Reintegrating My Self Post Pregnancy & Birth

This is me.

Becoming a mom is a wild ride. A woman enters pregnancy as one version of herself, and comes through birth transformed into a new version of this self. And she is entrusted with the intimate caretaking of a tiny being who is completely dependent on her for sustenance and safety. The process of childbearing is earthshaking. As mothers, we dive into nurturing and nourishing our babies and children. We catapult off the cliff of Maiden, landing in the realm of Motherhood. In a new land, we are a new Us.

Since birthing our first daughter three and a half years ago, I have often wondered, how the heck am I supposed to reintegrate myself? Am I even supposed to reintegrate at all? Here I’ll share a few of my defining moments in dancing with that question, and claiming my own path of motherhood.

I started getting magical massages

I LOVE body work. In recent times, I have been blessed my the sweet friendship of a massage therapist who practices craniosacral therapy, Mayan abdominal massage, & heart-centered energy work. She is also an herbalist, midwife, and mother of three beautiful grown children. My sessions with her infinitely add to my healing and integration. The massage and energy work soothes my body and my nerves, while her loving words of encouragement affirm my personal path of motherhood. I am a huge proponent of massage, and highly recommend it as part of your journey to loving your mama body and receiving nurturing. Mothers do so much nurturing; we need nurturing, too!

I went back to dance class

If I had to pick one defining moment, this would be it. Dance is my number one love. So coming back to dance class was huge for me. Dance feeds my soul and fills me up on all levels. It’s a sacred nutrient! I love to move my body, and to be able to freely move, as in without a nursing baby or climbing toddler attached. Dancing makes me feel radiant, which no doubt makes me a more awesome mom. And it feels so good to recommit to my deepest passion. I love knowing that following my dreams inspires my family to the same, and that I am offering myself as a solid example of devoted passion for my daughters. Really, what could be better?

I had a few drags from a cigarette

Okay. I’m a yoga teacher. I’m super into health. But once upon a time, I also smoked cigarettes. I stopped completely on the day I confirmed my pregnancy with our first daughter. Fast track four years down the road. I’m standing outside on a lovely Autumn day, having a fantastic, mind-expanding talk with a good friend. We’re watching the water flow through the creek under the bridge. Taking in the dusk. He’s smoking an American Spirit. And we’re talking about the very topic of this article – transformation into parenthood. I opt to take 3 (yes, I counted) drags from this cigarette. And somehow a ritual was complete. I seemed to seal some loop in the continuum of transformation. While I have NOT resumed this habit, and I am by no means suggesting you pick up a cigarette, I think that sometimes revisiting a piece of your past can facilitate integration.

I went back to work

Since birthing my babies, I have worked part time in super small chunks. Only recently have I embarked on a fuller force path into working away from home. Birthing and mothering my children has pushed me – in the best way possible – to do the most awesome work I can possibly do with all my heart, passion, and being. I give full-bodied presence and heart-centered attention to the work I do, offering myself as a birth & postpartum doula, teaching yoga in my community, and writing & editing for Mamashine. Was it the mighty universe-shaking power of labor & birth that brought me to this point? Or is it my intense devotion to wanting my daughters to grow up with and be mothered by the best darn version of me I can be? I think it is all of the above.

Becoming a mom requires a tremendous amount of heart strength, vulnerability, patience, endless surrender, and adaptability. I am definitely sold on the reality that if I can grow babies in my body, birth them, feed them with my body, and nurture them with all of me, then I can do pretty much anything. I hope all moms feel this way! No, I don’t feel this on-top-of-the-mountain all the time. But when I take a moment to reflect on what it is to be alive and what it is to be a mother, I know that my courage, bravery, and devotion are real. And I recognize that I do indeed flow with the waves of life’s joys and challenges with abounding resilience, faith and passion.

Nena Complo
Nena Complo offers women and families holistic support throughout the childbearing years. She is a holistic birth & postpartum doula, yoga teacher, and midwifery student. Nena lives with her sweet husband and their two radiant daughters in LoveLand, Ohio.

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