I did a headstand last week. In yoga class. And it was a big deal.
When I got pregnant a little over a year ago, I felt like I was at the top of my game. I was making it to yoga class four or five times a week; I had just been on a life changing yoga retreat (The Art of Letting Go: A Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat); and I was rocking spandex with no fear. I felt strong, fit, centered, and adventurous. So when I knew for sure that baby Ben was on his way, I was so excited, but also pretty damn terrified. I didn’t really talk about the terrified part, though. I was asking all of the usual questions to myself about readiness to be a parent, but there were others that seemed too shallow to discuss with anyone else. Like how would my body change? Would it be ruined forever? Would I ever feel strong again?
My fear about discussing these questions had to do with how others would perceive me as a mom. I didn’t want people to think I was more concerned with my body than my baby. But one of the most important things I’ve learned so far as a new mom is that if I put a front up about what this experience is really like, I’m doing a disservice to myself and to other new moms. I had important feelings and opinions before this baby and they shouldn’t disappear just to prove that I’m a selfless mom. Discussing real feelings and issues gives all moms a better chance at connecting on a deeper level. I have a harder time connecting with a mom who approaches me by saying: “oh my gosh..can you even imagine what life was like before your little angel? Isn’t motherhood a dream? I just love every bit of it!!!!” Maybe it’s the irreverent side of me, but I want to say: “hell no, sister, I don’t love every bit of it. I remember my life before and I miss the amazing part where I used to sleep. And when my hormones weren’t driving this train to crazy town every other day. And when the shape of my butt gave me some swagger instead of an inclination toward empire waisted dresses.” For me, it’s important to accept that I can feel these feelings and it doesn’t make me love my son any less.
So I don’t have as much time now as I did before to practice yoga. But when I get there once a week, it feels good to spend some time focusing on my needs and I’m sure my family benefits from that. And it’s hard work getting my body back. But I’m feeling stronger every week and last week I got upside down again. My teacher may have helped pull me up and spotted me in case of a fall, but I got there. And it was a big deal.