It’s taken me almost exactly 18 days since my little one has come home to finally be able to have a moment and write this post (having a sleeping baby is like a ticking time bomb---so I’ll type here as fast as I can). I guess I didn’t anticipate how much WORK it would be to take care of another human.
I’ve really kept to myself these past few months while going through such a personal time. I’ve been absent from the studio and missing our community of strong and powerful women. Strong and powerful, we really are. I had the “healthiest” pregnancy. I followed all the “rules”--I didn’t eat tuna, didn’t drink and even tried to stick to an all natural, organic and healthy diet. I exercised and taught class regularly, I listened to my body. On April 12th I went into labor at 29 weeks and delivered my daughter Clara. She weighed three pounds exactly.
My delivery experience is a blur. I know I had about 15 nurses and doctors in the room waiting to take Clara up to the NICU. They let me see her, They let Dad cut the cord, but just like that they stole her from me. People think that the NICU is just a place where babies grow, but these babies are strong little fighters. They are poked, prodded, transfused with blood and tested left, right and center.
I never thought that all in an instant I could experience so much love and so much pain. These past two months have been an emotional rollercoaster. Leaving the hospital without your baby is a parent’s worst nightmare. On June 12th, we proudly (finally!) brought her home.
These past few weeks have brought me so many emotions. I think it’s important to acknowledge what we go through as women. I don’t consider myself a “feminist” but I want to start a conversation--not to boast, to complain, but simply to support each other. I think that in our society today we don’t have enough hard conversations. Giving birth is like dying in some ways, you see the world so differently, your mind, body and spirit change. They change, they just do. You give up some part of yourself, some part of your identity that you cannot ever imagine would be gone until it is. Waking up every two hours for feedings that take an hour, getting shit on (literally) and constantly being covered in vomit is just one small aspect of it. You recognize that being a mom is hard. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. There is no room to be selfish anymore, and that’s perfectly ok but it’s a sacrifice you have to come to terms with. I’ve been spending these last two months thinking about what I want in my life, what advice I would give my daughter, what really matters. I’d tell her to be honest, always--even if it risks hurting someone or something. I’d tell her to gracefully speak her mind even if she doesn’t agree with something. I’d tell her to be loyal to the people who love her the most. I’d tell her to give 100%, 100% of the time and to always do her best.
For someone who is always thinking ten steps ahead, I shudder at the fact that I sat idle for so long. My daughter is a miracle in so many ways--she has taught me to slow down--something I don’t do well with. I feel like my pregnancy gave me the opportunity to sit back and observe the world around me. The ongoings of other businesses, their practices and the trends in fitness and spiritualism. What I see is a trendy facade of how spiritualism will make your life better---“Eat this organic kale smoothie and then do a meditation and your problems will go away”, “Dance under the stars and tattoo your foot and you’ll find happiness”, “Don’t judge your practice or your peers while watching that practice judge other practices and their peers”.
I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of it too, and since opening Mind Body Barre 6 years ago we’ve certainly rode the wave of trendy workouts & fad-like spiritual ideas but always try to stay true to what we believe. Here is what I’ve learned-- happiness, solitude and spiritualism does not come in a package you can add to your shopping cart. It’s not a “method” you can buy, or a book you can read. It comes from YOU being willing to do the work. It means you are ready to let go of anger, resentment, fear and address issues straight on--but to really let them go. I urge you to find your own practice in your own way, not by something that looks pretty on paper or shiny in the store.
So back to my conversation, I want to talk about what is challenging and I want to be raw and honest about it. I want to talk about how no one tells you that your vagina will tear open when you push a baby out (yep said it). I want to talk about how you spent the night crying because your finances are fucked up. I want to talk about how your family member is very sick and you spend your days and nights caring for them. I want to talk about all of it, I want to support you, and I want to come together as a community and find solutions for each other. I want to get back to giving back and I’m ready to take full charge, full speed ahead and to let go of the ideas that makes things seem impossible.
I feel something shifting, and I know you do too. Just wait for it, just wait.
Take a Class!