I have heard of people finding God on their yoga mats, instead I found myself. As I moved my creaky, postpartum body through yin yoga poses, I realized I am not the same person who started this blog. I’m not even the same person I was three months ago. We are constantly undergoing transformations and don’t often pause to think about it. Tonight, instead of writer, teacher, occasional traveler, I am mama, yogi, occasional writer.
It was difficult to get my tired butt to my first yoga class since I got pregnant. Colic usually hits us hard between 7:30 and 10:30 PM and the class I most wanted to attend was smack dab in the middle. Thankfully, my husband pushed me out the door, almost literally. Armed with both his parents and some pumped milk he would not take my worried excuses as reasons not to go. Had it not been for the improvement to her colic with my change in diet (I miss you dairy, wheat, and eggs!!), I would have fought harder. But fortunately, the last few nights have been a little quieter around here, so I felt tentative, but alright to leave.
I am so glad I did.
First, I discovered my body needs to move, everything down to my wrists and toes still hurt. I could feel the fear I was holding from the end of pregnancy and the beginning of parenthood melt on the mat. It is incredible how our emotions manifest themselves physically and so often we hardly notice.
Second, tears escaped. I cried as I realized how much fear I was holding onto, fear to move the parts of my body that hurt worst in labor, fear to leave her tonight, fear to make the right decisions regarding her health. Fear, fear, fear. Then the instructor began talking about what needs we have that aren’t been met, and I realized mine was the need to be brave. She then explained how once these needs are identified, she spends the day recognizing when those needs are being met as an exercise in gratitude for what we already have. As I poured through my recent life choices, I realized I am just as often brave as I am afraid, if not more so. I felt empowered.
Third, as these emotions unfolded, it struck me my fear of leaving my baby girl was unfounded. I had the most beautiful visualization of this invisible cord still connecting us, weaving its way out of the studio and all the way back to our house, where Eloise was safely cradled in a floating bag of water. Powerful symbolism in light of my water breaking three weeks early… More tears, of course. To know I am always connected and protecting her, even when we are not together or things do not go exactly as planned, happy tears.
Fourth, me. I forgot how much I love yoga, how it opens my mind and plants me back in my physical and mental self. I realized I am a new me. The writer, the teacher, the occasional traveler have made way for an improved version. So, I think it is time to rebrand myself, to figure out my place in this world as the mama, yogi, and occasional writer (among a million other things). This means new focus in my writing, I’m excited.
I leave you with a couple questions I enjoyed contemplating tonight. You do not have to answer to anyone but yourself:
First, what needs do you have that aren’t being met? If you stop and pay attention, how are those needs already being met without you realizing it? Or, what do you need to change to have those needs met?
Second, who are you tonight? Not three-months-ago you, or three-months-from-now you– who are you in this very moment? Can you sum yourself up in a few words or is that too stifling, too confining?
And, in case you were wondering, Eloise slept peacefully until about 10 minutes before I got home. Alex even time stamped photos to prove it because he figured I wouldn’t believe it! Here’s hoping all this dietary self-restraint is paying off.
Looking forward to seeing the feisty one again…and Eloise, too!
what a sweet little baby girl you have! thanks for the encouragement on my blog. i, too, love yoga and find so much peace in it. thanks for sharing your thoughts–powerful!
Thanks Chelsea! I was really right where you were just a couple months ago, so I completely related to what you shared. Congrats again 😀
I wanted to respond to the paragraph you identified as “Third.” I’m a fundamental believer in the idea that you will be a better mom if you make sure to take care of yourself as well as taking care of the little one. That means going to yoga and writing and doing whatever it is that fills that part of you that no child or spouse or anybody else can fill. And, while you are doing those things, you are strengthening yourself and keeping hold of the cord that links you to her because when you come back to her, you will feel better, fresher, and more alive. And she will learn from the example you are setting.
It is something that too few parents recognize, particularly on the mom side. I hope you remember this lesson in the years ahead.
As for your questions … tough to answer, but I’m going to work on it.
I agree– it is important to maintain the things that make us more than just parents (for ourselves and our children), but it is extra hard to leave when I think she “needs” me. Making progress, one baby step at a time 😉
Good luck working on those questions!
Honey as you make your way though life you will find you wear many different hats. Some you keep others you discard. Before Ellie I had found I was content with myself. Since her arrival that has changed. I now want to be the active Grandma so that I may keep up with her as she explores the world. At this moment I am a woman with a drive… a parent who once again feels needed…an a Grandma filled full of laughter. Doesn’t get much better than that….at the moment. Love you AEO
I love your response, made me so happy, you are a wonderful grandmother, we are so lucky to have you in our lives!
For you, yoga obviously helps to center and give you the peace you need to find your insights. For me, it happens with music and writing. Lately I’ve been missing the writing as I’ve been back to “traditional” work, but I’m finding that I’ve grown and changed, too. These days I’m not shy about demanding the time I need for balance (which I got today).
Cheers to you! We all need to demand balance. Writing has been pretty scarce for me too lately… Forcing myself to take advantage of little blocks of time instead of waiting for a big block to come along! And, yes, yoga definitely gives me the space to see life more clearly 🙂 I often forget how therapeutic music can be as well, thank you for the reminder!