Sunday, August 19, 2012

show your Self some love

It has struck me within the last year how infrequently we offer ourselves love.  I say "we" referring broadly to all humans, but really specifically, at least for today, I am speaking about mothers.  In my experience it is often easier to give love to those outside ourselves than to really spend time loving our Selves.  And then of course we hold others responsible for loving us, or even believe we aren't worthy. There is a whole slew of antics we can play with ourselves rather than acknowledging our own power to be who we want to be; our own responsibility for loving our Selves.

We are all served by cultivating our own Self-love, and a mother focused on this has all the more to give to her child. What does it mean to really Love one's Self?  It can look like a massage, a walk alone in the woods, or eating healthy food.  These are great ways to honor and treat yourself.  But, what I'm talking about runs deeper than that, to a belief that we are capable, that we are valuable, that we are beings powerful and beautiful beyond measure.  This kind of Love gives fruit to empowerment.  I even see Self-Love as the bedrock of empowerment.

Love and empowerment go hand in hand through pregnancy, being pivotal components of a satisfying birth experience.  An empowered woman trusts that her body and baby know how to birth, she is confident in her ability, honors her instincts, and takes responsibility for decision making.  An empowered woman focused on loving her Self is able to release judgment and fear.

One way to practice empowerment-building Self-love is through using affirmations.  An affirmation reinforces belief in one's Self.  I encourage Mamas to find the affirmation that really speaks to & feels natural for them, some examples being:  "I am made to do this",  "I am strong", "I am supported by all mothers that have birthed before me and that birth after me", "I am perfect as I am", "I have everything I need", "Love flows continuously through me".  Believe these affirmations!  (And if you don't believe it, try another one that feels better).  Through regular use, affirmations strengthen a woman's sense of center.  It is wise to use affirmation throughout pregnancy.  Then, your specific affirmation can serve as a reminder of your center during labor.

We can only truly love what we truly know, right?  Pregnancy is an invitation to get to know the depths of your Self.  I tell my yoga students all the time: "Listen to your baby; Listen to your inner wisdom".  It is amazing what we can learn about our strengths, our needs, and our babies just by sitting still and listening.  And the more a woman knows her Self, the more able she is to tap into the well of inner strength.  I have seen women using this in labor and birth when a decision needs to be made.  They pause, listen to their inner-knowing and then are able to make a change if necessary.

Sometimes, when we are still and listening, we see gaps in our knowledge.  For first time parents, pregnancy, birth and a newborn are all uncharted territory, with lots of questions and decisions to be made.  An empowered parent knows and values the responsibility of decision making, not wanting to simply hand over this power to a Doctor or Midwife who "knows more".  When listening to our intuition doesn't proved a clear answer, this is an opportunity to use research as a means of Self love.  The research about where you give birth, standard new born procedures, ways to encourage nursing or anything at all really is a form of Self-love because you are discovering what you really want, and feeling the strength of making your own choice.  When I was pregnant with Sly I was initially overwhelmed by all the decisions to make and wanted to be as informed as I could.  Even if my intuition felt strongly about something, like not getting him circumcised for example, I still did my research to be well informed on all sides of the issue.  It began to feel fun and assuring to uncover all the information, and of course it was empowering to know I was informed enough to decide what was best for our family.

Certainly our pregnancies, births, and children do not always fit our desires and expectations.  Part of the beauty in a deep-seated love for Self is the ability to release fear.  The longer I am a student of life, the more I see that Love and Fear cannot exist simultaneously.  When we are truly engaged in Love for ourselves, and Love for our babies as well, we can release fears completely, trusting that we have done our absolute best.  I know Mamas that have not had the birth outcomes they hoped for, yet they felt empowered and satisfied none the less.  I've witnessed these same Mamas pause to listen to their center, commit themselves to Self love, research what they didn't know, and make affirmations of their strength and ability.  An empowered, Self-loving, inquisitive Mama is a jewel, and a possibility for all Mamas out there.  Show your Self some love.  You deserve it.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I agree! Scripture, the Christian Bible reminds us that "perfect love casts out all fear." How true it is that when we can tell the difference between what is truth and what are lies we are able to love ourselves and others more freely and embrace what we have been created for.


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