Disclaimer : The author shares her own postpartum experience of her first pregnancy. The statements and recommendations are devoid of any medical proof.
Okay, the disclaimer gives a seriously terrific effect to this post but let me assure you, none of the lines that follow hold any nail-biting incidents. In fact, it is the exact opposite of that, you will find. I’m going to share the postpartum moments that I took advantage of, to experience the tranquil art of mindfulness.
My postpartum story
I couldn’t escape the cold hands of postpartum depression right from the day I became a mother. If there are innumerable happy tales to brag about being a mother, there are almost equal number of heartbreaking incidents that paved way for the better days.
No, my first step towards motherhood didn’t go as planned. As a family, we struggled a lot to understand the immediate requirements, adapt ourselves to the new roles and predict the baby’s needs.
Baby D, who is an easy maintenance now (Touchwood!) wasn’t the same before. I had trouble in understanding every single cue of him – the baby cues I learnt from YouTube were entirely different from what my little one conveyed, hence didn’t help a bit. I had to evolve everyday. There was too much to learn from every moment. If the experiment wasn’t with the baby, I’d have whole heartedly enjoyed the challenges life had posed to me.
Oodles of guests visited us and left. What didn’t leave were their opinions. There were a plenty of them – positive, negative, judgmental and pointless opinions, altogether they flooded my feeble mind and caused panic attacks. At the same time, I loved having guests around, especially the understanding souls to whom I confidently opened up my insecurities of being a first time mom. This simple act of sharing my shattered state of mind halved my postpartum depression and doubled the parental joys.
The other important factor that helped me get over the postpartum depression was Mindfulness approach. I was casually skimming through the status updates in facebook one day, when I found a great post about Mindfulness in my timeline. It immediately caught my attention because the friend who shared it is not a status bombarder. She immensely respects the time of her FB friends and shares information only if it is really worth reading. Long story short, so that was how I got to know the outline of being mindful via Facebook.
The beautiful fact about Mindfulness is that, it is not a big deal. You do not need Jockey’s yoga pants or a Caprese sling bag to attain mindfulness. It is all about focusing on the present. Not the abstract present which might remind you of the narrow-eyed boss or financial loss, but the actual present where you deeply think about what is in and around you. Literally. It is attainable, if your attempt is full-fledged. Yes, even the helpless, unstable women who undertake time-critical mom roles can be impeccably mindful and live their days to the fullest, if they practice mindfulness.
How I coupled mindfulness approach to my motherhood journey?
It was no rocket science. I utilised the time spent on cradle-rocking and breastfeeding to stay mindful. These are basically the two constantly occurring events in a new mom’s life and a calm environment and personal space is always generously allotted by the family members to ensure zero distraction for the baby. I secretly took advantage of these timings to get over the postpartum depression, by being mindful.
When I rock baby D’s cloth cradle, I feel the rugged rope against my pale palm, its quick whirring movements attempt to freshen up my sleep-deprived face, intensifying its efforts everytime. The cradle cloth is chalky white with numerous happy faced cartoon figures adorning every inch of it.
Happy faces –> Positive vibes.
In parallel, I also take notice of my panting heart whose loud lub-dubs in turn cause a half of my physique to expand and shrink at regular intervals. I voluntarily breathe, to consciously let more oxygen in. It gives a pleasant chill to the inner walls of my nose, clears the lump-like feeling in the throat and glorifies the heart.
Baby D gracefully slows down his coos, makes mild meowing sounds and drifts aside to sleep, with feet slightly crossed. During the first few months, I remember rocking the cradle for more than half an hour to put him to sleep. There were times when I cried, wished for someone to magically appear and rock the little monster to sleep.
The day I implemented mindfulness in my time and energy consuming chores, life has become easier and acceptable. Never did someone magically appear to pacify the baby, never did luck knock my door, never did the sleep cycle change in my favor. I was also the same – physically exhausted and mentally insecure. But I was conscious all the time – of myself and beyond, not letting an abstract feeling to take a toll on my peace of mind. This kept me so hooked to the literal present state and lightened the impact of postpartum depression to a noticeable extent.
Image Courtesy :Unsplash
As soon as I got a hang of it, it dawned to me that most of the postpartum nightmares can be effectively self-controlled by being mindful of the sequence of events that happen in a day. Most of the times, it is not the entire day that messes up with the good mood of a mom, but only certain circumstances or thoughts that bully the fragile mom’s mind and ruin the rest of the day. Once you become aware of the root cause of your problem, getting over it becomes an astonishingly simpler process. I strongly recommend every one of you to give this a try and let me know how it worked for you.
If a clumsy person like me can be successfully mindful during the most challenging phase of life, I am sure you can too. 🙂