Think being a mom and meditating go together like oil and water? Emily Fletcher, creator of Ziva Meditation and author of “Stress Less, Accomplish More” (William Morrow, February 2019), assures us that we can practice her technique while the kids are screaming in the next room.
But Fletcher, mom to Jasper, is well aware of the challenge of maintaining a practice, so we asked for her insights.
24Life: You had Jasper in 2018. How does your practice impact being a mom, and how does being a mom influence your practice?
Emily Fletcher: What being a new mom has done for me is just given me a level of street cred so that when people come to me and say, “I’m busy. I don’t have time to meditate,” I now can say, “Well, I have an 8-month-old son. And I’m doing a book launch. And I’m running a seven-figure company. So I’m busy, too.”
24Life: Did you practice through pregnancy?
EF: Meditation very much helped my pregnancy. I had a dream pregnancy. It was very easy. I didn’t ever get tired and I wasn’t sick. And I think it helped me get through a very intense birth process. I had a four-day back labor.
24Life: What happened after Jasper’s birth?
EF: My postpartum, to be very honest, was brutal. It brought me to my knees. The baby had a tongue tie [a condition where the baby’s tongue is still attached to the floor of his mouth), so nursing was excruciatingly painful. And then I wasn’t making enough milk. So he was starving, very angry and he had jaundice. I had to nurse and then pump and then bottle-feed, which took an hour and a half—and I was doing it every three hours. I really only had about 40 minutes off each cycle.
That meant I wasn’t meditating for about a month, postpartum. But I think my body needed that adrenaline to deal with the pain, and I needed the cortisol to stay awake; it was almost like I was in battle mode.
24Life: How did you come back to your practice?
EF: About a month [after Jasper’s birth], I started sitting in meditation once a day, and then two months in, I started sitting twice a day. It was really good for me to see what it feels like to not meditate and then what it feels like to meditate because sometimes you forget [what it’s like to not practice]. It was good for me to increase my empathy and my compassion because when you’re in it, it’s very hard to imagine that there could be another reality. You think that this sadness, this pain, this anxiety is your forever reality.
24Life: What did you take away from the experience?
EF: It was a good example of the reason we meditate: to get good at life, not to get good at meditation. It’s not about having a perfect meditation record. I look back and see my practice from the perspective of doing it for years so that I could get through something as intense as [my postpartum] and not lose my mind or totally break down under the pressure.
Photo credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com