Monday, February 24, 2014

A Portrait of Motherhood

Recently I was scrolling through my husband Facebook album of our daughter and came across this little gem.

He took the picture last summer at about six months postpartum. It totally captures my motherhood experience. Exhaustion, pajamas, messy hair, and a little baby finally comfortable hanging out on tummy.

Most of our friends "liked" this photo and left comments as to how gorgeous motherhood looked on me despite how tired I must have been. I laugh now as I read these comments because at the time I was going through the lowest period in my postpartum depression. My girl had started the second round of teething and working full-time with lack of sleep had gotten the better of me.

Even so this is probably my favorite picture in the album because it highlights that I was doing the best I could with what I had. Even if it meant collapsing for a two-second shuteye next to my baby as she practiced rolling on the floor mid day. Plus I love the "oh-oh" look on her face.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Art of Extreme Self-care Chapter 2

Happy Love Month and welcome to The Art of Extreme Self-care postpartum style. For those of you who are new to my blog, last December I announced I would be doing a read-a-long of The Art of Extreme Self-care by Cheryl Richardson and sharing with you how I applied the principles of the book in a postpartum setting.  We will focusing on one chapter a month. Last chapter was about recognizing areas in life where you feel deprived. Let's dive into chapter 2.

Chapter 2

Mirror Work

What I got out if it:
I have to be honest here. When I first read this chapter months ago, I was like "what?" First, I thought it was vain to stare at oneself in the mirror and who the heck has time to tell themselves "I love you and I accept you right now" multiple times a day? But I tried to practice it as much as possible. I felt so silly. After a couple of days I pretty much stopped. Then last month when I was rereading the chapter, I also listened to a bunch of wonderful lectures from Hayhouse New You Now webinar series and it came up again. This time I got serious.

Here's what I noticed:
It took a couple of days for me to get over my aversion to gazing into my eyes in a mirror. Before I used to notice all my flaws when I looked in the mirror, but now I saw my eyes and all the various shades of brown that decorated the irises.

And then I looked deeper. I finally understood the truth behind the saying "eyes are windows into the soul." I started to use the mirror for help when I would get stuck on a project at work or in a scene while writing and ask "what is holding me back?" The answer didn't come right away, but if I looked deep enough I felt a shift as if the block moved aside and could proceed. My productivity increased in my job and at home and I actually started feeling really good about myself which felt good after spending an entire year NOT enjoying my mental state.

I also discovered that you really do have to love yourself in order to feel better and to love those around you. Because when I love myself I make better choices and take better care of myself. By doing so I am more present and am able to give the top notch attention I want to my family. Now I don't feel so silly saying "I love you, Melania, and accept you right now."

Have you peeked into your mirror lately?