Recently in our home we’ve been swapping bedrooms, a relatively small and simple task I naively thought! Even though all children were in agreement and excited, as we started undoing the neat lines of teddies, packing up books, clothes, Lego and colouring books, the rooms started to lose that feel of ‘home’ and the children felt this.
Rather than excitement, they began feeling anxious and upset, crying over what was their once tidy, familiar, comforting space…I was not prepared for this at all and just wanted to get the rooms swapped over and get on with the day. But it wasn’t to be.
I quickly realised the importance of slowing down and not only focussing on sorting the stuff and re-arranging the rooms; what was going on here was an emotional process of grieving for the kids, as simple as it was, a change of bedroom, for them it had been their place of familiarity and security for years of their childhood.
So we slowed down, and explored what they were feeling…angry, upset, regretful and not wanting to move. Feeling they had made a mistake and didn’t want the change after all, that the new rooms wouldn’t be as good, as nice, as comfy and have that same homely feeling.
Bless them! They were expressing their emotions and I tried my best to hold the space for them, to hear them, to go with the tears and dramas and explore their feelings.
And they were putting into words the feelings many of us experience when we are faced with letting go of something familiar. We want to hold on, we are sad and regretful, we can feel lost and unsure as we step into the unknown, for the new place we are moving into to is a little further ahead in the future… it is not fully formed yet….it remains in the unknown.
Yet this is the process of change.
And without this, we may stay where we are, not growing, evolving and unfolding beyond our comfort zones, not becoming more of who we have the potential to become.
I realised the significance of this day and chose to slow everything down and talk to them about change, not only of this day of moving bedrooms, but in the wider context. It reminded me of previous changes we had experienced and the different ways we can talk to our children about change, as I’ve been writing about here.
Mothering as Metamorphosis
Such focus on change resonates with the themes of my forthcoming book Milestones of Motherhood. Here I explore how mothering is a journey of transformation for us as women as we learn, and sometimes struggle with, how to love and nurture our children. As mothers we have some letting go to do; of our previous ways of life, ways of thinking, working, our lifestyle and identity; changes must unfold through our thoughts, our bodies, our relationships, hormones and emotions. And as much as this can be amazing and joyful, at times it can also feel bleak and disconcerting; we are letting go of the familiar, the steady and the known, and moving instead into a new place.
We are letting go of our old selves, and slowly learning to become mothers, yet this process takes time, and is not linear….we ebb and flow backwards and forwards in our competence and confidence, often feeling alone, at sea, unsure and unconfident. Lost where we are right now, carrying on outwardly but feeling wobbly within.
For like my children in their bedroom swap, we are not there yet, the boxes all need unpacking from our previous ways of being, sorting and placing in a new order, yet we are not quite sure what this new order will look like yet….
And this is okay.
Change takes time. It is messy. We can feel lost and vulnerable before we put ourselves together in a new way.
And we will get there, day by day, becoming more of our Mother Selves, some days we will feel happy and confident, and other days not so.
Recognise change as what it is…being out of your comfort zone and learning new ways of being, nurturing and loving.
Recognise you are learning and this is okay.
Be kind and gentle to yourself and hold yourself in the same fierce, unconditional love with which you hold your babies.
My Pregnancy Yoga and Birth Preparation classes explore how we can support ourselves through pregnancy and labour with yoga as well as exploring our inner journeys of transformation as mothers.