We’re on 13 weeks of life for Alice Matilda. 13 of the wildest days and nights of my life. In summary, a word that sums up the journey so far would be ‘intense’.
I’ve experienced every feeling on the spectrum – and not in a light shade. We’re talking all out, fully filled and vibrant.
Love for her, for my partner…for the miracle of life – intense x 1,000.
Fear (am I doing this right?) – intense.
Concern because she’s slept for more than five hours at night so you jump out of bed to make sure she’s still breathing) – intense.
Joy because she just smiled at us for the first time – intense.
Peace laced with the biggest heart expansion because she’s fallen asleep on my chest – intense.
And before she came along I thought I was living my yoga. I’d practice my asana (the postures) diligently and with gusto. I’d be a nice person, a kind and thoughtful lover, a good role model for my team at Flow Athletic living the values of yoga as best I could and someone who took their spiritual life quite seriously. i.e. if I wasn’t practicing asana or meditating twice a day for 20 minutes, I was a bad yogi.
Now, having been thrown into the crazy world of Motherhood (and you think you have an idea of how it will be but there’s absolutely nothing that can prepare you for what’s to come) I can honestly say I was only just scratching the surface of what it truly is to live my yoga. And I have a hunch I’ll only ever scratch the surface in one lifetime.
I’m not saying you have to be a parent to know what it is truly live it. I know plenty of yogis who are so not because they’re a Mum or Dad but because they’ve experienced the full plethora of emotions and all kinds of challenging situations, have leant into the discomfort and have learnt to be more resilient as a result. I’m talking those who have climbed mountains (literally and emotionally); those who have lost loved ones; survived cancer; gone bankrupt; experienced domestic violence or just been victorious against the odds.
And although most days there isn’t time for me to drop and practice my sun salutes, here’s three ways (I think that’s all I can handle right now)I am endeavouring to practice my yoga and how challenging, love-filled, exhausting and altogether wonderful situations teach us to live out yoga – no asana (or baby) required.
If I had a dollar for every time she’s cried and my whole body has tensed into a tiny ball of nerves, I’d be a wealthy woman in these short 13 weeks. The cries trigger panic and the panic triggers fight or flight. Unfortunately you can’t fly so you have to stay and fight but I’ve learnt that’s its healthier for you and your tiny human to fight gently; to fight tenderly and to know that crying is a form of communication and the only way they know how to tell you ‘something’s up’. Remaining calm is my superpower and it’s all in the mind which triggers a sense of relaxation in the body – which she feels, only always.
If anything teaches you to roll with the punches or go with the flow, it’s bringing up a tiny human. Just when I think I had something figured out – her sleep patterns, her feeding times, her play times and length of each of these things – she goes ahead and has some kind of developmental change which causes change in her routine. Initially this used to get me frustrated because it meant I couldn’t plan anything. But she’s calling the shots, at least for the first few months of life, and my ‘boobs’ are hers so I’ve just gotta roll with the punches and give entirely to her needs. Each day presents something new and the lesson is to lean into that – not push against it.
Having battled an eating disorder in my teenage years – something that mentally lingers long after – I don’t want my little girl to have the same hang ups. Nor do I want her to question her intelligence, creativity and self worth in general. And although I know it’s her journey and she’s been put here to communication her own messaging and experience her own ‘stuff’, I want to lead by example. And I don’t want her to hear me shit talking myself (nor anyone else for that matter). She’s motivating me to be the best version of myself; to love myself wholeheartedly and to be ok with my forgetfulness and so called imperfections. Every day is a work in progress for this one.