Updated: Sep 24, 2022
I’ve been going dancing on Sunday mornings to Movement Mass (one of Boulder’s ecstatic dance jams) with Anaiyana since she was about 3 months old. Ear muffs on and popped into her baby carrier, I move with her close to my body. Often there are friends there every week who she has begun to recognize and happily let’s them hold her while I dance, as well as my beloved who also eagerly carries her so I can get some baby-free dance on.
On New Year’s Day we went to the dance and she and I were there without any deep familiars, just faces who I dance with regularly but who haven’t built a connection with Anaiya yet.
As I contentedly moved with her on the ground and standing, a couple of people came up to me offering to hold her while I danced solo. My practice with my baby is that I don’t just hand her to someone but wait to see what her desire is. I notice if she is curious about them and if she reaches for them. If she does then I hand her over. I’ve done this consistently with her from pretty early on, with the intention for her to feel held and loved by more than just her mama, in a way that honors her needs and desires. She’s leading this exploration and I’m responding to what her energy is saying.
"She’s leading this exploration and I’m responding to what her energy is saying."
So on this day as unfamiliars came to hold her I witnessed her reach for them over and over again. She was absolutely content with being held by people she didn’t know. Why? I believe because we have established and continue to establish healthy secure attachment. First to me, her primary caregiver and her total world in the beginning of her life. Our connection stabilizes her, knowing that I am safe and responsive to her needs (imprinting her world in this way). And then, as her world begins to expand beyond just mama and being on my body, but to other people who are consistent in her life, this continues to reinforce that her world is safe and trusting. Incremental growth that is responsive to her natural development.
The level of satisfaction that coursed through my system as I watched her happily be held by people she didn’t know brought tears to my eyes. Recognizing that her deep roots of established dependence are providing her with the capacity and strength for expansive branches of independence. Again, following the natural timing. Not forcing her to connect with anyone she’s not wanting to.
As we’re in her 38th week this matches the time she grew inside of me. As I danced that day, independently, I felt my body in a new way. The way it felt before being pregnant full of energy, expression and deeply cultivated somatic intelligence, but also including the transformation it has gone through in becoming a mother. In creating life inside of me and passing through the birth portal.
As I witnessed her contentment of being held by people she didn’t know, I felt the tears of joy and satisfaction well up in my eyes and an acknowledgement of the shift out of our postpartum period. Yes, she is still very much a baby who primarily relies on me for her needs, and I love that she is. And, she is naturally expanding her world into greater explorations and connections which she will do throughout her whole life. I’m not inhibiting that, but following her natural timing and encouraging this innate intelligence unfolding.
As I moved my body, I felt the feeling of healthy integration into community. I felt the cellular memory of babies inside of tribes and their inherent connection to being cared for by more than just one mama.
"She is naturally expanding her world into greater explorations and connections which she will do throughout her whole life. I’m not inhibiting that, but following her natural timing and encouraging this innate intelligence unfolding."
I feel the reconfiguration of my body allowing for a few more notches of autonomy between us. The tether extending as her explorations expand. I felt the space in my womb resting back inside of my system and my rhythms rediscovering my body anew. Feeling a new strength inside of me, as I feel the softness on my belly and hips. Honoring and celebrating the massive journey my whole being has gone through, still evident physically in my soft round belly. Proud of this extra flesh around my waist. A badge of honor and a rite of passage. As I danced, I felt a fullness inside of my womb, not full with a baby growing, but full of the wisdom that has imprinted into this place of power and creativity. I feel room for the creativity that wants to keep emerging from this deep core in me. And, I felt relaxation in my system knowing this particular phase of postpartum is completing, while simultaneously recognizing on a certain level I’m in postpartum for the rest of my life! I continuously bow down in honor of this precious being choosing me to shepard her well being and thriving into this extraordinary human life.
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