked me, “but don’t lots of women say they want to birth without an epidural?”  Her implication was that women say they want one thing, but they don’t actually get it.  And she’s right! Despite what women are  expressing, at least 75% of us aren’t leaving our birth experiences without an epidural, and with the sense of accomplishment we think we’ll feel. Why?

My student implied that it was almost silly to even express a desire around birth, no matter what the reasons (better health for baby for example).  What she didn’t realize was why she believed that.  Every culture has myths, stories we subscribe to in order to place ourselves within it.  The myth of the American dream – rising to wealth and power from poverty.  They myth of “forefathers” of America. The myth of the Norman Rockwell family.  Archetypes are characters born out of myths – the cowboy, the seductress, the “good girl”, the “soccer mom”.  Our current mythology around womanhood and birth is lacking.  We have changed the environment of birth so drastically in the past 100 years or so, and our heroic stories haven’t caught up.

We love story.

It’s why my close friend is at a conference to learn about writing your story, why I’m reading a book called Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World. It’s why the Bible is full of stories and Jesus taught in parables.  It’s why one of the most read blogs I’ve written is my personal birth story.  We need story and we need art to help us give our lives context, just as we need ritual around rites of passage.

Women aren’t initiated into womanhood with their first new moon bleeding by being told stories of how they are now able to participate in the superpowers of womanhood with all the other women that have gone before them.  I was told no tales of glory to aspire to.  And when I was pregnant on my way to the biggest challenge and victory of my life, there was no built-in positive imagery to inspire me, no stories of joining the ranks of motherhood alongside other women. I had to actively seek them out.

myths of birthWe wanna be in the club.

After giving birth to her son my friend turned to her mother with a look of surprise and almost shame “I feel like I’ve joined the club!” she said, “you have!” her mother happily agreed. Why are we surprised when we feel like we’ve joined a club, and why do we feel bad about that accomplishment?

In some cultures women returning from birth are revered as warriors returning from battle.  Honored, celebrated.  Don’t you crave that?  Isn’t there a little part of you that really wants someone to say “You did it!  You’ve been entered into the club! Join us!”

Baby showers and bridal showers serve a great purpose, but they don’t quite prepare you for the psychological, spiritual and emotional change that comes after.  They’re a bit watered down aren’t they?  We really could do a better job of inspiring and empowering women.

So why don’t we have any?

Why are we lacking these rites of passage, these myths to push us forward? Lots of reasons.

Here are a few:

We’ve been told to “not be a hero” because it’s dangerous and totally out of our control. (I’ve actuall heard nurses say this to mothers!)

We’ve been told motherhood is “the most important job” by a culture that simultaneously doesn’t support mothers financially or socially.

We’ve been told the club isn’t really a club of motherhood at all because women do things so differently and we should judge each other based on those differences.

We’ve been told that birth is not ours, it’s theirs: the doctors who “deliver” not women who “deliver” or “birth”.

 

And so my student felt that it was silly to even say you want something, if it’s true that it’s not really yours, not under your control, and motherhood isn’t really a club or an accomplishment.

So what can we do?  As wise women? 

myths of birthReligious ceremonies used to handle this problem for us – they would initiate people into the next stage of life. We need to share our positive birth stories and stop judging each other for the differences.  We need to be brave enough to consider that maybe we were hurt during our birth stories.  We need to create motherhood spaces.

For me, I asked for a mother blessing, with scripture, positive words and inspiring stories.  I had my body celebrated with henna.   I practiced yoga to connect with my embodied wisdom and the wisdom of all the mothers before me.  I hung up visuals around my labor tub with women powerfully birthing – beautiful art images and phrases to inspire me and keep my consciousness at a higher level than the pain.  To keep my eyes on the vision.  At one point my midwife pointed out that I looked exactly like one of the images on my wall. (After all, the body goes where the mind goes.)  My doula and midwife spoke verses and prayed over me.

I think it will make all the difference.

No, that’s not quite true.  I know it will.  I think we will see the birth culture in the US change, and the birth outcomes improve (unfortunately, they’re not that great) when we embrace new stories about birth.  New images, visuals, role models.  We need stories.  We need better images than hysterical women on TV.

