January 2011

The Best Friend’s Guide to Newborns

by Leonie Dawson on January 28, 2011

Hola sweet spunkarellas

This was written in dribs & drabs while Little Mermaid was still a newborn… it’s only now that I’m able to put it all together to share… I’ve also added extra ones that I know now… I so hope it will be helpful to all new mama goddesses out there… and those who love them…

I am typing this to you on my iPod with Little Mermaid asleep in my arms. It is 10am, and I haven’t slept since 2am, and we haven’t had much sleep in the last 48 hours… But here I am, tip tapping you a-way a love letter.

I want to share some of the big lessons and challenges I have found in new mamahood. I can only hope this helps other new mama goddesses out there…

I want to put a caveat around this sharing though:
I like to look on the bright side. Leonie is a mermaid Pollyanna. What I want to share here though isn’t totally lollipops though. I want to share this for new mamas so they know they are not alone. SO if you are pregnacious and are already feeling nervous about being a mama, maybe read this once you are there & are needing it. One step at a beautiful time!

Away we go!

1.

People will tell you becoming a parent is hard, and taking care of a newborn is harder. And I didn’t really get it, until I found myself sobbing over the bathroom sink at 1am. Some days are easy, and I start feeling like maybe just maybe I have it worked out. On the hard days, I want to run but there is no way I can. On the hard days I tell Chris that as much as I said I wanted four kids, as much as I love Little Mermaid, there is no way I am doing this again. On the hard days, parenting kicks my ass, over and over. The thing I most want to say to new mamas (and to me) is: it’s okay to feel this way. You are a good person. You are doing the best you can. And yes, it is enough, and it will be enough.

2.

Things change every day. You can’t really expect much of a pattern. You can hope for it. You can high five your sweet self when lil one sleeps for five hours. But it is probably easier to not expect things to be a certain way. Each moment only once! Some things will work somedays, other days they won’t. And that’s okay. Keep taking deep breaths and trying new things.

3.

As soon as she was born, something was born inside me. A fierce mama protector bear. Yesterday my sweetie was carrying Ostara to our car from the shops, looking crazy adorable. I could see all the women around staring at this big bear of a hunk in a grey tee carrying this tiny little pink bundle of baby… *happy sigh*
… annnnnnyways, now I’ve had that moment, as we were walking, we crossed the road (at a crossing). A car drove up, & I wasn’t sure it would stop. A calm little thought said in my head “just step between the car and ostara… That way if it doesn’t stop, they will have to get through you before they get her.”
And of course the car did stop (as if they would dare take on a big hunk carrying a tiny baby AND a protective bear hippy beside them!) but still… These new thoughts – actually not thoughts – they are INSTINCTS – made me smile. I love this strong spirited daughter of mine.

4.

Every single mama, father and baby is different. We are all doing the best we can. Let’s cultivate a judgement-free zone. I read somewhere this morning (at 3am) that we were the perfect parents until we had children. That made me laugh so hard that I nearly woke up Chris who was trying to get a little sleep for the night. My goodness, I really WAS the perfect parent before I was one. I remember the first time Ostara cried on the second day of her life, and I felt a bit heartbroken… That somehow I couldn’t keep her world so pure that she didn’t need to cry. That was the moment I started shedding my Perfect Parent Cloak.

5.

You do get initiated into a new tribe when you become parents. You look at other parents like “ohhhhhhh I get it now! I hear you sister!” Today at the supermarket, Ostara started crying so I picked her up and carried her, and she promptly fell asleep.

So Chris pushed the pram & we used that as a trolley instead, filling it with spinach leaves and bananas and gluten free bread and dog food. And we passed another pram-trolley family, and we grinned at each other, and stopped to coo at each other’s bundles, and talk about newborn life.

Instant friends… Something that wouldn’t have happened before then.

6.

Be good to your partner. Be good to each other. I once read that a baby is like throwing a grenade into a marriage. Surely not, I thought. But that’s all I could think of as I snipped away at him, tired and cranky. I was so jealous that his life hadn’t changed like mine had. That for the most part, I had the lion’s share of the caring task what with breastfeeding a zillion hours a day. And I was heartbroken that this was something he couldn’t really, really understand. He didn’t know what mamahood was about – he knew what daddahood was, sure, but mamahood?

I was going through an immense transformation – and the man who is part of every part of my journey, who gets me, who understands everything – he could only look on at the transformation.

I was weary and exhausted and aching to go back to my old life. And I’m sure my love was at times too.

We argued a lot those first few months.

Things got better… but they got harder before they got better, too.

Here’s my advice about babies & relationships:

Let go of frustrations as much as you can. Find the gentlest, easiest way possible for you and your love. Parenthood is not a sprint towards perfection. It is a long marathon of love.

