Have you ever heard the saying that every birth is actually two? The first birth is, of course, our baby. And most people consider this to be the only birth. However, there’s a second and just as important birth, and that is the birth of the mother to this baby.
And at Ma Yoga we believe there is a third birth – when we become a mother, the embodiment of nurturing energy – for ourselves. This is what we refer to around here as your “Ma Self.”
So how do you care for your “Ma Self”? How do you ensure your needs are met while you look after your new baby?
Ask for Help
Whether it’s your first, second or sixth child, new mothers sacrifice a lot. We sacrifice our sleep, our personal hygiene, our relationships, our social lives. We often don’t have time to eat properly, to sit down when we need to. Even asking for help seems near impossible with the constant demands of a newborn always at hand.
But knowing that it’s okay – that it’s actually necessary – to reach out and share what you’re going through and what you need is a major step in healing both physically, and mentally, from the life-changing transition to motherhood.
Take Time for Yourself
As my friend likes to say, “being a new mom is all bliss and no fun.” Motherhood is filled with moments of awe and wonder at this miraculous being you have co-created, but it also can be filled with lows – made all the lower when we beat ourselves up for not enjoying every single second of this precious and fleeting time.
The essence of Ma Yoga is learning that all the love, care and nurturing we give to our new baby we must also give to ourselves. This way, we can continue to give without getting depleted.
Find the Feminine
According to yoga, there are two parts of us. We need and have both within us. The masculine side, Shiva, is the more “I got this,” achievement-oriented, linear, part. As a mom, we often tap into this side of ourselves to ensure we pack everything we need when we leave the house with baby, that we stick to a feeding schedule, that we get all the chores and work done while baby sleeps.
The feminine side of us, Shakti, is more receptive, cyclical, and interdependent. We use it to sense what’s needed in a situation, intuit our next steps, and relax knowing that it’s okay to let things unfold in their own time. It’s the part of us that recognizes that doing our best is enough. That we are enough, just as we are – right now.
Rest. A Lot.
Your body’s been through trauma, no matter what kind of birth you had. You’ve lost an important organ – one that was in charge of regulating your hormones, so no wonder you’re feeling emotional ups and downs. You might still be bleeding from abdominal surgery, hurting from tearing, or trying to make peace with how things went.
The intense focus on taking care of baby takes a lot out of us, and add in lack of sleep and breastfeeding, and our prana (life force) is emptied out.
How do we gain our prana back? The answer is both simple and one of the hardest things to do: Rest. Forget about the laundry. Forget about the dishes. Let go of trying to stay in control. Rest is the new productive.
Even if resting feels like you aren’t getting anything done, remember that it’s actually the most important thing you can do. Because resting isn’t just lying down. Resting is healing. And the more time you spend healing right now, the less chance you’ll have long-term issues down the road.
Take Care of You
Ma Yoga is all about taking care of yourself so you can take care of baby. We have a printable First 7 Weeks guide that includes healing tips and a whole lot of advice and support.
And once the doctor gives you the okay to exercise (and you give yourself the okay), you can set up a Custom Program to help ease you into a postpartum strengthening practice – and bring your new Ma Self into the world.
Jessica Jennings is a mom of a tween, as well as a yoga teacher, lifestyle educator and Certified Feminine Power Transformational Facilitator. She created Ma Yoga® for Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond in 2009 to help mamas meet both the challenges and opportunities of this exciting time of life. She teaches the Five Sacred Steps of Co-Creation to enable women to powerfully support whatever's gestating inside: a baby, a project, or a new way of being in the world. Get free weekly guidance and inspiration for wherever you are on your journey at MaYogaLiving.com!