After one read of Bailey Gaddis’s About Me page on her site, Your Serene Life, I knew I wanted to interview her for Moms Who Inspire because she’s insanely inspiring and hilarious.
During our conversation, I mentioned to Bailey that I find it hysterical that she admits in her bio that she can’t stop bragging about attending an event hosted by Michelle Obama at the White House. She laughed and went on to tell me that she was at an event that morning and bragged about it to the strangers next to her. “It’s just such a cool thing to have experienced, why not brag about it?” she said laughing.
This is Bailey Gaddis. funny, honest and high on life.
Bailey is the Author of Feng Shui Mommy (coming out May 2017), a Childbirth Preparation Educator, Hypnotherapist, Birth Doula, travel addict and writer on all of the above. Bailey decided that she wanted to help women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum after the birth of her first child. Using Hypno-anesthesia as a method for her labor, she was able to have a pain-free natural childbirth. This empowered her to want to help other women experience their own bliss during their motherhood journeys.
When speaking to Bailey, I asked her what the first few days were like after she gave birth. I ask this often to other moms as a way to bond over stories of sleepless nights and crying babies, but Bailey’s answer was one that opened my eyes to a different experience than my own.
She replied as if reliving the experience as she spoke, “Blissful.”
This isn’t the typical answer I receive and it’s not even close to how I describe the first few days of my motherhood path, but when she said it, my body filled with love. It was really beautiful to see a different perspective on what’s usually a difficult time.
I learned so much from Bailey in our brief conversation, and I’m so happy to share more below.
Becoming a mother has allowed me to swim in the new brand of love that was birthed with my son; when I first held him it was like this dam holding back super-intense love crumbled and flooded me with its deliciousness. This new type of love continues to wash through me each time I have a really lovely moment of connection with my son- it’s a wild ride of physical warmth, mental calm and spiritual invigoration that equals a potent form of bliss.
Sure, this “mama brand love” is likely one part Oxytocin, but the other part is something mysterious that goes beyond hormones. Even in times when motherhood is so freaking difficult (which is a lot of the time for me) I still get blast with this mama-love in the exact moments I need it most; it’s like the Universe is infusing me with a knowing that, “Yes! I can do this. We can do this.”
Can I choose another favorite? I’m thrilled that being a mom has reconnected me with my childlike wonder. Having a child has given me a free-pass to get goofy-level excited about holidays, the new slide at the park, trying the mystery flavor at the frozen yogurt shop or anything else adults typically react to with watered down reactions and emotions.
It’s been really challenging getting to know the nitty-gritty of my core self. My pre-baby ignorance about my self was pretty nice, but it didn’t facilitate the juicy growth I’ve been forced through since becoming a mommy. Being pushed past my limits in regards to fear (of something horrible happening to my child), guilt (that I’m not good enough), love (that is so intense it can be scary), and some serious confusion (over the symphony of “unknowns” flowing through motherhood) has shown me how I navigate the landscape outside those limits- sometimes I surprise myself and sometimes I totally fail. Each time I explore this area outside my limits-of-comfort, which is quite often, I’m offered another opportunity for exploration and expansion. Ugh, so much forced exploring and expanding! It can be exhausting, but it’s the best. Oh, and potty training- it’s so hard.
Seek out endorphins! An infusion of physical movement, preferably accompanied by sweat, is a must. Postpartum hormones and the general unpredictability of parenting can cause some serious mood swings and cavernous dips in energy; committing to at least thirty minutes of exercise each day will help to stabilize your hormones and energy level (and sanity!) The resulting flow of endorphins from exercise will also make it easier to engage in other forms of self-care like meditating, napping, writing, (fill in your preferred concoction of self-care here) because your body and mind will be at ease.
Your exercise routine doesn’t need to be complicated or “traditional,” you can wake up your endorphins by running around with your kiddo at the park for half an hour, strapping baby to your chest and walking around the block a few times, doing some lunges while you’re screen-vegging, or partaking in any other physical activity that makes you say “Yay!” If I didn’t exercise each day I would likely need (more) therapy and extra chocolate.
Get out of your house and talk about anything but your child. New parents are so drenched in parenthood it can be difficult to think about, or do, anything else, which often serves to disconnect you from yourself, and your partner’s self. Schedule a trusted friend or family member to watch your baby for at least two hours one day a week and get the heck out of Dodge. I don’t care if you just sit out in your car and talk (or make out! Or take a nap!), just make sure you’re not doing anything “responsible” or “parent-y.”
Force yourself to think up non-parent-related topics to discuss or activities to explore, helping remind you that you’re not just parents but two unique individuals who fell in love with each other for more than your shared ability to change a diaper. And yes, the subject of your chubby cherub will likely wiggle it’s way in; that’s fine, as long as the verbal version of the cherub isn’t hanging with you the entire time. If the infamous creature of guilt joins you on these outings, remind it that fostering a healthy relationship with your child’s other parent will strengthen your abilities to mother.
All the advice I offer new parents is advice I need in my own life. I’m in no way some Mama Ninja that has it all figured out; I too am a student of motherhood. The women I know and work with are my peers and support team; kind of like my Master Mind Mommy Team. They (and you!) inspire me to look deeper into challenges of motherhood, and life in general, I didn’t even think to look in (or were too scared to examine) and meditate on possible solutions, or ways to find peace with challenges that can’t be “solved.”
The key word here is meditation- I couldn’t write or speak a single word of substance without closing my eyes, commanding myself to be still and noticing what comes up. Mediation, coupled with the support and wisdom of other women is what allows me to function as a mother.
Another surprising (but maybe not so surprising) confession: Sugar, screen time and bribes are alive and well in my household, but we try to couple their use with the philosophy of balance (some days are more balanced than others.)
My wish for my son is to get to know the voice of his intuition and learn to honor it. When we push aside all the noise we’re often left with a very wise voice that almost always knows the best path for us to take in any given situation. Advanced age is not a prerequisite of intuition, babies and children are often the most apt at following their inner guide because their minds have not been cluttered with the demands and beliefs of society. I want to teach my son the value of quieting his mind and listening to his wise voice that will likely provide him with much better advice than I could ever give.
I hope to expand my own ability to tap into my intuition as I help him hold on to this ability that is currently innate in him. If he’s able to continue following the guru at his core, all the other important life lessons like how to give and receive love, treat the Earth with respect, roast the perfect marshmallow, not be afraid of failure, or any of the other gorgeous options from the menu of Life Lessons will organically be a part of his existence.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
What’s been the biggest challenge being a mom?
Self-care can be a challenge for moms. What advice do you have for moms who want to incorporate more self-care into their lives?
What’s the one piece of relationship advice you would give to new parents?
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you as a mom?
What lesson do you most want to pass on to your child?
Are you pregnant or a new mom?
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