This week I have really felt the vibrational pull of the full moon. Feeling very introspective and sensitive to feelings of others and my own. Cedar too is quite tender. We went I believe a whole month without the emotional and physical upheaval of teething. It seems to have returned with a vengeance and with it, behaviors like throwing food, slapping mama and throwing his bottle across the room. Because I too am in a tender place with my cycle and the moon approaching, it has taken so much inside of me to take deep breaths and be compassionate about the source of his frustration and not take it personally. Boho Boy is so much better at it than I am but that could be from over 10 years of experience he had teaching elementary school. I feel like teachers should have tattoos on their forearms to remind them of the second out of Toltec wisdom's Four Agreements: Don't Take Anything Personally.
The myriad of emotions I have in regards to Cedar in a manner of just a few minutes blows me away. How I can love him so much I could cry and then need space from him and then want to hold him close and then feel hurt if he acts out at me and then laugh at his funny ways...and that was just 10 minutes. Its overwhelming and has taught me so much about myself. It has helped me slow down. It has reminded me to stay present. It has required me to tap into the deepest parts of my sacred feminine for wisdom that was not realized until now.
So much of that wisdom tells me to be gentle on myself. To be gentle and empathize with other mothers, fathers, caretakers from all types of journeys. To have compassion.
I was spilling with a dear friend of mine about some tender spaces of my journey as a mama. One of them being how even though I felt confident about some choices I made for Cedar, I felt judged at times by other mothers. Mostly strangers that would see me at a park or in the aisles of a whole food grocery store. Whether it be me feeding Cedar with a bottle or placing formula in my grocery cart or organic jarred baby food, at times other crunchy mamas would give me a disapproving look. As Cedar would be gleefully sitting in the cart (because from day one, he hated to be confined in a carrier of any kind and needed to be FREE), a mama carrying her babe tight to her chest would give me two glances and looked concerned. One women shook her head when she saw me place Earth's Best pureed food in a jar into my cart...and when at Target placing formula into my cart, a mama actually told me she was surprised I was feeding my baby formula. Do I really need to go into my story that he was adopted and I didn't have enough time to get my milk going with herbs? Or that even if I did, I had a deep fear that the herbs wouldn't work (since it didn't work for me with fertility) and the last thing I wanted to be doing was putting energy into feeling like a failure rather than feeding my son in peace and filling his belly up in a way that felt right for us? That he had GERD and needed a special type of formula to soothe his burning throat and gut? Did I need to gently pull that woman aside at Whole Foods and share with her how many times I paid hundreds of dollars on organic yummy veggies and fruit to puree it myself and for some reason that I couldn't figure out, my son would refuse to eat it and only wanted jarred food?
No...I didn't need to explain all these things to them and thankfully when these things would happen, I was in a centered space and felt deeply connected to my own story. I have always listened to my gut about Cedar and went with his flow and he is thriving and happy and well and for this, I am so blessed. So blessed that for the most part, I haven't felt a need to justify any of this.
We all go into a journey with expectations. When I married my husband, I wanted to be fully pregnant with his child. I wanted to birth my baby in a tub, leaning on his bare harry chest, guided by a doula or midwife and screaming out to God and my tribe from around the world to get me through the surges. I wanted to pull my child from between my legs and onto my chest and be wrapped up in my husbands arms. I wanted many things but those things evolved and changed and something wildly different ended up happening.
Cedar found us in another way. I caressed the belly of another goddess to speak to my child. I watched him come out between her legs and be whisked away by doctors with gloves into another room to help him breathe and take out the liquid in his lungs. I held him for the first time fully clothed and just a few hours past me arriving at an airport. But it was beautiful and the connection I felt as his mother was instant and later that night as we lay with him in a hospital bed, and my husband told me I've never been more beautiful...I realized our story was perfect for us. I was exactly where I wanted to be. My expectations fell by the wayside and I felt fully present with what was.
I just wish in a sea of mothers that hold so many expectations on themselves and others, that we could embrace one another's journeys. That breast feeding mamas, could comfortably sit near bottle feeding mamas and not feel awkward or disappointed in the other.
My friend Brooke said something to me that has lingered deep for a few days now. She is an urban-earth mama that I deeply respect and learn so much from...
Feeling held to standards and rules, that takes the heart and soul out of parenting. It makes us, as mothers, guilty and it disconnects us from listening to our children as individuals. It prevents us from showing up to the moment and doing what needs to be done given the circumstances we face. It denies us the gift of being alive to every breath and listening to our hearts. The rules become the goal rather than the true goal - in this case, a thriving, nourished healthful child.
These camps and rules and parenting identities - from homebirth to breastfeeding to attachment parenting - it sets up wars and builds walls between us. They are labels and ideals tearing us apart. It makes me so sad that good intentions are actually victimizing us and keeping us isolated from one another.
I really connect to this and with her permission, I wanted to share this with you. Whether you are a parent or not, I know so many of you are nodding. This can apply to so many things in our life, really. I am putting a plea out to the Universe, to gather gentle, open minded souls to continue creating change, gentle change with these tender parts of our journeys. Journeys of all types...not just mother/parenthood.