We are beautiful, strong, powerful creators of life.
We are yoga minded, spiritual, healing goddesses.
We are mothers.
And we were never meant to do this on our own.
Motherhood is a miracle—but there is also never a time where you will feel more alone. The transition to motherhood where you shed the skin of your old identity and transform into another stage of being a woman is a lovely as it is disorientating. But through the bleary-eyed fog of postpartum, you could stand a crowded room full of people and never feel more isolated.
It can feel like no one is in the same boat as you—you know, that boat where your meals are scarfed down with one hand, to the sound of a baby crying.
The boat where all your clothes seem to have spit up on them, or no longer fit.
The boat that feels like it is struggling to keep afloat.
And it doesn’t stop at postpartum. Time with your partner is harder to come by, when you have to budget in a babysitter on top of the cost of your night out. Your day is dictated by the needs of a tiny tyrant. Where you have to save your sick days at work not to take care of yourself, but in case your little one gets sick. It seems like even the simplest of tasks, like making time for a yoga class, can require juggling schedules.
So, how can we find the beauty in these challenging moments? How do we cope with these new lives we are thrown into?
The beauty is in the “sangha” or the community, and the company of other mothers. The comfort of knowing you are supported, held, and not ever alone.
At first, it might not be easy to find your community. I still remember in the early days, lamenting about lack of sleep, and being pressured to sleep train my son. But as a yoga mama, one who strives to parent with compassion and ahimsa (non-harm), this was simply not a solution. I needed to speak my truth, my satya, and have it be heard and validated.
What I needed at the time was not a quick fix that ignored my holistic parenting principles. I needed a hot cup of coffee and an ear to listen. I needed to be reminded that this, too, shall pass… That those cuddles in the night were what my biologically needed… and that soon, they would be a thing of the past.
I needed a community. My community.
A community of yoga mamas who mothered in a way that honored compassion, loving kindness, and mindfulness.
And soon enough, I found it. I found other mindful mamas who were happy to walk with their babies in their carriers and keep them close. Who understood the annoyance of having to choose their wardrobe based on how easy our tops were to breastfeed in, and who could laugh about it. Mamas who knew that we were in this together, and it was a rollercoaster of fun days and tough days. Mamas who I could call, and would meet me outside of my apartment at Starbucks in less than 10 minutes, because we both needed a soy latte and adult interaction!
Mamas with the understanding that being an attached parent is exhausting, but so rewarding in the end. Mothers who did not simply offer quick fixes, but rather compassion and understanding to the challenge of parenting in a gentle way. Mothers who would help me forgive myself, again and again, for all the times I was not “perfect.”
We need friends who we can call when our babies will not stop crying. Who can hear us as our voices crack, and validate our experiences. Who honor how challenging it is to give of yourself as a mother. Who can offer compassion when we vent about damn difficult breastfeeding is, not just offer the “solution” of quitting. Who will bring over hot soup when you and your little ones are sick, and maybe an essential oil blend, too. Mamas who will remind you to make time for self care, while truly understanding how hard it can be just to even sneak away for a 10 minute bath. Mothers who you can go out for drinks with, even if you might need to bring your baby along to the bar.
Your community does not have to do everything exactly the same as you. Your worth as a mother is not based on your choice of cloth or disposable diapers. Maybe you make your own organic baby food, and maybe you son has been known to eat a pancake off the floor. (Guilty!) Maybe both. Your yoga mama community is bound by a common love for your babies, a commitment to kindness, and continued ability to forgive ourselves for not being perfect–but always perfectly ourselves.
A community that values the vulnerability of asking for help, because asking for help is hard. A community with an understanding that often we don’t need quick “fixes” and lectures… we need support. A community that is built on ahimsa (non-harm), and love, and satya (honesty). We were not meant to do this alone. We need sangha.
Well, sangha and wine.
Author: Logan Kinney
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: author’s own