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On Starting Over Again with Self-Kindness

DenaJuly 20, 2022

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During this first year of twin motherhood, my physical wellness has slipped away once again. Mentally and emotionally I’ve done remarkably well. I’ve been hit with obstacle after obstacle during these 12 months but I’ve handled it all with grace. I’ve remained present. I’ve enjoyed all of the milestones. I embraced those early newborn days that were terrible and exhausting and painful. I never rushed them. I never resented them. I cherished them, knowing how fleeting they were. I embraced all of the milestones that came next too.

When the twins were nearing 7-months-old and I faced a significant financial and legal challenge that required me to return to work full-time and put the babies in daycare, I met the ordeal head on. After 9 years of work-from-home motherhood, I applied for jobs and I found the perfect one. When the babies got incredibly sick for 3 straight months due to daycare germs, I managed it. I managed the illnesses, the endless pediatrician visits, and the completely sleepless nights. When my husband was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and went into the hospital, I continued to manage all of the above, plus caring for our 6 children alone for a week. In the months that followed, when he began his dialysis treatments, 3 times a week for 4 hours each session, I picked up the slack. Then, when I was suddenly laid off from my job after just 3.5 months, I handled that too. I switched gears and I made it work.

Through all of this, over the last 12 months, I kept my calm. I remained level-headed and while I had a few moments of panic—how on earth will I get through this—I generally stayed pretty damned strong and collected. I would say that a lifetime of working on my emotional health, healing my personal traumas, and actively daily overcoming the pull of anxiety and depression, all of these things prepared me well for the year that it’s been. Through it, not only did I survive, but I believe I truly flourished. I found new depths to my strength and wisdom.

While my emotional and mental health stayed solid, the one thing that did slip during this time was my physical wellness. In the areas of movement and nutrition, I fell off. I was so incredibly healthy throughout my entire pregnancy that I gained just over 30 pounds and lost it quickly after the twins were born. I stayed active through the pregnancy and I ate very well. These things contributed to an incredibly healthy state throughout, all of my tests always came back top-notch and I felt great up until the very end when food-poisoning sent me into preterm labor and required me to go on bed-rest for the final 8 weeks. But even that did not deter me from staying as active as I could, still doing light stretches even in the hospital.

However, after the babies were born things began to change. I faced the normal postpartum challenges along with some additional ones as a result of my cesarean section. I slowly began to lose the reigns on my phsyical health. I didn’t make time for mindful movement. I relaxed my eating habits into what was most convenient rather than what was best for me. Then life kept coming at me in the many ways that I described above and the decline continued. Now, here I am 8 days away from the twin’s first birthday and I am feeling all of it—in the worst shape that I’ve been in in about 6 years. It doesn’t feel good, but my goodness, do I give myself grace for it! I am not hard on myself, not for one moment! I did what I had to do to survive this year and that was enough. Hard stop.

These days, while many areas of my life are still brutally difficult, the twins are actually getting a lot easier. They still have their days and nights, but they are sleeping better and they are more independent. I am ready to start over again and align my physical health with my mental and emotional health. This afternoon during my break from work, I pulled out my yoga mat for the first time in a long time and had a beautiful practice on my bedroom floor. Every couple of minutes, however, a vicious voice crept into my mind to shout nasty things at me, like, “Why are you even bothering? You’re too far gone.” “Your practice is atrocious. You’ve lost it. Just give it up.” “Feel that pain? This pose used to be so easy for you. What a mess you’ve let yourself become.” “You will never get back what you once had, just leave it behind you.” And so on…

This voice used to deter me, but do you know what? Today I meet it with kindness and resolve. One of the most powerful acts of love that I have given myself is learning to speak to myself the way that I speak to those whom I love. For example, when my children or my husband or my close friends express thoughts of insecurity or self-loathing like the ones I’ve just shared above, about my yoga practice, I speak back to them with deep kindness and show them how silly such thoughts are. I tell them how they are strong and capable and wonderful. And when those ugly thoughts creep into my own mind now, I treat them the same way. I welcome them, listen to them, allow them to take up their space, and then I let them go and replace them with truth. Why, yes, my yoga practice is quite rusty right now. How wonderful that I am still here in spite of that. How glorious it will be when I begin to get my strength back and feel my body changing. How empowering it is to start all over again!

I answer every irrational, negative thought with a rational, positive one—and this is how I do it. This is how I start all over again with kindness.

On another note, I recently released a free healing guide on nutrition and movement. Six years ago, when I began my physical and emotional healing journey, I absolutely transformed my health and wellness. In terms of physical health, the primary drivers of change are nutrition and movement. Through an incredible amount of personal experience and research I created a path to healing these areas, which also happens to heal overall wellness. I have been wanting to put all of this knowledge into a cohesive guide for quite some time. Since I am just now getting myself back on the path, I thought it would be a perfect time to do so. Thus, you can download this Nutrition & Movement Healing Guide for free. I truly believe that the content is priceless, but I am releasing it for free because, more than anything else, I want this information to help others the way that it has helped me.

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