It’s been quite some time since I last posted a blog piece. Over the past year I took a step back to prepare for the newest little man to arrive in my life and have taken the time since his birth to settle into life with a new baby. As gorgeous as the little fellow is (see pic above), it has still been very challenging and at times I’ve struggled to get my head around this new reality. Even when you’ve done this baby gig before, it’s still a shock to the system. The hormones, the emotions, sleep deprivation, change in family dynamics and relationships, lack of time for self etc all combine to make you feel like you’ve been through a tumble dryer!
While this experience of bringing a baby into the world was very different to the first time I did it nearly 8 years ago, I still found myself experiencing similar feelings of anxiety and I struggled to accept what life looked and felt like (especially in the first few weeks and months). I felt quite frustrated about how challenging I was finding having a newborn again and I often felt like I was failing; failing myself, my baby, my partner and my other son. I had hoped to fare better this time around but yet again, I was being pushed to my limits.
It can be very easy to feel bogged down and stuck when we are being challenged or when things aren’t turning out like we had hoped. It can seem as though the same challenges and lessons keep coming around and around again in life and we can’t seem to make sense of it. We can’t understand why, yet again, the relationship or job or whatever the ‘it’ may be, isn’t working out and it can be very difficult to see a different or more positive perspective.
There are two things that have really helped me to get through such times. The first has been to read or hear about other people’s stories where they have faced the same or a similar situation and made it through (which is why I write about and share my struggles with others). The second has been to find some way to reframe the struggle or perceived failure. A way to make sense of the darkness until the light dawns, as it always does in one way or another.
One of the reframes that has been of particular help to me lately is one put forward by Marianne Williamson. She reminds us that there cannot be any light without there first being darkness and she believes that our ‘failures’ are actually fuel for ‘getting it right’. The analogy that she uses to explain this is that of a broken bone. When a bone breaks, the place where it comes back together is actually stronger than it was before it broke. So in this way, our breakdowns can make us stronger and we can flip our perceived failures or times of darkness from a weakness to something useful and positive.
Our failures or stumblings are a dress rehearsal and life will keep offering us up opportunities to get it right. If we fail to learn the lesson, the Universe will send it back to us again and again in varying situations so that we have the chance to get it right. We can see what didn’t work from our previous experience and now we know how to do things differently. As Marianne says, “The script is given back to you so that you can do an awesome re-write. You can decide to star in the places where before you allowed yourself to be a back up player”.
In my case, even though I felt like I was struggling, that nothing had changed since the last time and that I was failing at being a Mum to a newborn all over again, it was extremely useful to use Marianne’s re-frame. Once I did, I could absolutely see areas where I had made progress and had been able to turn my past darkness and lessons into positives the second time around. I may have fallen in some areas but I didn’t fall as far this time and I was quicker to get back up. In the areas where I still may not have ‘got it right’ I was able to have more compassion for myself this time around and to be more accepting of where I was at. I was able to ride out the darkness because my past lessons had taught me that the light will always come eventually (and it has).
So if you are currently facing a challenging situation or feel as though you are failing in some area of your life, see if you can welcome it as a gift. A gift that is bringing you a chance to reframe an experience from a failure to an opportunity to play a starring role. To get something right where you used to get it wrong. To re-write the script and play an awesome part. To ride out the darkness with a little more grace and to have faith that the light will come.