My baby is like a little anchor to the physical realm. It’s so difficult to meditate with her. Trance is pretty much impossible now. I’m sure it’s different for every parent, and I am certainly curious about what others have experienced.
Babies depend on their mothers for food, warmth, protection, and love. Mothers are biologically programed to focus on their babies and meet these needs. We sleep less soundly because every little sound (or even lack of sound) rouses us. The sound of crying can also illicit the very physical response of lactation. The same issues impact my ability to meditate. I sometimes feel really self conscious about it. Prior to pregnancy, I was making advances with my trance practice. Now I don’t see myself getting back into it for years. Meditation comes so infrequently to me now, and must be short, that I feel less than adequate from time to time.
Yet, on my own, I can find ways to connect to spirit. Making offerings, saying prayers, taking note of nature, reveling in the magic of my baby… Yet I miss those extended periods of quiet contemplation.
Today, during a public ritual, my husband felt ill and had to leave the circle. He handed me the baby, naturally, but I was leading the rite and the act of taking her made everything feel suddenly very off. I had a difficult time leading the meditation. I was visualizing it in my head (and thankfully Bee is such a relaxed baby), but I couldn’t feel the energy as well as I usually do. Perhaps, if she were sleeping in my wrap, it would have been different. There have been times when I’ve done devotionals, just the two of us, and felt very connected. Perhaps it is because I feel performance anxiety in public ritual. I have to meet everyone’s needs, not just mine and Bee’s.
Yet I’m dedicated to making our protogrove a welcoming place for families. I fully acknowledge that there are times and places for child free rites (trance would be one), but honoring the seasonal changes and thanking the Kindreds is a tribal affair – thus family.
As Bee grows and starts to run around, I wonder if this will become harder or easier? Will she be like the girls from Muin Mound Grove and my Wiccan friends’ daughter who have grown up with ritual and meditation and eventually started to participate and sense the flow of energy, thus facilitating my own ability to lead or participate fully? Will she be bored and better off with her grandparents? Perhaps there will be days like that, but I really hope she wants to participate…
My goal is to find ways to make ritual more engaging to children while also adhering to ADF’s traditions, respecting our heritage, and keeping the reverence that adults often appreciate.
As always, it comes down to moderation and balance. It will be a learning process.