And get counselling. Get support when you need it. There’s Relationships Australia. Or the Breastfeeding Helpline. There’s authentic parenting coaching by phone. Just anything – anything you can get to support and help you and your love navigate this transformation is a good, needed thing. Everything will be okay, dearest.

7.

There is a learning curve to everything.

I thought cloth diapering and baby wearing would be so so easy. Guess what? It came with a massive learning curve and it didn’t always work for us.

So I let go of my idea of how perfectly things would work, and got a pram and a box of disposables to support us in the meantime.

The more I get into this mamahood gig, the more I realise that the pram or the no-pram, the cloth or the disposables – it doesn’t frigging matter. What matters is what works for you and your family. I really ding dang mean that.

Be gentle sweetness. Do what you can to be gentle with you. These things take time.

8.

Sleep whenever you ding dang can.

Up until Ostara was four or five months old… actually, even longer… I went to bed when she did: 6pm. Because somewhere in that 12 hours of night, I would scrape together enough hours of sleep for it to be enough. I gave up having a night life for a long while. I gave up trying to be a normal person. I went to bed when baby did. I’m convinced it helped me heal from birth and kept me sane and strong when I needed to be.

9.

The Four Month Couch Rule.

So peeps don’t tell you this, but I will:

When you have a babe, pretty much schedule in that you’ll be sitting on the couch breastfeeding & holding a baby for four months.

And you’ll forget soon after that that it really didn’t take that long, and when you ask your mum, they’ll have no idea that it happened, but yup, it pretty much does.

Breastfeeding takes a ginormous amount of time. It rocks but OMG! The TIME! I remember days when I would be breastfeeding for over 15 hours in a 24 hour period.

I remember attempting to drive 15 minutes in the car, and having to pull over twice for breastfeeding top-ups (whether she really needed food or just the comfort of it is beside da point: she wanted boob.)

A long, long amount of time is occupied in boob feeding.

Make it as gentle & kind for you as possible. Watch movies! Read books! Buy yourself a Kindle or an iTouch.

Hunky love bought me an iTouch a week or two after she was born when I realised full arms meant no laptop.

And I was really angsty about it, telling him just how much I should be meditating or staring into her eyes or being au naturel for every moment I held her.

Dude, not even the Buddha did that. He just did forty days under a tree! Not four months!

Anyways, my love gently broke it to me:

Honey, I hear what you’re saying. But I’d much rather you be sane than be the idea of the perfect parent.

And he was right. As he so very often is.

My little iTouch has been my reading book & radio station & meditation CD player & reach out and connect to the world. I am incredibly grateful for it.

Whatever you can do to make it easy and gentle and happy and sane for yourself during this time is a good good thing.

10.

Give your partners the space to become parents.

I ran in the moment she cried in order to settle her. I didn’t leave her side for a long, long time. And I criticised the heck out of my partner for not being the exact parent I wanted him to be.

Can I tell you:

It was not helpful to me. It was not helpful to him. It was not helpful to the formation of our little family.

In fact, it sucked a lot.

What helped?

Giving him the time and the space and the opportunity to learn how to settle her himself. And become the Dad he wanted to be. For those two to bond together.

And ding dang, it definitely helped me to have a bit of time and space where I wasn’t on duty.

I like what my friend Pixie wrote about this:

Also, at the very good advice of an elder years ago, I threw my husband to the wolves early on, having to trust he would figure out what to do -which he survived, of course,  allowing me to escape the demanding clutches of pudgy fingers now and again. The condition is that I can’t critique the job he does if I’m going to claim solitude. It works brilliantly. I don’t care if they eat popsicles for every meal and ride the dogs into town bareback. What I do know is that I have to get away and recharge or I will freak the hell out. Letting go gets easier as I practice it.

11.

You will heal.

Every week gets easier. Every month gets easier.

You will get stronger. You will find a new way.

Give yourself the support you need. Get help. Talk it out. Be kind and gentle to yourself, dearest heart.

You are doing the hugest job on the planet.

I honour you. I admire you. I am in awe of you. I am stunned at how much love, work, time and energy you pour into your children. You really are incredible.

You are so so so so loved.

You are doing an amazing job.

I believe in you.

I’m sending you all the love from the moon and back… wrapped in the soft arms of Quan Yin to hold you gently.

Love, love, love,

Goddess Inspiration: Rock houses, spirit tools & booktopia

by Leonie Dawson on January 28, 2011

Hola beautiful goddesses!!!

I’ve been soaking up inspiration wherever I could find it this week, lovely!

here’s all my favourites to share with you, dearest…

A scrumptious earthy goddess song to begin us off, via the beyoootiful Jenica.

