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Ever since motherhood began for me i felt this kind of anxiety around how my parenting style would be received. It’s been odd to me that i all of a sudden care so much about what others think. I decided a long time ago that i was going to let my freak flag fly and just be myself fully! It’s been surprising that i’ve found myself at times preoccupied by this anxiety. So i looked into it and it occurred to me that i am actually more afraid that others will feel judged by me, more so then the other way around. Interesting. Sounds like a projection… Stay with me here as i unravel this.

I gave birth naturally, and at home. It was the single most profound and empowering moment of my life and i feel really proud that i made that choice. I have drawn upon the power and fierceness that i erected throughout that experience time and time again during these early and trying infant days. I don’t have any judgment towards the women who go the other routes, but i often worry that by celebrating, or god forbid promoting natural birth, that i am making others feel bad about their choices. I have to be honest about the fact that i feel unbridled pride for having given birth naturally. And as Marianne Williamson has taught us, “There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that others won’t feel unsure around us.” I’m proud of myself for doing something so personally challenging. I have been known for being a highly sensitive person with a notoriously low tolerance for physical pain and discomfort. I was impressed by myself, that i was able to provide my baby with a pure start through a gentle and unmedicated birth experience. My intention is never to compare or judge another persons path, merely to inspire others through my own. I love to share my experiences with others because i know how healing and inspiring sharing our stories can be, but i find i am so much more comfortable sharing about my depression then i am about the fact that i had a natural birth, and that it made me feel like a badass goddess and that i think pregnant women everywhere (given the health of their body and overall pregnancy) should really consider the option because it has so many benefits!

Here in lays the projection, folks. What’s just occurred to me is that the reason why i am afraid to celebrate and share about my accomplishments, the choices i make which feel victorious to me and those i feel others could really benefit from, is because of my “judging self”. I project that others will feel judged by me because i am legitimately judging others! Our shadow is always in fear of being exposed, hence the earlier mentioned anxiety.

I began noticing not too long ago that i had all these judgments towards other mothers. I was mortified to see this about myself, and once i noticed it i kept catching myself in the act.

So and so didn’t give breastfeeding enough of a chance before she quit… Why do all these moms buy all this unnecessary stuff for their babies? Don’t they know that all the baby wants is to be loved and held and a part of their daily happenings?… If those parents are so upset that their children won’t relax on this airplane, why are they feeding them sprite and cookies?… And so on.. 

My righteous judgements began to eat away at my own self esteem. I was upset that this part of me kept acting up. For me, it honestly feels more toxic to be the judger then it does to be the recipient of someone else’s judgment. I hate when i judge others. It always leaves an immediate feeling of ick in the pit of my stomach. And usually after i do it, i turn the critical finger right around towards myself thus beginning a vicious cycle of judging. So then i had to ask myself- when i judge others, who and what am i really judging? When i looked into it a bit further i realized that the only reason i was being such a mother judger was because i was unconsciously and unfairly judging my own mother-self. At times, i was feeling insecure as a new mama and was being a harsh critic of myself. During the moments where i was grooving in my flow and feeling confident about my motherly ways, there wasn’t any judgment about others. As painful as it feels to see myself judging, i am grateful to the awareness of it because without it i may not have been able to release myself from the clutches of my own harsh inner critic.

So i take a deep breath and humbly accept my judgmental shadow as just another character in the full spectrum of characters within me. She needs love just as much as the next prickly guy, because isn’t it true that those who deserve hugs the least need them the most. {Note to self as a mother, and wife for that matter!} And with that humbling (and sometimes humiliating) breath of acceptance, i take responsibility for the mother-judger inside of me so that she can go back to her rightful place inside of my psyche. When denied or ignored, our shadows will run amuck! The ego is so fragile and wounded. It’s almost always acting out yet it will do ANYTHING to avoid exposure. However, when you hold the intention to heal your wounded aspects and become more healthy and integrated, they start to jump out at you, like they want to be seen. For the soul longs for unity, wholeness and peace. The more fragmented we are internally, the more our souls will struggle to be fully expressed. If we become accustomed to disempowering our egos and meeting them with the love and compassion that they ultimately need, the healthier and happier we become. Remember, we need our egos to live in this world. The idea isn’t to get rid of them. We just want for the aspects that make up our ego to be right-sized, healthy proportions, and that can only happen through awareness and love. With all of that said and done, i can now forgive myself for being hard on myself and others and feel free to celebrate all that I am. Hallelujah and Amen.

*If you are interested in learning more about your Shadow, the concept of projection, or simply want to become more fully free, happy and whole in your life, check out Debbie Ford’s work. Her first book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is an amazing and user-friendly manual on Shadow Work. If you are looking for a coach to guide you through the process (which i highly recommend), you can find one of Debbie’s site as well. www.debbieford.com

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