Knitting: Depression Help at My Fingertips
Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they’ve set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
After Ailia was born, I rode those birth hormones for days. Weeks! I felt so cool and in control, I never for a moment considered myself at risk of developing postpartum depression (even though I clearly experienced it after Kieran’s birth).
But sure enough, a little over two months later, I started exhibiting my personal signs of depression – I stopped menu planning or cooking, resorting instead to fast food that made me feel gross. I started having a glass or two of wine after putting Kieran to bed. I stopped planning educational activities. I stopped writing. I felt a complete lack of motivation to do anything productive, including cleaning.
It was on a week where we were eating out for the third time when it finally hit me – I was depressed. And so I started looking within to figure out what factors (besides the obvious hormonal ones) contributed to my depression. One of my triggers for depression is spending too much time working on the computer, and not enough time interacting with family or exercising my creativity in other ways. Fortuitously, a friend was offering free knitting classes. I decided to take her up on them, just for a change of pace.
These knitting classes (well, in addition to my placenta pills) have been the key to lifting me out of my depression. They have fulfilled just about every need I had: they’ve given me regular weekly time with friends, out of the house; they’ve given me something new to learn, exercising my brain in different directions; they’ve given me a creative outlet that I can use to fill time that would have been spent in front of my computer.
And knitting itself is similar to meditation.
- As with many forms of meditation, you move your hands (and the knitting needles) using calm, controlled motions.
- Knitting in a quiet space can be an ideal way to engage in quiet contemplation and reflection.
- Many practitioners of meditation use prayer beads or similar objects in an automatic manner. The movement of one’s knitting needles also becomes automatic, with both the motion and the small sounds of the needles being a pleasant accompaniment to an introspective state.
- Meditation is often used to aid in stress reduction. So, too, can one use knitting.
- Practitioners of meditation often desire to get beyond the “thinking” mind. Knitters also learn to practice their art reflexively – without consciously thinking about the movements their hands and fingers are making.
I think it took this second pregnancy and birth for me to grasp the mindful benefits of knitting. I have actually tried to knit two times before in my life. The first time, Tom and I taught ourselves to knit one week while we were looking for adventure in New Mexico. That didn’t last.
The second time was soon after Kieran was born. I actually finished two small projects (a set of blocks and a scarf), but I never enjoyed it – I was too intent on the product to enjoy the process.
But just as I learned to sit back and trust my body in preparation for Ailia’s birth, so too am I learning to breathe and revel in the complex monotony of the pattern I am creating with my yarn. I am giving myself over to the stitches, giving myself permission to set aside work and worry in favor of weaving.1
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- The Importance of a Moment Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama reflects on the need to slow down and breathe in life instead of rushing from one moment to the next.
- Mindful Playing With My Daughters Rani at Om She Said looked at her girls and realized that more than anything they wanted her right there next to them, playing, laughing, creating, and having fun; that’s exactly what she did!
- Watch Your Words Patti at Canadian Unschooler challenges herself to make her words a reflection of her intentions.
- The Mindful Benefits of Knitting Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares how knitting has helped lift her out of depression and has given her a new form of meditation.
- Self Compassion: How Thinking About Bad Experiences Can Make You Happier and More Compassionate CJ at Imperfect Happiness challenges herself to be more compassionate…with herself.
- Calming the Home Environment by Selecting Traditional Toys Sam at Love Parenting discusses the benefits of natural toys.
- Quieting my Infernal Inner Ramblings Tree at Mom Grooves writes about her commitment to get out of her head and into the moment with her daughter and husband.
- Changing Our Everyday The Aniweda Dream is sizing up the changes they’ve made by moving across the country and looking at how to make their lives more mindful as a family.
- A Mindful Cup of Tea Amy at The Daily Muttering tells how she’s trying to regain control of her life with the chaos of 3 kids thanks to the introduction of a simple daily ritual.
- Mindful Mama Moontime Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how becoming conscious of her moon time has helped her find balance in herself as a woman, and a mama.
- Speaking to the Need Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares how she tries to stay mindful of her preschooler’s needs.
- Going Within Amy at Anktangle describes a centering practice she’s been being more intentional about lately, and which she has come to realize is a precious gift in her life.
- Waking Up With Meditation Amy at PresenceParents shares how awakening with presence carries her through the day.
- Mindful Meditations Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores six weeks of seated meditation and discovers some things she doesn’t expect.
- Mindfulness in the Kitchen – an Everyday Challenge Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she’s been challenging herself to involve more mindfulness in everyday tasks – especially in the area of cooking for her family.
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"Knitting: Depression Help at My Fingertips"
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