How do we stay centered in the moment during pregnancy?
Not jumping ahead nine months to when the baby will be here? Or to a time when we’ll be able to have our bodies back? Or when we think ‘real’ life starts?
How do we keep going every day and take care of ourselves all the while ensuring our healthy habits still stick after we deliver our babies?
How do we get up and be okay with a body that changes drastically everyday? How can our mind keep pace with our bodies? How do we stay centered when everything around us and the vessel we live in no longer feel familiar?
Why is it so important to keep the same daily practices throughout our pregnancies and after the babe is out?
If we keep the same healthy daily habits going on throughout the ups and downs of our pregnancies and after the baby is here, we can constantly return to that centered space.
The mat may seem smaller and shrink a little bit everyday during those 10 months. But it’s still our mat. Clothes get tight, breasts get swollen, but it’s still our kickass body.
How can we stay connected to ourselves in the midst of the greatest of life’s changes, and remember that it’s temporary? The mat will be the same mat before, during and after.
Eight-and-a-half months ago:
Our alarm goes off around 6:30 in the morning. Kevin gets up and makes us coffee. I get up and make the bed. I am groggy, but eager to start the day. I run through affirmations in my head while I slip on my yoga pants.
Every day in every way, I am more and more fit. The ones I love, love me. I love the morning. I love to practice and I love to run. I choose to eat impeccably and show up for myself every day, regardless of what’s going on in life. I take care of me, so I can show up for others.
I slip on my tank and add a thermal because it seems cold and my skin feels sensitive. A wave of vertigo hits me, and I grab the closet frame to steady myself and close my eyes until it passes.
I walk to my mat in the kitchen, kneel down and drink my coffee beside Kevin, closing my eyes. We meditate and practice pranayama. When I open my eyes again, I feel it, the wave of vertigo. I shake it off and begin our practice. About five sun A’s and three B’s in, I run to the bathroom and throw up. The night before I had one beer. One?
“Well,” I think to myself, “One beer and early mornings! I am just not the party animal I used to be. Ha.” I brush it off and go back to my mat.
Six-and-a-half months ago:
Five miles into a run, I think about how tight my running pants feel. I get this urge to rip them off right in the middle of the gym and my bra too! I step off the treadmill and try to stretch them out in front of me, but they are already stretched. I am not sure why I need more room.
“Maybe I am getting my period. Haven’t had that in a while. It’s that time for sure!” I continue to run. About 20 minutes, it hits me—I begin to sob, “A while?! I haven’t had it in months.”
I slam my hand onto the emergency stop button on the treadmill, grab my purse and sprint out of the gym. I cross the street without bothering to check for cars and I reach the pharmacy in less than two minutes. I buy the test and begin to panic with it in my hand.
Like some sort of thief, I wish I could steal it so I don’t have to think about the fact that I have to actually buy it.
Some how the confirmation of passing over my debit card makes it more real.
Clearly, I am in denial. I walk back to the gym in time to catch a ride with Kevin after his morning class. I ‘smoothly’ go straight to the bathroom and tell him I will be out soon to start our practice. I take three tests—all read positive within seconds. I am so pregnant I don’t even have to wait the 60 seconds. I walk out to the kitchen and crumble on to my mat and sob out, “I am pregnant, but I am still going to do handstands!”
Now. About 35 weeks pregnant:
I haven’t always been centered. Many could argue now that I am not. I have been selfish and insistent. I have been called ‘extreme’ and ‘nuts about working out’ but not in the complimentary sort of way. People are strong. People are very strong.
We move mountains. We change old grooves when it seems impossible. We have the power to undo bad things in our lives, simply by choosing to change our thoughts. And slowly our less-than-helpful ordinary habits, turn into extraordinary daily habits.
Kevin and I have practiced yoga daily for over eight years (separate and then together) in order to be able to carve out a clear sense of ourselves.
And to identify that we aren’t just living from other people’s experiences, but from our own experiences. It establishes a practice as a refuge or retreat from the world. So if for years I’ve practiced daily and found refuge on my mat, through running and within the teachings of yoga, why would I stop because I’ve become pregnant?
What a crucial time for me to practice and be present in my body.
Every practice is important. Living in the now makes everything in the present very relevant. If we could all really grasp that the present moment is the only thing that exists.
Nothing brings you back faster to the present moment than trying to do Chaturanga with a watermelon in your belly. My yoga practice has kept me very present. It kept me very aware that a life is growing inside me.
And that everything is about to get really interesting.
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Assistant Editor: Leace Hughes / Ed.: Catherine Monkman