Being pregnant and having my little girl all by myself taught me a lot of good things. The biggest of them is to remain positive no matter what.
“Pay attention only to what’s good and beautiful in life”.
This was taught by a Japanese friend. He told me that in Japan, back in the day, when the emperor wife was pregnant, she was taken to a beautiful palace, where she would be surrounded by beautiful flowers and the best healthy food and kept safe from bad news. The following video explains this attitude very clearly:
The Japanese believe that what the mother feels, the baby feels too, so they are actually taking care of the baby. Making sure the baby only has good feelings.
When I heard this story it made all the sense to what I already felt like it could be happening (the baby felling all that I felt). So I avoided anything that would make me feel sad, angry, frustrated or anything negative.
That meant that I would switch from bad thought to good thought when I needed. If I ever felt lonely or miserable for being on my own, I would recognize the feeling and then look for a distraction.
Like the empress, I would shelter myself from bad news and feelings, and look at the flowers in the street and pay attention to what’s beautiful around me. But now I’m an older mother, I have to confess that I then never read any book about war, violence, people in the world with thin chances in life.
I never watched any movie with violent scenes or with sad stories. I never watched the news and stupid shows on TV (I had quit watching TV way before being pregnant anyways, but now I would avoid it even at other people’s houses).
Never dwell on what’s bad, never lose time complaining
After my girl was born, I simply kept that way of life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a small baby’s needs. The lack of sleep, of available time for personal things and being constantly concerned about someone else’s welfare can drive the most zen person to a breakdown. But not this person writing to you as I believe I understand the importance of putting my baby and myself to sleep lovingly.
This time, when I felt too exhausted and too demanded, I would simply think about how transitory this all was. How in a few months everything would be easier and I would be more rested. After one of those nights when I would breastfeed every hour, I would tell myself (shout at myself): “Don’t worry, this craziness period will pass. The baby will sleep through the night in no time”.
It really helps to put this crazy period of time into perspective. I knew the baby would breastfeed at night whenever she felt like for a number of months. I could guess something around five months. Whats five months in, let’s say, three years? How fast do five months go by? When your kid is walking (by the age of one), you will barely remember those nights.
Forgetting this crazy period is probably what makes possible for parent’s go for another child after all (and of course, unexpected pregnancies…) but keeping consistent with discipline can be pretty hard at times…
I still keep the Japanese wisdom in the back of my mind. I believe that through breastfeeding and through being so close to the mother, the baby still feels a lot of what the mom´s feel (except for the tiredness, because of my goodness, they can surely rest!). Once again, there is no time to be spent on negative feelings.
One might think that rejecting the bad feelings have something fake within this, like avoiding something real and still keeping the bad feeling hidden somewhere inside, some sort of escapism. That’s not it at all.
It’s not about pretending that bad a feeling never arouse. It’s about switching them when necessary. It’s about being alert and conscious. It’s about taking control of yourself. It’s about deciding on what’s important to spend time with. It’s about taking action towards feeling good and making happiness happen to you.
My little girl is four year’s old now and I still use this mindset to help me go through everything. I simply learned that you are responsible for your own feelings. All you have to do is recognize them and act on keeping them or changing them.
You are responsible to keep an environment around you that will help your feelings grow. If you are paying attention to sad stories, if you are too available to them, you are likely to feel sad. If you pay attention to good and beautiful things, you are likely to feel good. It’s as simple as this.