Part two of my analysis of the question "are you pregnant" that has come my way in the last few weeks and has made me really sit down and unpack this statement. Outside of my own wrestling with body image postpartum, these encounters have really stayed with my lately. I felt it was important to sit down with them and really give them my attention to understand why they were brining up such strong feelings for me. Here's part 2 of 3 of that exploration (if you missed part 1, check it out here)...
Over the course of the last several months I have had several students ask me if I'm pregnant. Being a yoga teacher, I'm often "on display" in front of students. I'm moving, sometimes wearing tight yoga clothes and my focus is on teaching not on what my body looks like. That being said I am NOT pregnant, I am two years postpartum and while it comes from a place of curiosity and interest I have several problems with this question. Here is my first issue (part 1 of 3):
Okay, so maybe you've had the experience postpartum of having to reorganize your breasts in your bra before leaving the house? I can't tell you how many times I have looked down and found one nipple to be totally off-center in relationship to the other one. It was one of those days. And so I reach in to reorganize and as my fingers hit my nipple and I had a moment of thinking
"Oh my god, what is that? Is that me? Is that my nipple?" In that moment, I physically did not know my own body. It was funny and also a bit unsettling.
Waiting for baby to arrive can be hard, waiting for baby to arrive after we've passed our due date can be even harder. I always like to tell students to think about it as a "due month" rather than a "due date." Anywhere from three weeks before to two weeks after your due date baby can arrive. This can take some of the pressure off that magical due date (on which only about 1% of babies are actually born!). With that in mind, once we pass our due date our care providers may start to encourage us to do things to get labor going. There's tons of tips and tricks out there but here are 3 quick things you can do that can help baby drop into position if that's what is keeping labor from starting.
I was at the gym the other day with my daughter packing up to go home. I had her sitting facing me while I gathered our things and an older woman walked up. She commented on my daughter's long hair (she has the hair of a 4 year old) and asked how old she was, 11 months. She then started saying "oh I remember when my daughter was that age..." and I braced myself. Anyone else have that happen? Well meaning strange stops to ask you about your kid and then proceeds to give you unsoliticited advice on how to range your kid? Oh just me? Anyway, so I braced myself...
A few weeks ago I was able to get myself to a yoga class. A yoga class, all by myself. Not one at home with my 11 month crawling around me and on me, not a 5 minute practice on her playmat during nap time or after she went to sleep, but an honest to goodness yoga practice at a yoga studio. Don't get me wrong, I've happily been embracing these smaller yoga practices that I squeeze in throughout my days as mamahood has changed immeasurable things in my life, my yoga practice being only a small thing in that long list, but I will say it felt freeing to go practice on my own.
A friend of mine recently had a blessingway ceremony as part of her baby shower. For those unfamiliar with blessingways, they can be a beautiful way to offer guidance, support and community to mamas as they prepare for their birth. They can be as simple as a circle of friends sharing stories and wisdom or can be much more elaborate in offering ceremonies to nourish and honor the mama-to-be. Something I've seen many times is the creating of a bracelet for the mama-to-be with beads offered by each participant and a blessing to go along with it. The beads can then be made into a bracelet or necklace that the mama will wear during the birth to remind them of the community supporting them.
In our last blog post we talked about ways you could modify your yoga practice in the first trimester to help account for some of those common aches, pains and discomforts that arise. As we look to the 2nd trimester, many folks consider this to be the honeymoon period. And for many people it feels that way...especially if they have experience nausea, morning sickness and exhaustion in the 1st trimester. That doesn't mean, however that the 2nd trimester is without its own new range of fun experiences to be had in the body. Here are some of the most common 2nd trimester complaints and how to modify your yoga practice to adjust for them:
As a postnatal yoga teacher, I saw countless new parents coming to class with tight necks, shoulders and chests from holding, rocking, carrying and feeding their new babies. I looked at the pain those parents were experiencing and vowed that I wouldn’t be that new parent. I would make time for myself, I would stretch, I would take care of myself.
Fast forward to 8 weeks postpartum, as I was getting back into some of my regular activity and the help of my partner and my mom was gone during the days. I was tight, I was sore and I WAS that new parent I swore I would never be. I had let go of my self-care routines, focused solely on baby, and was now paying the price in body pain. And was this really a bad thing in hindsight? Not necessarily, but what I came to realize is that I was keeping myself from releasing some of this pain because I had certain expectations.
When I was newly pregnant I found myself worrying all the time. Worrying about baby's development, worrying about what mysterious thing could happen to me during pregnancy and worrying about the birth. I had no idea what I worry I could be, but I sure found out. Between the knowledge I had coming into pregnancy and birth as a prenatal teacher, combined with reading and internet searches, I found worry could be an easy constant companion in my pregnancy. I also found very quickly that I needed a practice to help me navigate that. Below is a practice I used during my pregnancy to help with anxiety and worry (the great thing? we keep having those feelings as parents to so you can continue to use this practice postpartum).
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.