Mindfulness…..It’s the word of the century isn’t it? I had bought all of the mindfulness colouring books, shared all the inspirational quotes and positive sayings and thought I was a real pro at this mindfulness thing. How wrong was I?
It was early 2015, I had 1 year old and life was just not going the way I expected it to be as parent of a second child. My baby boy would scream and cry for hours on end. I wasn’t coping. I’d lock myself in my bedroom and cry while I left him to scream in his cot. I had a five year old son so I thought I knew what I was doing, but this child was questioning and challenging every parenting skill I’d ever used. I’d go to the supermarket and he’d scream, while other mothers stared at me like I’d just stabbed him. One woman even walked past shaking her head at me for the fact my son was screaming. I’d never felt the guilt, struggle or emotions that came over me during this time. I struggled through 2015 with friends telling me “he will grow out of it, all kids do that” but I knew it was something more. A mothers instinct was something real, and I just had to trust my gut. But what was my gut telling me? I tried to connect with him, sit and play on the floor and he would just hit, bite, scream, pinch and sometimes throw things at me. Who knew an 18 month old child could throw a step ladder.
I not only struggled to parent this child but I struggled with keeping my life and emotions together every single day. I was the woman that everyone thought had their life together, that was in control and was always positive and sociable. Though behind the perfect world of social media and the façade I’d perfected there was a woman screaming out for help. I couldn’t even bring myself to accept I needed help. A pediatrician told me I needed to see someone but I was insulted. “I don’t need help”. But it was at the point of locking myself in my closet, with the bedroom door locked, laying in the fetal position I realized I needed help. I didn’t know what help that might be, but I needed to put my hand up and seek professional help.
Though behind the perfect world of social media and the façade I’d perfected there was a woman screaming out for help.
Queue Psychologist, Jessica. She has been amazing. And just listens without judgement. Jessica suggested to me “a mindfulness approach” to which I agreed. To be honest I thought I knew what it was until I started to read in more detail about it. I’d collect notes, I’d meditate and go walking and my cloudy thoughts started to clear. I started to reframe my language with my kids and they responded. I was able to consciously think (at a chaotic or crisis time) to take a step back, take a deep breathe and think about a calm response and in turn I found my body language and presence was calmer. Every morning before getting out of bed I’d lay and say my affirmations aloud to tap my conscious mind and reassure myself that everything was going to be ok. I practiced self love and ensured I started taking time out for me. And not just a half an hour coffee break. I took time to get a massage or have a reflexology session which calmed my nerves.
And after three slow months I started to feel better within myself. I noticed I wasn’t tired anymore (a sign of depression), I was no longer reacting negatively to every situation and the tears slowly started to ease. Mindfulness colouring became my daily ritual and meditation (as well as some traditional meditation) and I really felt my mental state improve. I was able to go out in public again. I was able to play on the floor with my kids instead of just sitting their while Master 2 screamed and kicked me. I was able to parent him a whole different way.
I changed to a Gluten FREE diet for both myself and Master 2 and its made a noticeable change to our behaviors as well. The research shows that food can affect and impact on the mind and I truly believe this, especially seeing the difference its made to our family. Its been a wellness journey for the last 18 months for us and one that I’m glad I’ve taken because I’ve learnt so much about myself, my son, and everything that’s going on in our small lives.
So two years on, I’m finding joy in the small things, have a great wins with my little man but I’m not afraid to say “I needed help and I got it”. We’ve seen all the doctors, and still do. This funny, charismatic and high energy child is bringing me joy but has taught me so many lessons inlife its invaluable. He’s making progress and taking small steps in the right direction and to be honest I don’t care if he ends up with a title because he will shine in our world forever into the future. But….its what mindfulness did to assist us to understand this that makes all the difference and the fact that I took the steps to ask for help when I did. Mindfulness saved me.
Mindfulness isn’t just a flashy, trendy word. It’s a way of life and one that’s played a major role within mine and improving my headspace, my clarity and how I choose to see life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s allowed me to be present, its taught me that there are so many aspects to mindfulness that can suit anyone and their lifestyle….you just have to pick the ones that you can implement and/or enjoy. Understand that not every day is a good day, but know that its how we get clear, are self aware and nurture our souls through it that gets us to a brighter place.
I’m truly blessed that I found mindfulness because it saved me, my relationships, my family and my life.