Utterly ADORED my dear goddess friend Pixie’s video on her Sacred Tools this week. And then this post of hers on how she combines mamahood, creativity & spirithood blew my cotton socks off. Thank you dearest woman, for being you, and for sharing your truth, wisdom & light.

Attention! Live in North Queensland, or feeling called to Goddess town in tropical paradise for a holy-day? My dear friend & highschool buddy Akiah is making big magic flow & the North Queensland Spiritual Festival has been born! Me & Ostara have been making the trek across the paddock to go visit her most days to brainstorm some more. I’ll be at the festival doing readings & maybe a mini workshop. It’s on in April ~ I’d love to see you there if you are called (& yus, you can be a stallholder too!)

Love this post on unique homes at Hellena Post.

50 Ways to Woo Your Muse from ze one I keep linking to… lovely Cass.

I’ve been listening to the audio meditations from How to Rule Your World by my dear Hiro Boga all week. Crying and healing and meditating all at once. Her work is deep and intensive and so very, very needed.

Thanks to Tiny Buddha: On Living With Honor.

Book of Art.

I love Gaping Void’s book on creativity: Ignore everybody.

How could I not with these tips?

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

7. Keep your day job.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

14. Dying young is overrated.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

16. The world is changing.

17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

31. Remain frugal.

32. Allow your work to age with you.

33. Being Poor Sucks.

34. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.

35. Savor obscurity while it lasts.

36. Start blogging.

37. Meaning Scales, People Don’t.

37. When your dreams become reality, they are no longer your dreams.

Inner Toddler cracks me up. Daily Schedule Derailed by Astrological Shift.

On the topic (or off the topic)… there’s been muchos talk around ze interwebs & in ze Goddess Circle about how/if our star signs are changing.

You want to know my thoughts?

The idea that we can change star signs excites me. It’s change. It’s evolution. It’s growth.

It means that potentially I’m not a lusty, passionate, over-the-top extremist Scorp anymore. My gawd, I really have loved being a Scorpio.

But the idea of being a Libra excites me. Finding balance. Calm. Heartspace. Compassion. Gentleness in my life.

I don’t really care either way if the shift is right or wrong, happening or not.

What I do know is that it excites me.

How lovely would it be to take a turn being all star signs? Maybe we’d evolve through them every year or every day?

Maybe we’d just be whole?

And to follow that up with something totally serious, deep and spiritual poignant: The Bloggess looks adorable in a panda suit! That woman has me silently howling with laughter into my pillow (so as to not wake up Ostara).

This photo by beautiful goddess sister Maggie Ann is divine.

Mama Goddess Corner…

5 reasons why Mom going away can be GOOD for kids from the Happiest Mom. I’ve just pre-ordered her book too, and am looking forward to gobbling it up.

My love found this article & thought I might need to read it. He was right. Childbirth & post-traumatic stress. Maybe you do to, beautiful heart?

My beautiful Goddess Circle sister Kyeli wrote about how to communicate with your kids (part one) & (part two). Her gentle, calming, sage words are good for the heart.

” Have you lost the baby that came out your vagina?”

Out of the mouths of babes.

Video time!

Sous L’Éléphant Rose from Erik Hecht on Vimeo.

A very, very sweet, real love story.

You can thank Chris for dis one: The Nobel Funk Off.

Also thanks to loverboy… this should be a public service announcement. HOW TO MAKE CHURROS ommmnommnomm.

And happiness in my world…

I’ve been a wee bit quiet this week… gestating, healing, feeling sunburnt both physically & soulfully. So I’ve been honouring it with a bit of Cave Time. Going to bed at 7pm. Getting intuitive healings & reflexology. Doing whatever I can to give myself what I need….

Here’s my top six moments this week:

Adored Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. Honestly? I wasn’t a massive fan of Eat Pray Love. But Committed had my bells ringing. I dog-eared like nine pages of AHA! moments in it.

I went on an artist’s date and serendipitously ended up at an outdoor pub here and ordered a banana split. And then I was served this mountain of deliciousness. It was totally a miracle resplendent in shaved chocolate and biscuit chunks.

It’s banana splits like these that confirm for me that Great Spirit really DOES exist. Hee!

Ostara’s worked out how to draw! It was such a gorgeous night… we were drawing with felt tip pens for so long. Happy heart!

And I’ve been apainting too. And anytime I have paint on my hands, I’m a happy girl.

See?

And for the awwwwwwwwww! moment of the week…

while I was painting on the verandah, Chris was reading in a chair beside me while Ostara & Charlie were having best bud moments looking out the screen door together.

HEART MELT!

So YAY! for beautiful moments. Thanks universe… for always making miracles.

Wishing you bundles of love as always, lovely one…

May you give yourself just what you need.

love,

Remember…

by Leonie Dawson on January 26, 2011

Goddess Affirmation