Spirit Blog

Personal reflections on a spiritual journey...

Motherhood

When my first born was seven weeks old he was colic and, after trying for many years to conceive, I was crumbling during the first months of motherhood. Everything seemed to be falling apart. I couldn't believe that this is what I had spent countless fertility treatments trying to obtain. It was awful. And, due to a tendency toward perfectionism, I was not about to admit that I wasn't loving every second of it. 

Then the morning came when I carelessly left him on the couch and walked into the other room to get something. I didn't see him fall but I heard the thud. And by the time I grabbed him off the floor just a few seconds later, his tiny head already had a golf ball sized bump.

No no no no no this can't be happening...

In hindsight, I realize I should have called an ambulance but instead, alone, I put him in the car seat, and rushed to the hospital, panicked and driving erratically. I ran with him into the emergency room. And I watched them, now in slow motion memory, check him. They put his little body, strapped down, flailing, into an MRI machine. The whole day is a blur but there are moments that stand out. Like his brain image on the screen when I found out he had fractured his skull...

He is fine now and, like the doctors predicted that day, shows no evidence of the accident. I have since forgiven myself for that but at first it was a shameful secret of my motherhood. Looking back, I made a terrible, mindless mistake. He is fine. I am blessed it wasn't worse. Beating myself up about the past doesn't help the present. And that notion is something I hope to instill in my children. 

As mothers there seems to be an inherent culture of self doubt, of potential regret over the big stuff and all the little stuff too. Is the child stimulated enough? Overstimulated? Eaten too much sugar? Has enough independence? Disciplined correctly? Did he sleep well? Is he happy? Does he feel safe?

The idea that this tiny being is going to become a man one day and carry the scars of my mistakes into future decision making and relationship is almost terrifying. That he might learn how to feel guilt and regret and self hatred because I have mirrored it for him, that he may be damaged because I was damaged, and the cycle of psychological patterns repeat generation upon generation, can be a debilitating thought.

But in reality, most mothers are doing the best they can given the circumstances of life up until that point. And most children survive, thrive, and succeed beyond expectations. Nothing good comes from self criticism, regret, shame. Choosing gentleness of mind, body, and spirit is the only way heal and be truly happy, in life in general, and motherhood especially. 

Aparigraha


Aparigraha: A Poem on my Son's 4th Birthday

"Mama, at night when I sleep I dream about you." Paul Krishna, 8/20/14

Me too. 
And now I am lost in that deep summer dream of my baby boy being a newborn. 
He cries. And his little face is red and wet. 
We sigh. I am in love. 

In this burnt September dream he begins to change. He moves. 
The wind shifts. 
The day dances into night. 
He crawls out into the world. 
And he is no longer entirely mine. 
And suddenly I realize.
He was never even a little bit mine. 


A delightful delusion of motherhood.
The falsehood that because we once shared cells it makes us one. 
(Not even when our blood was the same, pumped line to line, from this heart.) 
It didn't make him mine. 
It doesn't make him mine. 
He is not mine.
Not then. Not now. 

The sun sleeps. The pregnant moon rises.

He crawls. He crawls out into the world. 

 

Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” -Mark TwainWhen my first-born child, Paul Krishna, was 6 weeks old he fell, under my care, and fractured his skull.

Yes. That happened. 

He is perfectly fine now and we are truly blessed. No one would ever guess that his newborn body was strapped down so he could get an MRI, that he had a golf-ball sized bump on his tiny head, that he spent hours under observation, that his parents hardly told a soul in fear of judgment, that his mother was riddled with guilt...

It was a rough entry into motherhood yet, three years later, I look back on that experience with a different perspective. But have I truly let it go?

Earlier today, my 19-month old daughter saw Paul and I practicing handstand and, while trying to imitate us, fell and injured her finger. It immediately swelled and turned purple and all the feelings from that day three years ago came rushing back. 

And here I am with a microcosm of a much larger issue.

It isn't about these incidents. It is about a lifetime of self-criticism.

And it is time for a change.

I need to forgive myself.

I have treated myself far worse than anyone else has ever treated me.

I have criticized myself endless times looking in the mirror.

I have found flaws in the way I look, act, speak, mother, and ultimately am.

It has taken a long time to overcome this detrimental internal battle but I aim now to no longer seek unrealistic perfectionism and berate myself for anything. In fact, nowadays, things are often quite the opposite. I try to give myself compliments each time I see my reflection. I regularly remind myself that I am doing the best that I can and that is just fine. I am learning how to deeply love myself.

But can I forgive myself? Can I forgive myself for all the years of self-inflicted hurt?

Part of healing is letting go. Releasing of all the judgment. Forgiveness is an organic relinquishing of all that no longer serves our highest purpose. When I spoke to myself with ugly words, I was only doing the best that I could given the circumstances of my life up until that point. It is time to forgive, to let go, to move on. 

Forgiveness is freeing. Whether you are holding on to something someone else said/did to you or something you have said/done to yourself, the act of it is in the past. So why waste the present moment sifting through something that is no longer tangible? Let it go and feel free. Forgiveness allows us to be in the moment, to be here and now, to face today with a new perspective.

Who can you forgive right now?