This is why I choose birth art from an artist to represent the work I do with mamas. This is what I offer through my Blissful Mama Program  To gather women together to initiate, impart wisdom, create birth art.  The chance to be inspired and celebrated, so you can experience motherhood and birth as a sacred mission.  This is why we need to hear your story, and so do our daughters.

Are you craving that guidance and tribe? That unbiased support and resource?  Schedule your Blissful Mama Breakthrough Session and get started. 

Blessed, Blissed Out, Nourished

Registration is now open for the January Blissful Mama Retreat Day!  Early bird registration ends Dec 1st, and space is limited to 6 Holistic Enlightened Mamas who want to be blissed out this pregnancy – so don’t wait to sign up!

How to know if this day is right for you:

  • You found this page.
  • Your heart skipped a little beat at the idea of sharing a retreat day with some other like-minded mamas-to-be.
  • You want to broaden your ideas about pregnancy, birth or motherhood.
  • You love time to connect with other women.
  • You value wellness (for you and your family)- mentally, physically and emotionally.
  • You make really informed choices about everything for you and your family when it comes to food, time, energy, life.
  • You think meditation and prayer are an important part of a holistic lifestyle.
  • You love to learn.
  • Herbs and new foods get you excited!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

My Mother Blessing/Baby Shower

Hello ladies!

mother blessing

I wanted to share with you some photos from my Mother Blessing/Baby Shower.  My celebration was sort of a combination of both since we were visiting our friends and family home in Philadelphia over Christmas and really only had time for one party!  

 

If you’re wondering what a Mother Blessing is, let me share a little bit.  Many cultures have a ceremony to celebrate a woman’s transition from maiden to mother, and the Native Americans called their ceremonies Blessingways.  Modern midwives and doulas have drawn upon these traditions to revive ceremonial celebrations of mothers.  Baby Showers are great, since many women truly need the gifts they will receive for the babies, but what’s lacking is the celebration of the mother: honoring the rite of passage, the sacred role she has entered into. 

There are all kinds of variations of Mother Blessings, varying from the very simple to the very elaborate, the very spiritual to the very secular.  They often include things like:

  • belly henna paintingmother blessing
  • a bead ceremony (each participant blesses mama with a bead to string together to have with her in labor)
  • prayer
  • belly dancing
  • washing mama’s feet, brushing her hair
  • prayer flags with blessings to decorate the birth room
  • a blessing bowl for baby blessings
  • labor candles for participants to light during a mama’s labor in support for her
  • wearing floral crown
  • special foods
  • donation jar for midwife or doula fees
mother blessingFor my mother blessing/shower, my mother chose a small, intimate restaurant where the whole place would be just for us.  My aunt made a belly shaped cake and baby feet cookies to hand out.  We had a sign asking everyone to remain only positive during the event. (i.e., please don’t share horror stories or negative stories with the pregnant mama!).  We had a bowl from Ten Thousand Villages where everyone could write a blessing for baby (I have these and the bowl saved to give Fiona when she is older).  My mom hired a henna painter, and when she wasn’t doing my belly she did tattoos for the other women and glitter tattoos for my 3 year old niece.  (She was covered lol). 
 
I asked everyone in lieu of bringing gifts, to please donate to our registry.  You can see it here.  It’s a donation registry to help us cover the cost of our doula, placenta encapsulation and purchasing other things we could find back home in Minnesota on craigslist or second hand. 
 
I highly recommend doing all of these things!  It was so wonderful to celebrate with the women in my life, and to feel celebrated as becoming a mother. Just as we need to honor and bless the naturally occurring cycles in our bodies, instead of cursing, dreading or avoiding them,  we need to honor the cycles and seasons of our lives as well, speaking life into them and over them, honoring them.  Perhaps if we celebrated our bodies and our seasons of life more, we would find the love for ourselves that God has for us, and others would find it as well. 

Need some more mama bliss of your own?  I can help.  Schedule your Blissful Mama Breakthrough Session now, just click here.

My Niece Sage!