Babies Make Meditation Hard

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.

12 thoughts on “Babies Make Meditation Hard

  1. The boy was fairly compatible with Pagan stuff when small. What I lost was other kinds of creativity, through pregancy and that first year or so, I wrote very little -time and energy being big factors, and not enough space to think about anything other than the baby. Rituals were easier, but critically, I was just turning up, not leading, so it mattered less that I wasn’t always on the same wavelength as everyone else.

  2. I can only try to imagine what this must be like for you. And I’m sure the ritual was awesome, perhaps you imagined some of the energy turning off? Well, I’m not you so how can I understand? I think your grovies understand that your baby must come first right now, and it doesn’t help that you’re the only priestess. That must weigh a lot on your mind and shoulders. I personally haven’t meditated in a while because my nose is either dried up or congested and I have trouble breathing. Kind of hard to meditate when you can’t do the breathing exercises. So I can relate but for different reasons. I think Bee will grow up a healthy child because you and your husband seem to genuinely love her, and each other. I think she will be fine. 🙂 And if she chooses pagan ways down the road, you will be able to help guide her.

    1. Perhaps I did – we are so often our own worst critics. I do know that I’ve done better, though! My grovies are *very* understanding. Thank you for your encouragement. 🙂

  3. i know how you feel. Cleaning and baking, among offerings and maintaining shrines, helps me stay connected, but you’re right, it’s nothing compared to the freedom of meditation.

    It’s nice to see, for a change, a group that’s actually accepting of children, instead of the many I’ve seen who forbid them. Keep up the work. 🙂

  4. Remember, this is just a short season in the little bairn’s life. I know it seems like an eternity as a new mom, but trust me. It goes so quickly and the Gods understand. Even just a few minutes during naps, they grok. They truly do. *hugs* Enjoy your baby, the Gods, are patient and can wait just a little bit, and yes, I know you’re a priestess, and if your coven has any compassion they would understand as well. So difficult when you’re in a leadership position.

    OOH IDEA, if it’s REALLY pressing, you could see if anyone can take the babe for just a little bit while you get the pressing God Stuff for the coven Dealt With. Remember it takes a village, 😉

    1. Thank you, you’re right. It is a short phase… Too fleeting, really!

      My grove mates are very understanding and willing to help, but she is going through stranger anxiety and it would have been way more disruptive. But they do try, bless their hearts!

  5. I can completely understand what you mean, I find that I have such difficulty in being able to journey or trance at all, I don’t think I have been able to do it (other than during sleep) since my 3 year old was born, followed by her baby sister who is 11 months old. I find that with having 3 kids, I am rarely able to feel as though I leave myself to do magical workings (my eldest is a high-needs ADHD and possible Asperger’s girl who needs constant attention. This makes relaxing at all hard, let alone doing something magical.)

    It is something I am working on, but so far I find myself tethered to this world because of nursing or a crying baby like you are. I know as your daughter gets older, she will be able to not only participate more, but need less 24/7 attention that requires your body and mind to stay firmly attached to our world.

    I would suggest experimenting with including her in rituals, showing her what Mommy does, having someone else babysit her, and practice different ways to have others help with her during rituals that you are leading. I don’t lead a group at all, so I am not sure how to work that out, but I am so happy to see the effort going into a kid-friendly atmosphere. Most groups around me are kid-free, and the ones that are welcoming to families are way too far away for us to utilize.

    1. Babies are little anchors! I definitely need to get back into a devotional practice. It’s been on and off since returning to work. But you’re right – the more she’s exposed to it, the better it will be. 🙂

  6. Ok I think this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog here. My son is 4 1/2 and I can relate to not being able to focus/trance. So like everything else in my life thats good for me I had to trick myself. I have a dish washer, but I wash the dishes by hand. It’s very meditive. Your going to laugh, but when I’m getting him ready for bed when he’s on the potty I rub cocunut oil into his skin (it gets really dry). I find it connects our energy pretty well and it’s easy to sort of drift away.
    As you know boy energy is different then girl energy.I have fallen into trance while playing with Legos, folding laundry, even walking to work. So don’t beat yourself up, sometimes old ways have to be updated to new ways 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m so glad that others know what I’m talking about and have found ways to grow with it! It’s really encouraging. I really do think the trick is learning to look at all of your life as sacred and finding the spiritual potential in quiet moments. 🙂

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