From Pregnant to Parent.
Labour and birth were hard work. Parenting is harder.
I went 11 days overdue with my baby and the wait was excruciating. Perhaps not quite as excruciating as the labour and birth. Had I really understood how taxing the labour and birth would be and how exhausting the first few weeks with a newborn are, I would have taken a lot more naps.
I have never felt so out of my depth as I do now. There are so many precious moments – gazing into my baby boy’s eyes, seeing his first smiles, snuggling and kissing his gorgeous lips. But I never understood just how hard it was going to be. Being a parent truly is the hardest job on earth, and I’m only five weeks in.
My patience has been tested, my body abused, my emotions run through a grinder. It is the best of times and the worst of times. It is joy and sadness stuck together with a good dose of sleep deprivation. It is the smell of newborn skin mingled with the saltiness of my tears.
Yoga. Where has my yoga been for the past five weeks? For a while there it seemed a distant memory. Relax? Breathe? Huh? I’m simply doing what I can to survive. Yet I need my yoga like I need my child—it completes me. Better yet it keeps me sane. I snuck in 20 minutes of postures yesterday while the baby slept – bliss.
Then I realize I’ve been doing yoga the whole time.
Maybe not the postures, but mantra has become my best friend, as has simply noticing my feelings, the touch of my baby, the waves that come and go. Repeating “this too shall pass” literally got me through labour. When I could do nothing else, I repeated these words over and over and over again for hours. It worked. When my baby’s cries rip through my heart, I remember that it will pass.
My baby, my little family, are teaching me a new kind of yoga. A yoga where I recognize the impact of my thoughts on my actions, my desire for control and my reaction when any sense of control I have is crushed and incinerated. Being a parent means taking each moment, each day as it comes—just as labour can only be conquered one contraction at a time. My plans for today must be flexible. If the washing doesn’t get done, that’s okay. Still in my pajamas at 3pm? Oh well. I’m caring for my baby and that’s all that really matters.
Even if I don’t get onto my yoga mat I can be confident I’m still a yogini.
I practice every moment of every day.
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta