What the Tectonic Shifts in Motherhood can Teach us About Personal Growth
Let’s get under the surface today, shall we?
It’s no secret that the transition to motherhood brings with it a massive influx of changes. Our bodies expand and contract in mind-blowing ways. Hours once spent hosting cocktail parties and backcountry camping are now spent making nursery rhyme playlists, researching stroller accessories, and changing diaper after diaper.
shifts in mindsets, beliefs, and values; all rumbling beneath the surface like tectonic plates giving rise to mountain-sized changes in behavior and appearance . . .
These physical shifts are most obvious and most talked about — BUT some of the biggest changes can’t be captured by a video camera. I’m talking about the shifts in mindsets, beliefs, and values; all rumbling beneath the surface like tectonic plates giving rise to the mountain-sized changes in behavior and appearance we more readily observe, fret over, and connect through.
Let me give an example. For most of my entire adult life, I had a habit of filling my weekends with activities. Workout classes, meals with friends, farmer’s market trips, outdoor adventures, spiritual retreats, even planning my Netflix binges. I often had every weekend for 3 months in the future mapped out, with multiple activities per day. Let’s call this habit “scheduling my weekends” (I’m choosing to be matter-of-fact and kind to myself, when other word choices like “total insanity” also come to mind).
This habit was so deeply rooted that it was synonymous with my identity, my way of being, my sense of worth: Lauren’s a go-getter. An explorer. She has a voracious appetite for life. etc.
Fast forward to early pregnancy, and suddenly, I didn’t have the interest or ability to do much of anything — at all. And I certainly didn’t want to schedule my weekends months in advance. A less physically nimble body, hormone-induced exhaustion and nausea, and greater attunement to my femininity all invited me into a more inward place that simply was not available previously. So, I made other choices. To my thrill and delight, I ENJOYED naps. I ENJOYED time to myself. I experienced rest and stillness not as the ABSENCE of fullness, but as the PRESENCE of spaciousness.
The details of how I spent my weekends may seem innocuous and inconsequential. BUT let me invite you to see the mechanics of these massive shifts in mindset and beliefs: Pregnancy helped me see that scheduling my weekends was, in fact, an active CHOICE — and created space for more choices, more ways of being to enter.
When we experience life as a series of choices, and when we can make choices from a place of our sovereign conscious intuition, we can align more closely with our capacity for joy and purpose.
How would it feel to be spontaneous? To spend a day on a date with myself, rather than with others? What beliefs and values does scheduling my weekends hold? Can I soften my grip on them? What other habits and patterns am I unconscious of, and what other choices are available to me if I can broaden the aperture of my awareness?
Let me pause here and clarify, this is not to say scheduling my weekends is BAD, and being spontaneous is GOOD: NO. This IS to say, when we experience life as a series of choices, and when we can make choices from a place of our sovereign conscious intuition, we can align more closely with our capacity for joy and purpose.
For many of us, myself included, personal growth is less about the specific behavior and actions, and more about cultivating an attunement with what we need, and making choices from a place of self-love.
It’s no secret that the transition to motherhood brings with it a massive influx of changes. Our bodies expand and contract in mind-blowing ways. Hours once spent hosting cocktail parties and backcountry camping are now spent making nursery rhyme playlists , researching stroller accessories, and changing diaper after diaper. mind or an external observer.
This mindset - one of curiosity, spaciousness, and choice - for many of us, is a new way of being human. And let me tell you, it feels f*ing awesome.
Significant life events, such as becoming a mother, are seeds of change for personal growth. But, these seeds cannot root and sprout without fertile soil – soil that is nourished by consistent inner work, grounded in intimacy with our Whole Selves.
At the same time, let’s not mislead ourselves to thinking that life events like pregnancy or peak spiritual retreats alone can instigate these profound mindset and behavior shifts. More accurately: significant life events, such as becoming a mother, are seeds of change for personal growth. But, these seeds cannot root and sprout without fertile soil – soil that is nourished by consistent inner work, grounded in intimacy with our Whole Selves.
I understand the temptation to skip the soil-preparation steps; for many, it can seem much sexier and more enticing to go on a spiritual retreat and hope “everything will be different.” I’ll be the first to share, I have had that belief and I have acted from that belief. And so I know form my own experience, in absence of the fertile ground, significant life events never grow into the changes we seek — or possibly, can cause us to cling HARDER to old patterns, make us feel trapped, and less readily able to evolve.
Relating this to my example, I battled emotional and physical burnout for years prior to pregnancy. I had been working to cultivate balance through therapy, my spiritual path, mindfulness practices, etc.
The soil was being prepared to receive a seed of change. For me, pregnancy was the seed that allowed my appreciation for stillness to sprout into my being. Halle-fucking-lujah!!!
So, while I’m providing an example about mindset shifts in motherhood, this is really not about motherhood at all: this is about how life presents opportunities for mindset shifts, changes in behavior, and ultimately personal growth. Sure, spiritual retreats and psychotherapy present these opportunities, but so does the very human stuff that is happening all around us, all the time: Navigating a pandemic. Becoming a parent. Downsizing a business. Grieving the loss of a loved one. Being with dis-ease and illness. These are all seeds for personal growth.
Here’s to wishing you that we may all see the tectonic shifts beneath the surface, in addition to the mountains of behavior. That we may cultivate the soil for personal growth, and see all the wild and beautiful happenings in our lives as seeds for personal growth.
From my heart to yours,
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