A few months ago, a friend mentioned that when she became a mom one of her biggest struggles a few months into postpartum was an identity crisis. When she asked me, I thought for a second and said no, well not yet!
Though I often did think about…I am now first and foremost a mom before being a wife, daughter or sister.
We had tentatively planned for a trip once Ruvir turned 6 months old. We travelled for close to a month in India, Bali and Singapore. Every single day we were out enjoying the warm weather, and meeting family and friends. I grew up traveling frequently to India, at least once a year.
Each trip to India is always a reset on so many levels. Learning more about myself, my ancestors, essentially who I am. This trip was very different because it was not about me anymore. It made me realize that I now have the responsibility to make sure Ruvir also gets the exposure to India that I had. It was eye opening in a subtle way. This responsibility shifted me entirely into mom mode. I began to speak out loud and in my head about how I plan to raise him- of one of which is to take him at least once a year to India, to get in touch with his roots.
I think many of us as new moms struggle with this in an unspoken silent way. We cannot grasp that feeling of no longer relating to our old selves but not quite transformed into this new mom individual yet either. This internal identity shift is one of the ways we change, but I feel there is an external shift, too.
Shifting Into a New Identity
I had gained a good amount of weight in my pregnancy. I worked hard to get rid of that weight gain through Ayruveda- morning yoga, pranayama (breath work), and diet and lifestyle. It took me 8 months to get to my pre pregnancy weight. For 8 months I was mostly in comfy, loose, stretchy clothing. Now that I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, some of my old clothes don’t fit the same anymore, since the fat distribution is different. As I am buying and adding new pieces to my wardrobe, my style too has changed. In a way there is a new beginning, a new Ruchi is also emerging.
The external identity shift was easier, as I could visually see and understand how my sense of style was evolving. But the internal shift was a something that needed to be worked through.
Being in the Flow
Up until Ruvir was 3 months old, I had an unpredictable daily schedule not knowing when I would be preoccupied with him. I felt it was almost impossible to meditate and connect with my higher self. Prior to his birth, I meditated daily. Since his birth, I would not know what to prioritize on while he napped. Do I put it all aside and take a nap with him? I was not happy either way.
I missed being centered, highly intuitive and so connected with my own self. I tried a few times to mediate but somehow I would end up dozing off until Ruvir would be up and screaming. Right around the time he was 3 months old, I realized I was not in the flow.
Instead, I was trying so hard to control everything, because I knew deep down I could not control anything. I was so disconnected from myself from being in the present.
Initially, I started with only 10 minutes of dedicating time in the day to meditate. As he got older, his night feedings decreased and by 4 months old he was sleeping through the night. I was finally able to feel well rested but also able to squeeze in time for yoga and meditation early morning around 5am. Sometimes he would be up earlier than I hoped. Though, on most days I did have some time to myself.
Consider a daily meditation practice when you are have anxiety and fears of all the unknowns the future holds. Meditation not only helps with anxiety but often in I get answers in my meditations. My higher self speaks to me. It may be only 10 minutes a day or an hour long. You can do guided visualizations to create your reality or focus on the breath to calm your nervous system and mind with deep breaths in for 10 seconds and exhaling for 10 seconds with the mouth and eyes closed.
Ayurvedic Perspective on Life Transitions
During times when there are shifts, transitions, or movement there is a chance for Vata Dosha to get imbalanced. Postpartum is a time of vata imbalance, which is why in Ayurveda there is so much care given to a new mother by her family and friends. The goal is to ground and stabilize her mentally and emotionally. It is so crucial for a new mom to be on a vata pacifying diet and lifestyle for upto a few months after birth depending on how she feels.