New Waco Moms contributor, Arielle – gives us beautiful insight as to how meditation has been a key aspect of her role has a mother:
I’m the mother to an intelligent, lively, strongly willed eight-year-old girl who, from the moment she emerged from the womb, has been incredibly loud.
All babies are, I suppose, but my babe’s preferred method of communication was screaming. She would awaken from her naps with a roar that stopped my heart in its tracks. She would shriek at me when I fed her. I remember one particularly emotional afternoon holding her and thinking, “she doesn’t even like me!”
Looking back, I think she just wanted to be heard. Even now, she is happiest while sustaining a constant stream of chatter, explaining her day, her hopes, and her dreams. As any mom can attest, this can be magical. But as a stressed mom with lingering postpartum depression, it can be incredibly exhausting.
Before becoming a mom, I reveled in the pre-baby quiet tranquility of home and assumed not much would change once I welcomed my tiny bundle of joy into it. However, as the reality of motherhood dawned and the incessant crying of both her and I compounded and the loss of sleep and sanity by all ensued, I quickly found myself struggling in chaos. I was lost – with no idea how to get back to a calm and quiet center.
A few years later we were surviving, but I was worn thin. She didn’t scream as much but toddlerhood brought fresh challenges, and new mom worries. I was exhausted. I was anxious. I was barely holding myself together, but still didn’t feel like I was doing enough. Not only was I letting the stress affect me emotionally and mentally, but my physical body was suffering as well. My doctor’s diagnosis: your body is run down and has no hormonal ability left to cope with stress.
I knew that for my daughter, and for myself, I needed to find a way to feel better. I went on a holistic health journey. I had been practicing yoga for a while, which led me to recognize that I was out of balance and needed help. I incorporated blood work, changed my diet, downed cocktails of vitamins, and bathed in essential oils. These things helped some, but I was still so far from feeling like myself and so different from being the mother I imagined myself to be.
What ultimately saved me, was the simplest thing I’ve ever done.
I sat down and closed my eyes.
Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and promote emotional health. It’s a tool that is available to use anytime and anywhere as an effective way to turn on our parasympathetic nervous system. Our parasympathetic nervous system is the system responsible for calming our body, releasing accumulated stress, and restoring us to a restful and balanced state.
For me, meditation has changed my life in countless ways. Every day, I sit down for at least 20 minutes and close my eyes. Like plugging myself into a charger, I look at that time as a non-negotiable reset without which, my battery dies. I’ve been practicing meditation for 4 years and in that time, I’ve seen so many changes for the better. I have more energy. I’m more responsive and less reactive. I’m calmer, more mindful, and more settled. Now, I feel energized even with a busier schedule and more on my plate. I can show up for my daughter in the ways that are important to her. I can listen to her constant chatter and see it as beautiful music rather than noise. Instead of feeling hopeless, I now have the belief that I am always growing and expanding. I’m able to find gratitude for the challenges that motherhood brings. I feel lucky to participate in it all.
If meditation seems like something you might be interested in, there are many styles and teachers available for those wanting guidance. Hardy Weaver taught me Vedic meditation and I am forever grateful. Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer are all apps that I have enjoyed exploring and YouTube provides amazing free resources, too. A simple, free meditation to try is simply to sit down, close your eyes, and focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath for five minutes.
For me, slowing down, taking a deep breath and committing to just a few minutes a day for myself, changed everything.
I invite you to try it and see what might happen.