Yoga in practice
Elijah is 10 days old today, in fact today was his official due date, until we discovered the placenta previa and all due dates went out the window.
I am just delighted we have him with us safe and sound, he is such a precious gift, I did not realise how wonderful it would be not only becoming a mother but also just welcoming new life, our own new life at that, into the world. It does make me reflect on the miracle of this world we live in, and the miracle of creation.
Elijah looks so much like Ewan, it is difficult for Ewan to see it but Mum and I spend the day identifying all the similar mannerisms and facial expressions. This is wondrous in itself, I even catch glimpses of my brother and my Dad. Isn't it funny how we pass from generation to generation so a part of us is always alive.
So we are adjusting well. Due to the C-section and the anaemia I am not allowed to be on my own, not least in case I faint but more so I believe, to make sure I don't overdo it. This means Mum arrives each morning when Ewan leaves for work and she potters around making all our meals, tidying up, winding Elijah and generally being an absolute star to me.
I admit I spent the first week of being home resisting all the help. It is tough when one is used to being so independent and to helping rather than being helped. Still events have caused me to re-address this and just go with the flow.
On Tuesday we took him to have his photos taken with Yasmin who is a baby photographer. It was a present from my parents and while I was super resistant to that too, she was quite amazing with him and it was actually really fascinating watching how she worked. There is no doubt that she has a gift for working with babies and is a baby whisper of sorts, she communicated with Elijah amazingly and I learnt a few tips, which have proved invaluable the last few days.
On Wednesday we were inundated with visitors, or so it seemed, one person after the next and by the end if it all I was absolutely exhausted and Elijah was all out of kilter from being passed around too much and not being in any sort of routine. It was later that evening that the baby blues - albeit later than one would expect - kicked in. I had been warned to expect it but still it seemed to come from nowhere as I just spent the evening and night crying.
I guess Elijah could pick up on my energy and was unsettled himself due to the over-stimulating nature of his day, so he barely slept, which simply compounded my mood and left me feeling rather helpless as he continued crying into the early hours of the morning. It was a horrible feeling and I am only grateful that Ewan took him from me and eased him to sleep, returning him to me when he was nice and settled so that we could get a few hours sleep.
I realised it wasn't so much about Elijah and him not sleeping that particular night. More so it was a mourning for a loss of pregnancy and the whole build up to the birth. Being pregnant becomes a whole new way of being, not least the fact you have this little bean growing inside you but also the fact that you are treated so differently by everyone. And then there is this immense build up to the birth, not just the excitement but also the fear - well for me in any event. Then you have the baby and you are euphoric. And then the exhaustion kicks in and it all becomes too much.
So I guess the baby blues are a combination of all these factors and probably more too, not helped by the weakness and the discomfort of a c-section recovery. It is all too easy to be filled with a sense of self-pity, which of course is compounded somewhat when your baby will not settle and go to sleep, because that is really all you want to be doing and you have zero control over it!!
Mum was pleased to hear the baby blues had hit. I am pleased too, for I have felt so very much better since then. Amazingly so. I guess everything happens in time and you have to see the dark to see the light again.
I have been eating as much iron rich food as possible to address the anaemia, which has not only made me very pale but was causing light headedness and shortness of breath just walking up the stairs. After much deliberation I decided not to have a blood transfusion, I was fortunate to have the choice as my iron levels were on the borderline. It is not so much the screening - albeit that that is a concern - but more so the fact you are taking on someone else's energy, which does not sit so easily with me. They don't say people's blood boils for nothing - it is true that emotions do really live in our bodies.
Instead I have started eating red meat again - the first time in 20 years, which was the last time I was anaemic. I remember a friend being told she needed to eat red meat to get better again and she resisted and I remember saying she was stupid for doing so. Faced with the same dilemma myself I can understand her resistance, but I also appreciate that it is not just about me anymore and if I am to get stronger and have my independence and be able to get out and about with Elijah then I need to be proactive in my decision making. Admittedly there is still the energy side to it, taking on a dead animals' energy and my favourite animal at that. But for whatever reason that sits more easily with me than someone else's blood.
As Mum is making all our meals she has been kind enough to ensure the meat is very good quality, which helps in reducing negative killing energy. The first meat meal was shepherds pie and while everyone was concerned I would feel sick trying to eat it, this couldn't have been farther from the truth. I became almost animalistic about it and could not get enough of the stuff. I have craved it throughout the pregnancy but resisted and now here I was letting go to it and my body could not have been happier. It just proves once more that the body does always know. And I have to say a week or so on I do feel so much better and have more colour in my face again.
I started practicing Yoga asana again this week too. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful that felt after a week of going without - I believe that may have been the longest time I have gone without since I started practicing over 10 years ago now. It was just so lovely to move my body and to practice postures I have been unable to practice due to the baby bump. Of course I have to move very mindfully as the C-section scar heals - but this just adds to the delight of really going within. It is refreshing too to have 30 minutes on my own without anyone else, some lovely singing bowl music playing and the candles lit. Special sacred times where I can offer my practice as a way of saying thank you for all the abundance of the last few weeks.
At night I have started to be present to my breath as I breastfeed. Sometimes this process can take a good hour with all Elijah's faffing about, and more often than not I lose myself in it all and wonder what happened between sitting and trying to watch my breath and finding myself waking from sleep with Elijah lying across my chest. I guess I do it all in my sleep. Ewan makes me laugh as more often than not it is him who wakes us because he thinks Elijah has stopped breathing or the cover is across his face. It never is, not quite sure how it all works but I think us mothers have a sixth sense and if the baby is on you, well I don't worry about suffocating or squashing him, it just feels natural. Ewan has his turn too and it seems to really calm Elijah if he lies across daddy's chest for a hour or so. Oh the fun we have!!
As for abundance, we have received so many lovely gifts and cards, we are quite blown away with the generosity of everyone. The house is filled with flowers and Elijah received the largest teddy bear I have ever seen, so much so that Mum and I almost cried with laughter when it was delivered. Many people have asked to visit too and while we were initially happy to see everyone, we have now retreated a little so we can establish a routine and enjoy some quality time together, just us and the doting parents.
This weekend I am very much looking forward to spending time with Ewan and Elijah and taking our little man for his first visit to the beach - I suspect it is still too soon for me to swim in the sea, but we shall see. All these things are so good for the soul and I believe it is so important to get out into nature as much as possible when you are trying to heal.
Other than that, we shall simply enjoy each moment. There is nothing to make you more present than simply sitting and watching your baby's changing expressions. Yoga in practice indeed, amazing how something so small can help to out the larger picture into perspective so that you no longer - well not for now anyway - sweat the small stuff!!
With much gratitude.