The Beginner's Mind: Newborn Edition

Shiloh getting her mindfulness practice in.

Shiloh getting her mindfulness practice in.

I woke this morning with a start and didn't hear a peep. I quickly peered into the bassinet sandwiched against my bed. Is she breathing? I leaned my head over her chest and gave her a little rock until she emitted a familiar squeak. And I sighed. 

One week ago, I helped move Shiloh out of her cozy womb and into this large bright-lit world.  Having her has been such an amazing opportunity to reacquaint myself with the subtlest moments in a deeply appreciative way. Our lives have been so insular and quiet (except the late night pterodactyl-moments when she can't quite figure out what would make her feel better, nor can I), punctuated by walks in the woods, lengthy couch snuggles, and plenty of naps.

I have found that having Shiloh with me has narrowed my focus to the world around me, which subsequently has become much more vivid. The green wall of oaks that rustle in the fall-tinted wind draw me in. The mouth-watering lasagnas, enchiladas, Caprese sandwiches, and cakes that our community has made for us seem extra flavorful. My hot morning shower is so rich with sensation and comfort. I savor not just her hilarious facial expressions, gentle neck snuggles, and rise-and-fall of breath, but also the world that cocoons us. 

Simultaneously, I find myself feeling connected with others over this new little life.  My husband and I took her out for a walk the first day home and strutted around like peacocks looking for someone to show her off to. Luckily, our neighbor was outside gardening, so we could fulfill that desire to share and celebrate her existence. When I was pregnant, I said I wished that we all treated each other as well as I have been treated as a pregnant woman. The same can be said for having a newborn. The generosity and joy of strangers we get to experience because of her is such a gift. People even seem to give our car more space when they see the "Baby on Board" sticker with me perched in the back next to her car seat.  It feels like I now have access to some exclusive mama club. In the same way that reading about mindfulness will never give you the understanding of what it means to practice, so too I have found that as much as I talked to others about parenting and read what the experts had to say about it, I did not really understand until I had one of my own. So even as our world shrinks and sharpens, it grows through the connection through kindness that we have been able to share with others.

How deeply grateful I am to have this opportunity.