A Mother’s Rights #6: You have the right to exercise every day.

 

There’s an author named Candace Pert who wrote a book called, “Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind.”  I love, love, love this concept. It makes so much sense! All things that happen in your life and the way you feel about the things that happen are stored in your body and mind. Our bodies have intelligence and preferences. They are not separate from our existence but integrally a part of how we interpret and process the world, including our inner world. To keep those energies and emotions and thoughts fluid and flowing, we must move our bodies if we can.

 

 

you have the right to exercise every day

 

 

 

Bodies love exercise. They need it.

But no two bodies are the same. I know my body is not the same as Charlize Theron’s body.  Pretty sure about that one. Not the same as my husband’s or my kids’. There are exercises that feel good to me that may not feel good to them. There are different kinds of movement that used to feel good before I had children that don’t feel as good now.

It’s ok to meet yourself wherever you’re at and find something that feels good to you now. This is all about asking the very important question:

What does your body want now?

And finding a way to get it.  Is walking around the block exercise? Yes. Yoga? Playing catch with your kid? Climbing up the playground slide? Dance party with your baby? Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

We often sneak ourselves into a corner by thinking that exercise only counts if you’re at the gym or in cute workout clothes or it lasts for at least an hour and your kids aren’t there. If we set aside the mind for a moment and pay attention to the body, you may get some clues about what your cells really need. Maybe soft flowing dance, maybe wind sprints, maybe 50 squats before you sit to pee, maybe a little movement every day or maybe something big 2 times a week.

It may be a 10 minute postnatal core strengthening focus (this one has modifications for diastasis recti) so you feel like your insides aren’t that delicious pudding dessert your aunt makes. Or 15 minutes of tai chi during naptime to calm your emotions and re-center.  It could be an hourlong hike if your kids will sit in a stroller or wagon or be happy in a carrier. Like these guys occasionally would:

 

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Awwwwwwwww.  Those walks were crucial to my body’s health and well-being whether they lasted 5 minutes or 45 minutes. So bend over and try to touch your toes every now and then for God’s sake. Your body sooooo needs you to.

 

Podcast Episode 2: Birthing in the 70’s Interview: Part 2

 

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Did your mom or grandma have access to birthing balls and acupressure for labor? Did she have a chance to sit around and chat with mom groups about what life was like after giving birth? Do you think her pediatrician or gynie (as my mom would say) checked in about how nursing was going?  If they were laboring in the U.S., most likely not!

La Leche League started in 1956 and the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners was not founded until 1985. Postpartum Support International was founded in 1987.  So how did moms back then get what they needed when there were not a lot of resources available beyond advice from family and friends? What were things like when Western medicine docs hadn’t yet caught up to the importance of women’s mental/emotional/spiritual and physical health care needs before during and after birthing?

Did your mother or grandmother have support? What kind of support did she have?

You will never know unless you ask. Women’s stories need to be shared, so if you haven’t yet heard the story of your birth or your mother’s birth, I highly encourage you to ask.

Talking to my mom about her birthing experience has given me a deep sense of appreciation for what I went through birthing my own kids. The resources, doulas, midwives, books, groups and available support that I had access to: those things did not exist for many women in 1970, including my mom. I learned where I may have gotten my passion for hearing and encouraging stories about major life events (As she shares in this episode, I was listening to stories like that as a baby in a baby carrier!)

In Part 2 of my mom’s interview, we pick up the story with my mom talking about how her life path changed after having babies and experiencing some postpartum depression- namely, entering a doctoral program and studying how new moms feel about being moms.

Isolation and connection, search for community (1:30)
Can a pregnant woman fit into a desk made for them (3:15)
Do mothers of young children value themselves and their work? (3:45)
Always bring coffee and donuts if you want people to show up (4:30)
Women working outside of the home viewed themselves differently than stay-at-home moms (6:00)
Being a mom has a job description and value (6:45)
The importance of new moms connecting with other new moms (8:00)
Modern birth centers vs being knocked out and laying on a gurney (9:00)
Steak and champagne after c-section (11:00)
Rapid fire questions (12:50)

 

 

 

Podcast Episode 1: Birthing in the 70’s Interview: Part 1

 

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In this episode I interview my mother! She agreed to be my first guest and to talk about her experience of pregnancy and birthing in the 70’s. I highly, highly recommend talking to your mother or an elder you are close to about their birthing experience. We share so  much and some women have NEVER TOLD THESE STORIES. Give them a chance to. So much is different these days and yet so much is the same. It’s a fascinating look at the common bonds that having babies create across generations.

And Thank God for her and for the women who blazed a trail so we now have things like lactation consultants and pelvic floor PT’s and paternity leave and birthing options.

There’s a 4 minute intro where I am rambling on about my mom and what’s to come. Ramble, ramble, ramble. And to break things down, Part 1 includes these points:

Was family helpful in preparing for birth? (9:25)
Reality of labor pain hits: “I don’t want to do this anymore” (11:00)
My mom says the “f” word and my dad makes an interesting choice (12:10)
Here was my Ok, stop moment. The baby was not in the room when she woke up from her birthing sleep (13:00)
Nursing troubles (14:20)
Dr. Spock recommends (16:50)
Postpartum depression and who’s checking in with mom (18:00)
Mother-in-Law on night duty (21:00)

 

 

Part 2 will be posted soon!

Podcast Intro!

 

 

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Hello!!!!!! Look at those exclamation points! Can you tell I’m excited?? On this post you will find…… my podcast intro! It includes a tad about me and what the podcast is all about. I am recording, finding music and engineering myself so….heads up that it may not sound like This American Life.

