16 years ago today…

16 years ago today I gave birth to my first born child. A son named Mitchell. 14 years ago yesterday I gave birth to my second child, a daughter named Kelsea. Interesting timing and resulting in a crazily busy August week each year since but that was the way it happened.

We celebrate birthdays as the day we were born but as a mother I often find myself reflecting on and celebrating the day for me as well as my child. Remembering the moments, the excitement, the challenges of each birth. Looking at the clock throughout their birthdays and thinking about what was happening at this time on that life changing day. What I was feeling, where I was, what I was doing, those memories are so poignant, the years have passed but the depth of the emotions remain and there are crystal clear memories of the first time I saw my children, or held them, or was separated from them. The anticipation, the anxiety, the pain, the emotions, the intensity surrounding birth are so powerful that these memories remain strong and clear as others fade away.

16 years ago today my son was born and his birth was not as I had planned it. I suffered complications afterwards resulting in the need to have surgery, complications that I now know could  probably have been avoided had things gone differently during my birth experience. At the time I was happy that he was okay and healthy and we got through it all in the end, the busyness of getting to know him and life with a baby meant I never really thought about it much. Many years later when undergoing my prenatal yoga teacher training I realised just how much grief I had over how it all happened. I can see with hindsight what went wrong, I thought I was prepared but due to a combination of factors – my lack of empowerment, the inconvenient fact that he was born during a shift change at the hospital and my much faster than expected labour my carefully prepared birth plan remained packed and unread in my overnight bag while events unfolded as they did.

Now when I teach my pregnancy yoga classes I encourage my students to become empowered during their pregnancy, to ensure they have in place the support and knowledge required for a positive birth experience. Happily things have changed greatly over the last 16 years but we still have a long way to go in order to provide women with the optimum opportunity to give birth with less intervention and more confidence. So that when they look back on their children’s birthdays they can do so with pride and joy free of any grief or sorrow.

16 years ago today my life changed forever. Not only was my son born, 16 years ago today I was reborn – as a mother. I look back on that day with such happiness, remembering all of the moments that led to his birth, my holding him in my arms, feeding him at my breast, loving him with all of my heart right from the very beginning…it was a wonderful day.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Begin again

We had a wonderful conversation in my beginners course last night about how and when you start to feel comfortable or familiar with yoga postures and practices. This is a difficult thing to define as, like many things, everyone does so in their own time and at their own pace.

Sometimes it takes the right instruction or the right teacher or for you to be in the right headspace for something to click, and then you have it. Other times the progress is so slow and sneaky that you don’t even realize it is happening, you just find yourself one day in a pose that has been difficult for you in the past and realise that it isn’t anymore. You try to remember when that happened but can’t pinpoint the moment because there wasn’t one, it was a gradual increase in comfort and familiarity which eventually culminates in feeling ease in that pose.

In my own personal practice, which began over 12 years ago, I have had both experiences and there are some poses which still challenge me, some days they feel okay, others they feel awkward. I’ve tried different methods, different teachers, different times of day but still don’t feel that I have mastered them at all. Perhaps I never will. I try not to feel frustrated about this and I do continue to practice those poses, not letting myself avoid them altogether as they teach me much, about being an eternal beginner, not putting pressure on myself to achieve, finding acceptance with where I am and not giving up entirely.

It is a lovely practice to begin again, even if you have done something a thousand times before to go into it as though for the first time. This helps us to notice our habits, to remain present and to give what we are doing our full attention as we do when we are learning something new. This applies to yoga, to work, to taking a walk, to washing the dishes, anything at all that you find yourself doing.

Happy beginnings.

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx