My maternal instincts have always been strong, but I seriously doubted if I was 'cut out' to be a mom. Until I had experienced the loss of pregnancy, I didn't know how much I really wanted it. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and had a large fibroid tumor in my uterus, which was the cause of the miscarriage. Because of precancerous cells and the size of the tumor, my Dr prescribed hormone therapy (medical menopause) before the myomectomy. Hormones are unbelievably powerful and can create a lot of confusion in your entire body. I never felt more alone and sad than the day I woke up from surgery. But the thing is this, I didn't want to wake up. I didn't care about standing up so I could be released from the hospital. I wanted to hit that morphine button as many times as possible and just sleep!
This is where my yoga practice found me and the journey began... to heal myself.
I was teaching 4th grade and had to take Lexapro to make it through the school year because I couldn't stop crying long enough to put on my mascara in the morning. Self-care was not in my vocabulary but my BODY knew what to do. School was out for summer break, so that meant I could attend Friday morning Women's Yoga. My life turned on a dime when the opportunity to leave for yoga teacher training the next morning presented itself. Through deeper exploration of Yoga, a scientific, time-tested, 6,000 year-old system of self-improvement, I transformed into a healthy person, free from disease caused by stress and unhealthy living habits. I continue to strive for balance and overall well-being; the struggle is real, as they say. Mindfulness has become my anchor.
So, when I found myself healthy and Preggo, I was TERRIFIED. I mean don't get me wrong, I was beyond happy and grateful, but Oh, the FEAR. I had so many worries that I almost didn't enjoy my pregnancy. Worrying is a bad habit that I continuously battle. Worrying invites anxiety into your life which builds a nest for depression. Feeling in control in life is a critical issue for most of us, therefor feeling out of control creates a lot of anxiety. In yoga, we set our intention to be present in the moment, thus mindful. Present-Moment Awareness means we are mindful that when we have been thrown out of the present. Meditation makes it easier to be mindful. How do you know you've been "thrown out" of the moment? Well, that's when you find yourself trapped in your "monkey mind"-your thoughts... the story you are creating in your head - negative self-talk. You know, something like this:
"What if something goes wrong?" I calm my anxiety with pranayama.
"Dear Lord, how am I going to be a new mother at 40?"
I remind myself that women have been birthing children since before there were doctors to help. Breathing in, I calm my body, Exhaling out, I release anxiety.
I was very excited to test my yoga practice in child birth, however, that previous myomectomy called for a scheduled C-section. Alas, I was blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a 'scheduled delivery' 4 hours postponed (I ate a boiled egg for breakfast-no one told me not to...should I be someone's mother?) in a room that looked like a spaceship (on drugs).
Thank you, Universe, for delivering a happy healthy baby girl.
The transition into motherhood was not pretty but was a beautiful unfolding. This new layer of the onion being peeled back revealed a lot of self-doubt and uncertainty. Again with the worrying. "How am I ever going to get through breastfeeding for 6 months? Which is more painful, mastitis or C-section incision that is having allergic reaction to skin glue?" Take a deep breath...and repeat.
I did NOT have the 'perfectly decorated' baby room waiting for my daughter's arrival, but I did discover I have an unlimited amount of love...BIG LOVE! And love is all we need.
While breastfeeding took over my life and body, sleep deprivation teamed with hormones nearly drove me mad. I didn't think I was going to make it through and often thought of all the women I had worked with over the years who made it look easy-so to speak.
"Damn, it's a FULL TIME JOB being a mother. How'd they do it?" "Will I ever sleep again and shower regularly?" Will she EVER sleep through the night?" "I'll google it"... back to pranayama.
When my friend, Victoria, asked me when I was going to do a "Baby Yoga Class", it was like a light went off in my head, or rather, it was my brain turning back on. Mommy brain is a real thing, ya know. Thank goodness for Mommy and Me yoga! Even though I wasn't sure I could manage teaching a class (thinking clearly and communicating) while handling my own baby(worry and anxiety), something within urged me to go for it and told me it would be okay.
BrainDance is a very effective body/brain exercise based on eight developmental movement patterns babies move through in the first year of life to wire the central nervous system so that the brain can operate at its full potential. In 2007, I was lucky to study with Anne Greene Gilbert in Seattle for the Summer Dance Institute for Teachers. This is the first way I learned to reorganize the nervous system and fill in any neurological gaps due to trauma, injury or illness. Her research tied my background in dance to my experience in the classroom. Children need to move in order to learn. We all were made to move fluidly like waves in the ocean. The braindance can prepare children for learning and helps with appropriate behavior and social skills.
My classes are baby centered, brain-compatible creative movement, we sing nursery rhymes, we dance, and we talk. We connect, eye-to-eye, on the floor with our babies and we also make connections as Moms, oh, and dads and grandparents too...all caregivers, hence the name change to "Baby and Me."
I may never have figured out how to use that 360 sippy cup if it weren't for my baby yoga mama friends. I underestimated the value my heart and spirit would gain through these classes aka friendships. Thank you, Universe and thank you to all the moms (dads and grandparents) who showed up. It takes so much courage to gather yourself up and put yourself out there when you are feeling like you don't even know who you are anymore.
"And just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly." -proverb