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What do you need to flourish?

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After I had Annabelle my life was (obviously) all about her.  I was in survival mode, just sleeping when I could, keeping the business going, trying to still be a good mother to Marshall and maybe having a conversation or two with Jonathan;). After a few months I started to crave getting out of survival mode and into thriving mode.

But I just couldn’t get there.  The days just spiraled by either feeling painfully slow, boring and hard or so fast I couldn’t grab onto anything.

Whenever I’m struggling to transition my life to another place and I just can’t seem to make the leap, I take some space.  I pumped my brains out, left Jonathan in charge and took off to one of my favorite spas for the day.

As I was sitting there looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge, I opened my journal and asked my inner wise self, what do I need to flourish?  I was unattached to the answer and had no idea what was going to come through.

My wise woman wrote about needing nature, movement, more dates, art, downtime and more massages.

Then I asked the critical question, “How do I make that happen?”.

Stop pumping, she wrote back to me.

I was surprised.  I felt pretty committed to giving Annabelle exclusively breastmilk for at least six months.  And although I didn’t like to pump, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.  But when I thought about it, in order to have the freedom I desired, I was pumping all the time, sometimes three times a day to keep up a supply so Annabelle could be bottle fed.  This was taking up almost an hour and a half of free time a day!  

It was one of those decisions that felt like breaking a promise and putting myself before my daughter.  It also felt like I should be able to make this simple thing work.  But I started to imagine what my life would look like without pumping and it felt gooooood.  In my fantasy I had time to move my body, time to sink into my relationship after the kids went to sleep, brain space freed up from no longer stressing out about if there’s enough breastmilk.  It was clear that this one change would make me a much happier woman and better mother overall.

It forced me to question my values as a parent, what kind of mother I want to be and gave my inner perfectionist a run for her money.  But I let it go, and everything shifted.  The level of ease and flexibility I felt not taking the time to pump and supplementing with formula was seriously life changing, and everyone noticed, especially Jonathan who was grateful to have Happy Sarah back.  

Now, the point of this is not to tell you how to take care of your baby, no no no no, every woman has the right to do whatever she wants.  My point is that there may be one simple thing in your life that is throwing everything else off balance.  And shifting that thing may be a small loss for a HUGE gain.  

Take some time today to consider what that is.  Maybe you want to take some space this weekend and do some journalling.  Just start with:

Dear Wise Self,

What do I need to flourish?

How can I make that happen?

You’ll probably be surprised by what she writes back.  

In the comments I’d love to know if you’ve had a similar experience?  And once you take time to do this I would love to know what that one thing is for you.

Sarah


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