Something happened to me during my last pregnancy that I can only describe using words such as “profound” and “miraculous,” maybe even “transcendent.” The entire experience, pregnancy through labor, pushed my faith and understanding of God in ways that I didn’t know were possible. Through all the drama and stress, I felted sheltered and protected, and I couldn’t make sense of it. The only explanation I have for it is that I somehow flipped an internal switch, handed over all my fears to God, and opened myself up to receive a peace I never knew was possible.
I never would have been able to labor and deliver my daughter without drugs had I not been in such a deep state of acceptance, of just allowing my body to do the work, of not letting fear and panic take over.
Is peace even possible in motherhood?
Today, I find it was so much easier to enter that state of peace at that point in my life because of the immediately threat to my body. It was as if I knew I had no other choice except to let go and let God, as they say. I mean, hello? Pushing a human being out of your who-ha is scary!
As moms operating in a world surrounded by the kind of chaos only kids can bring, when we aren’t in the throes of labor or feel immediately threatened, but instead are on our knees begging for help, how can we bring back that state of peace into our daily lives?
Ladies, you can because I have (even if only in short bursts of time). There is hope. Peace is possible, but I’ll explain how in a few minutes. I first need to clear up a few things.
What does spirituality really mean?
As I’ve come to understand it, the practice of spirituality isn’t just going to church on Sundays and praying daily, although that’s a great start. Spirituality is a deep desire to connect more deeply with God and with our true selves. It’s the practice of not just monitoring your thoughts to think more positively, but it’s acknowledging how our mind purposely speaks down of ourselves (our inner critic). Through this deeper understanding, as moms, we can rise above the criticism and not only feel better about our parenting capabilities, but begin to love ourselves the same way God has always loved us.
As mothers, there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t second guess, doubt or beat ourselves up over decisions. This daily grind isn’t any different than labor pain, yet we don’t recognize it as an immediate threat. Our psychological and mental well-being are being threatened each time we make a judgement toward our mothering capabilities, and it’s time for us to recognize that it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s possible to mother in a more peaceful, relaxing, and loving state.
Just like you, I’m growing on this journey, too.
Am I perfect at parenting and being a peaceful mother? Hell no! I still yell and get upset at my kids just like most mothers. However, my perspective on life and love for myself has changed so much since I’ve learned to surrender to God. I’m a much less stressed mother today than when I brought my first-born home. Because of the path I’ve taken to deepen my understanding of my spirituality, I am where I am today on this mothering journey.
Here are just a few ways in which deepening my spirituality has made a peaceful impact on my life as a mother:
1. It keeps me focused on the current moment.
Babies grow up so fast and you can easily miss the moments by not being fully present (with your whole being) for them. Through spiritual practices such as meditation, I’ve been better able to focus only on the moment in front of me, in front of them. I’m like you and I’ve been guilty of answering my kids and not actually listen to them, of being in the same room with them but not paying attention. Now that I’m more tuned in, the moments feel richer. I’m fully present with them and I even smile and laugh with them more.
2. It pushes me to think more positively, less negatively.
Understanding that negative thoughts can turn into manifestations you don’t want, I’ve been very mindful to steer my children (and myself) away from negative thinking. When we have conversations, I do my best to make sure we speak positively (saying what we want to happen versus saying what we don’t want to happen). My children have been taught not to tell me about all the bad things that happened at school (unless it directly affected them). Especially since I have anxious children, we seek to discuss the great news over the bad. In this way, we aren’t ignoring our feelings. We are simply practicing seeking the goodness of life. This helps all of us to more easily find things to be grateful for when life disappoints.
3. Spirituality gives me a deeper faith that everything will work out.
While belonging to a religious group has undoubtedly brought me a deep peace and comfort that God will always provide, participating in other spirituality practices has better helped me connect to God and feel His love work in my life and the lives of my kids. He is in all of us. When I let go of my fears and other negative emotions, I love deeper, and have more love to share with my kids. If you can maintain that state of love, life flows so much smoother, as though you’ve left the doorway open for God to come through and work things out for you. Practices such as mindfulness, yoga and meditation help keep that doorway open for God to make positive changes in your life, starting with showing you that He’ll always provide and send you down the right path.
4. It forces me to quiet my mind and better ignore my ego.
As a mom, there are so many things to think about that it can block creative thinking, the exact thing you need to solve problems. Mindfulness is the practice of clearing your thoughts. It’s sort of a way to shut your brain up when it tries to tell you that you’ve failed as a parent. The more often I tell my ego to stop, the easier it has become for me to have confidence in my abilities as a mother. (Oh, and you’ll know if it’s your ego talking because it will be negative.) I find that the less distracted I am by mind chit-chat the easier it is for me to find the words to write blog posts, easier for the ideas to come to me. That’s not coincidence. Quieting my mind allows inspiration from God to reach me, inspiration I can use to not only write, but to come up with creative solutions to problems that come up in my home. With three kids, there is never a problem-free moment, so I’ll gladly take all the help I can get.
Without a doubt, spirituality and motherhood are deeply intertwined in my life. I cannot separate the two. Ideally, I’d spend time every day doing some yoga, meditation, and reading, but life as a mom doesn’t always allow it, and that’s okay. As long as I remain focused and remember that I want a deeper connection with God, I will always find my way back to Him.
Three kids into this parenting thing and I’ve come to recognize the internal signs of disconnect: irritation, anger, anxiety, depression, stress. To make sure I don’t stray too far away from God’s love, I pay special attention to how I’m feeling (both emotionally and physically), and how I’m reacting to life. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned in this journey so far, it is this: Without His love, I cannot be the best version of myself, nor the best mom version for my kids.
Since God wants the best, so do I. I press on and seek to love more every day, for my kids and for me.
How has your spirituality peacefully impacted your mothering journey?