Stay tuned for the first episode, an interview with a 79 year old woman who birthed in the early 70’s.

I’m excited! Are you excited?!

4 minute Meditation

 

meditation pic

 

Do you see that image right there of a person sitting with purple and pink and white light patterns all around? That’s you, whether you can feel it or not. Aren’t you beautiful? One way to start seeing yourself like that is to spend any amount of time meditating.

If you haven’t tried meditation and you think it might be boring, I recommend giving this one a try. It’s so short that it’ll be done before you even begin. If you’ve tried meditation and like it, this is a nice quickie way to reboot and get back to your day.

The intro is around 40 seconds so if you don’t want to hear it and you don’t like the “f” word, skip ahead or play the one underneath.

4 minute with intro:

 

 

4 minute without intro:

 

 

“Where my yoga at?” says 13 year old me.

All things are tied together. When you cut a tree, whose roots connect with everything, you must ask its forgiveness or a star will fall out of the sky.

 

West before East

13 years old, backyard cement slab, suburban spiritual desert
cigarette smoking, Virginia Slims stolen from my long blonde dance teacher
she kept them next to the record player and my hands
hit the ceiling of her basement studio
when I jumped, really just looking for freedom
and the other side of the world, home to wisdom keepers
finding paths through movement to higher planes
unknown, they rang the bell in me, a light in the smoke,
a silent unseen hope, hope, hope

At 13, I wanted to feel more freedom than I was feeling. I sensed there was some element of explanation to myself and life that I needed but couldn’t locate. Where was the missing essential component, an unnamed magic that would explain all the various and separate activities, messes, mysteries, disappointments, awarenesses and relationships of life?

I needed a unifying theory and cosmic explanation for why some people were liars, why getting A’s mattered, why I was the last person in my whole class (or maybe galaxy) to get my period, why intuition didn’t count as intelligence, why sometimes a shout was not loud enough, why my mom’s church thought people were born with dirty souls, and why sometimes you lose the things you love.

Naming these questions, this demand for explanation didn’t come until later, like today in my 40’s as I am blending a green smoothie, hoping it doesn’t taste like leaves.

Back then there was just a sense that…. people around me believed they weren’t connected and somehow that wasn’t right and I knew it wasn’t right.  So gimme a cigarette, says 13 year old me.

I didn’t know there were others also seeking breadcrumbs on a path inward and searching for wisdom in life’s everything.  The absence of that knowledge created a loss that defined a lot of my teens and 20’s. It created devastating anxiety and depression, and big issues with trust and relationships- and it scared me to my bones.

In my neighborhood and culture growing up, the idea that nothing and no one was really interconnected with anything else created systems that validated us by measuring us.

Like the Catholic church, where they were happy to tell you what was right and wrong or good and bad for you and how well you were doing with your salvation….(don’t get too stressed out, though, because if you don’t do well, the consequence is ETERNAL HELLFIRE, so relax.)  Or friends motivated by insecurity from always needing to be better, who acted calculating and contradictory. There was a continual need to strive for pretty, thin, cool, smart, accepted. And, of course, a grading system at school that measured how well we could adjust to outside standards of what intelligence and accomplishment looked like. I felt assessed by the systems around me. Systems I didn’t support but was already in.

Why am I thinking of this today? Because like so many of us, I’m healing myself of those wounds from my past by diving passionately into the present.

Our authentic selves require expression, attention, love and security. When we have unresolved pain, there are parts of us that bind up or scab over. So even though we’re not actively in pain anymore, we’re still living from a place that has restriction and scar tissue, which affects our ability to move smoothly and freely through the world. Both within ourselves mind-body-soul and within our lives intention-action-manifestation.

I’m fully on board living authentically and seeking spiritual truths and unity. It all feels like the freedom I’d longed for as a kid, when I couldn’t identify why things felt disconnected or what I was missing. I wasn’t exposed back then to ancient wisdom traditions and texts, mystical studies, meditation, movement and meditation practices that had been teaching things like enlightenment and unity for thousands of years. And so to discover that this path exists and has existed for so long feels like I’ve been sitting on a pot of gold I never knew was there. I just thought I was sitting on a really uncomfortable chair.

And isn’t that everything? To discover the riches that are already here? We live in an infinite universe. The answers, the healing, the relationships, the love we seek is already here. But if we don’t find it by seeking it and focusing it into life, we are like the story of the fish not knowing they’re in water.

If we keep seeking deeper and deeper affirmations and questions, only then can the universe answer us. The avenues of living intuitively, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, breathwork, energy psychology, self-reflection, self-awareness, compassion and gratitude are what heals the scar tissues and enables us to evolve and live our lives free of energetic, mental, physical, and ethereal restrictions.

Freedom from the past, from the way it’s held in our bodies and minds allows us to be fully in the present. And focusing on the freedom in the present releases the ways our bodies and minds have held onto things.

I wish I could share this news with myself back when I when I was 13. And I can. Through releasing the restrictions that were formed through those years of struggle, and offering gratitude for the wisdom and resiliency gained. By intending that future lessons be gentle and learned through love. By doing that, I scoop her right off that cement and into the arms of the unconditional love that awaits right here with me in the present.

Poems, podcasts, songs, oh my!

My previous five posts included the first 5 of 15 Mother’s Rights:

You have the right to 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
You have the right to eat a meal, sitting down, from start to finish.
You have the right to wear clothes that fit.
You have the right to revise your sex life as needed.
You have the right to shower every day.

Before we get to Rights 5-10, I wanted to say that I am very excited about a podcast I am working on, details to be announced very, very soon!

And future posts may include brief poems to get some juicy creative flow running through this site! For my latest song post, please check out my sister site: shufflesteps.com