New Year’s Eve 2011:
My little guy, not yet three weeks in this world, is cradled in my arms as tears spill down my cheeks, occasionally landing on his softly swaddled form. Raw with exhaustion, frustration, and worry, I brace myself for another round of this precious, six-pound bundle refusing the breast. Not only is his ongoing rebuff despairingly frustrating (You need to gain weight! Little guy, why won’t you just eat?), but also completely unexpected, as all went smoothly with my daughter when I was a breastfeeding-mama newbie a full decade earlier.
New Year’s Eve 2011 is a but a brief snapshot of the ups and downs of life, as that tenacious newborn is now a five-year-old thriving bundle of energy. Clearly, we both survived. But in that trying moment, I was overwhelmed and scared. And seemingly alone in my struggle. Both my husband and mom tried to reason with me. But, I recall thinking, they don’t really understand — How important this is to me. How frustrating. How I am failing my beautiful little son. How utterly helpless I feel.
Leaning on my mindfulness practice and talking with other moms who struggled similarly felt like a huge sigh of relief. I no longer felt alone and helpless. And with that knowledge arrived a bit of self-compassion, clarity, strength, and resolution.
I set out to write a book to teach busy moms simple ways to slow down, bring more joy into their lives, and cope with difficulties in part because it was also what I was living: the wonder, the trials, the depths of love, exhaustion, and bliss. The easiest way for me to do this was by sharing my own experiences (both unskillful and proud), along with research and ongoing lessons I endeavor to practice as well as preach.
So, although the details of our experiences may not look entirely the same, I hope the stories in Breathe, Mama, Breathe resonate with you — remind you to savor the beautiful moments, offer hope in the trying ones, and, ultimately, bring the sustained awareness that you are not alone.
Learn how to meditate here.
Remember to breathe, Mama, breathe.
Happy New Year 2017: May it be a year of health, happiness, prosperity, connection, and love.