After Mama died, I began sleeping under a weighted blanket.
Yes, even though I hadn’t lived with my mother in more than fifty years. Even though I am the age I am, I felt a deep need to be Held. Comforted. Secure.
I realize that’s a lot to ask from a mere blanket.
But yet… I had heard that weighted blankets take their inspiration from a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation, which uses firm, controlled pressure to induce a feeling of calm. It’s a similar rationale for swaddling babies – to help them feel snug and cozy.
In addition, the weighted blanket’s pressure puts our autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode, reducing anxiety and stress, while increasing serotonin levels in the brain which promote a sense of security.
Did it help? Well, I’m no medical professional, but yes, this tool has somehow enabled me to experience a more relaxed sleep, awakening rested.
You don’t have to be in grief for the loss of a mother in order to feel a deep need to be Held. Even for me, my loss of her was a significant ‘final straw’ in a succession of minor challenges this year that had me waking up often during the night, unable to turn off all the thoughts and concerns in my mind.
Not to mention the fact that we are entering the third year of a pandemic where people are not hugging and holding as much as in the ‘before times.’ (I work in a nursing home and see the fallout from this daily.)
Why do we have such a deep need to be Held?
Well, we have to first go back a ways. Experts reveal that on an emotional level, our fundamental convictions about whether we are going to have enough, if we will be nourished, and blessed, come to us through our relationships with our mothers, especially during infancy.
In “Resilient,” author John Eldredge also says he believes that in those early years “the mother is bestowing on her child what I call ‘the benediction of being.’ You are celebrated for being here. Your very existence brings joy to the world, and because of that your existence is blessed through nourishment, attention, delight, and attachment-love.”
Dallas Willard was only 2 ½ years old when his mother died in 1938. Sadly, during the funeral he tried to climb into his mother’s casket. This breaks my heart. And yet, that experience led Willard to discover so much about the importance of spiritual attachment to Jesus. My own mama lived for 95 years, but I have heard from many of you that you lost your mama at an early age. Others have shared with me your mamas were distant, which sometimes leaves us vulnerable to unmet cravings for security, love, and blessing.
I am utterly grateful that God has made provision for all of us to be held — Himself. He yearns to bring us the assurance of abundance in those places where we ache – whether due to a new loss, or from an old wound.
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49.15-16
As I snuggle under the covers on this cold and rainy autumn evening, I am grateful for every human embrace I have received, especially those in recent weeks during my grief. But, more than that, I am grateful to know that my heavenly Father also mothers me in these days of adjusting to life as an orphan on earth.
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…
When you see this, your heart will rejoice
and you will flourish like grass.” Isaiah 66. 12-14
Thank you again, everyone, for “holding up my arms” * in recent days. May you receive every blessing,
*When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. Exodus 17.12
NOTE: There are many benefits of weighted blankets for adults, including:
- reduce anxiety and stress levels.
- improve sleep quality.
- ease muscle tension and pain.
- as a tool for relaxation.
- boost mood and energy levels.
- improve concentration and focus.
- reduce fidgeting and restlessness.
- provide calming and comfort.
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 16 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” , “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most,” “God’s Purpose for You,” and “The Courage to Write.” (Purchasing my books here benefits me as an Amazon associate.) She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words weekly at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com