Opening My Eyes to Motherhood
How do I stay sane during this insane time of my life....
I remember sitting crossed legged in my prenatal yoga class when I was about four months pregnant. My eyes were closed and as per my yoga teacher’s directions, I was taking a nice, slow, deep breath in through my nose and out through my mouth. As I continued to do this, I began to imagine what things looked like inside my body at that very moment. There was this little being growing inside of me, and for a minute, I could actually see that happening. I know it sounds a bit odd, but I could see veins, and blood, and I felt like I was floating. I felt like I actually was this little being experiencing what she was experiencing living inside my womb. On one hand I felt miraculous and so connected to my baby. It was definitely an “I am woman, hear me roar” kind of moment. Then just as suddenly, I began to feel fear, anxiety, and stress. This little being inside of me was really on its way to being a person, and I was on my way to being a mother! In just five short months I was going to be someone’s mother. My world was going to be forever changed. I wanted this so badly, but was I ready for it? Was I going to be a good mother? Would I have the patience I needed? What challenges was I going to face and how was I going to face them? The next thing I remember was that the yoga instructor was telling me to bring my focus back to the room and open my eyes.
When I thought about it afterwards, I realized just how eye opening that experience really was for me. I never felt so happy, proud, connected, and yet fearful, anxious, and stressed all at the same time. Each emotion was authentic and palpable. It wasn’t until after my daughter was born and I was an intern at Cedars Sinai Early Childhood Center, that I realized that what I had experienced during my pregnancy is so completely normal. Well maybe not that being inside my womb visualization, but the sensation of being filled with so much joy and worry simultaneously. As a post-doctoral intern, I listened to other new mothers like myself talk in group, and I heard similar stories over and over again. I remember moms sharing their feelings of both joy and sheer terror and the other moms nodding in unison.
The group was a haven, and it is what inspired me to make working with new parents my career. Being able to listen to other new parents made me realize how incredibly important it was to have a safe community to come to every week where parents could discuss and process questions like, “How do I handle this huge transition in my life?” “How do I know if I am doing this parenting thing right?” “How do I play and connect with my baby?” “How do I get my baby on some type of sleep schedule?” “How do I keep from getting frustrated with my partner over, well, everything?” “How do I stay sane during this insane time of my life?”
This is why all these years later, I am so excited to be the curriculum director for The Pump Station & Nurtury’s ™ Parent & Me Program. I truly believe that taking this class is one of the best things that you can do for yourself as a new parent. Being a new parent can be very isolating and overwhelming. Here you will meet others going through the same experience as you with babies the same age as yours, and gain the support and the community that all new parents need. So I hope you will take a nice deep breath, open your eyes, and come join us.
By Jill Campbell, Psy.D.