· Not having to go out unnecessarily. The best plan is this: (i) Cut out thinking or planning to go anywhere at all. (ii If something important comes up, tell someone else to go. (iii) If something so important comes up that only you can go out to do it, refer to step (i).
· Having time alone with your baby - without other demands. It is important for mothers of 2 or more children to arrange time for just her and the baby to play, to sit, enjoy a nap together, have a bath together, sit for extended breastfeed-ing, or just to be. Ask your partner or a friend to look after the older children away from the house for a while, every now and then.
· Having private time with your partner. Many couples figure the only way to have this is to leave the baby with a sitter and to go out, or even to take the baby out with them. But I don't consider either option wise. Better to either plan that time according to the baby's normal sleeping routine or to snatch the moment spontaneously whenever you can.
· Having personal time and space away from the baby, everyone else, and the house. This extremely self indulgent occasion must also be enjoyed when the baby is asleep, so it requires placing someone else in charge of the whole place while you go elsewhere, NOT TO BE DISTURBED UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH!
· Some time for yoga sadhana. Given that you must find / make this time when your baby is asleep, you will have to wilfully create this space by giving someone, anyone, some of the jobs on your list at a time when you can get away for your session. Again it helps greatly if this time is scheduled in advance so others can plan around your needs.
All of the above things are somewhat interre-lated so therefore any help you can arrange in one area will often flow over into others. The more you can be relieved of the mundane things which anyone can do for themselves or for your household, the more you can focus on those things which only you can do for yourself or your baby. Having things delegated on a regular or pre-planned basis saves you the worry of even thinking about arranging them on a day to day basis. This simple strategy is enormously helpful in lessening mental tension.
For a single mother, having a new baby can be a particularly trying time. She may have to draw even more deeply on her reserves of self sufficiency to find within what she needs. But more than its potential difficulties, single motherhood can also open doors to a more extended
and communal family. Creating such networks during pregnancy is the best idea, as well as learning to ask the cosmos for help whenever needed. Having been in this situation myself for some 12 years, and having found and set up communal lifestyles for 10 of those years, I have found it no more of a disadvantage than the dual-parent family.
Beyond the physical, a mother may need emotional support from time to time. One to one intimacy with your lover, a shoulder to cry on, a massage, a get together with dear friends, time to have silly fun, devotional time, nature time, favourite music time, just laughing about nothing - all are good ways for clearing pent-up emotions. Be careful though if sharing your problems with someone else, that it doesn't decline into a mire of self pity. Whilst getting things off your chest is good, one needs to address the causes. Here, Yoga Nidra is the best method of clearing emotional tension you could use.
Whilst many things a new mum needs can be provided from outside and by others, other things can only come from inside. Certain forces in your life are only renewable through inner work and this is the realm of yoga support. A yogini considers her daily yoga time as the most valuable support mechanism she has. It is here where the deepest physical and mental rejuvenation will take place.
And beyond the practical third party help, and the times of self help, everybody needs a source of inspiration outside of themselves, to whom they can turn for renewal when their spirit is flagging. For some this is obtained through being in nature, or reading. For others it can be prayer, meditation, or a visit to an inspiring person. Such sources should embody the highest ideals you seek for yourself, not only in motherhood, but in life itself.
Seeing beyond the transitions of new mother-hood, by putting the present into a wider perspective, is a healthy and very necessary element of your support network. Through self reflection, all the hassles of life can be seen for what they are - the passing interplay of energy and consciousness, all providing opportunities for higher awareness and personal growth.
The re-establishment of lovemaking following childbirth can be a challenging physical and psychological period for many couples. There may be the idea, the loving desire, but many times the body is not willing! The circumstances, and any complications encountered