Life After Baby is a series to celebrate the journey of motherhood. To take an inside peak into the most memorable and vulnerable experiences we all share as mothers.
It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know our final Life After Baby guest for 2016 Rebecca Ryan, author of Mindfulness for Mothers. Another insta biz mum, we instantly connected through our love of yoga, meditation and all things mindfulness. Since we met almost a year ago, Beck has written and published her first book Mindfulness for Mothers which we believe is an essential item for every new mum. We are very excited to bring you this interview where Beck shares some of her most memorable and vulnerable experiences as a mother. Trust us when we say this interview will have you resonating on another level. Dive in below.
Sum up in one sentence what it means to you to be a Mum
Joy amidst chaos!
If you had to pick one, what’s been your most memorable experience as a Mum?
The birth of my first child is my most memorable experience as a mum. She has just turned 12 so I have been thinking about her birth recently. I feel sometimes like my whole life pivoted on that day and changed direction. For the better I should add!
Share with us your most vulnerable mama moment
My most vulnerable moment as a mum was when I lost my sister-in-law to suicide almost 5 years ago now. She was only 36 years old. We’d been friends for 18 years. We were married to brothers who are very close and even look quite a like. We were both yoga teachers. She used to help me out with the kids by picking my daughter up from school regularly. She doted on my daughter and they had a beautiful bond. We were close and I had assumed we’d be in each others lives until we were old ladies sitting on the verandah. Her death hit me hard. Telling my then 7 year old daughter that her aunt had died was one of the hardest things I have done as a mum. There is no easy way to talk to children about suicide but I believe I did the best I could at the time.
My urge to care for and protect my children, aged 20 months and a seven years at the time, was strong. I tried so hard to hold it all together. I relied heavily on my yoga and meditation practice and even did a 40 day yoga challenge as part of my self care. That took lots of organising as I needed to plan babysitting and school pick ups around the yoga classes and course meetings. As any mum knows, you just don’t pick up your yoga mat and run out the door once you have kids.
About five months after my sister-in-law died I was driving my daughter home from school and she said something that struck me. ‘You don’t sound like yourself.’ I knew what she meant. Our whole family was hurting. We’d lost someone we loved. However, the daily demands of family life were so time and energy consuming it was hard to grieve. Without time and space to grieve my pain had seeped into my daily life and it was clear to my child that I was not fully present.
My yoga, meditation and support from family and friends had all helped but I needed more. I talked to a friend about seeing a grief counsellor and she thought it was a good idea. She said ‘sometimes you need to tell somebody just how it hurts for you.’ I knew what she meant and that is what I did. I went to five sessions over two months and got a chance to talk and unpack my own grief and pain and get support and resources to help me heal and live my life fully.
Grief is different for everyone and helping children as they grieve can be challenging. I’m really pleased that I got professional help when I was so vulnerable.
What’s one thing you have learnt about yourself you didn’t know before becoming a mama?
I’m more patient than I realised.
What does living in flow mean to you?
Living in flow to me means that I realise my life is beautiful, just as it is. I offer little resistance to what is and try to remain curious and open to wonder.
Finish this sentence
I secretly wish I could…be invisible. That’s my super power of choice.
I combat self doubt and overwhelm by…looking at what I have already achieved and remembering that seemed almost possible at one point.
I’m most inspired by…other mums.
My current affirmation/mantra is…Waking up this morning I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours lie before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and look on all beings (including myself) with eyes of compassion.’ Thich Nhat Hanh
My yoga practice is…daily meditation and gentle asana (postures) that is breath led. The breath starts and then the movement. The movement finishes and then the breath.
What’s your one parting piece of guidance for the mama tribe?
Be kind to yourself everyday.
Rebecca Ryan is the author of ‘Mindfulness for Mothers’ and a mother of two. She is also the founder and principal yoga and meditation teacher at Surrender Yoga and Meditation, providing prenatal, postnatal and mums & bubs yoga since 2007. Rebecca enjoys sharing her passion for meditation with other mothers, whether long-term meditators or newbies, and encourages her students to allow mindfulness to seep into their daily lives. She lives in Melbourne with her family.
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