Postpartum Practice + Patience
“It’s not only children who grow. Parents do, too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.” JOYCE MAYNARD
36 weeks pregnant | 6 weeks postpartum... Stella has been the star of my social media since lighting up my life – she's received more 'likes' than any handstand, beach shot or puppy I've ever posted! But I’ve received inquiries as to how I am doing since her arrival…
Emotional | All of the clichés are true – the love and maternal intuition far exceed the previously imaginable. I love her even more now than I did just one minute ago! I have moments of wondering if I could be doing more/better/right’er – self-imposed and allegedly quite normal. During these challenges, I call upon my practice and try to remember to breathe. Most of all, I am extremely blessed with the full support and true partnership of my husband, and his patience as I learn to fully accept support.
Even amidst times of total exhaustion (which are actually rare), I feel incredible. An exquisite combo of powerful (closer to Mother Earth and more saturated in the Universe since birthing Stella) surrender (I can not ensure that only magic touches her life)...
Physical | A bit sorer than I expected after a natural, intervention and complication-free labour and delivery (story to come!), but I think that maintaining my regular practices and diet throughout pregnancy immensely sped my recovery.
I gave birth at 36.5 weeks, and for all of those weeks I kept up my yoga, meditation, breath work, gym training, walking (all modified for my growing belly) – because it felt good to me, physically and emotionally… I also maintained my long-time vegetarian diet. The only real preggo craving I had was for cold fruit – frozen blueberries made me feel aliiive!
Recovery | We went on a short walk to the seafront when Stella was three days old. I did my first post-birth handstand on day five (very carefully and not recommended). Two and a half weeks postpartum, I went to a yoga class (slow and easy, truly listened to my body). Regular walks turned into gentle jogs at week four. And I hit the gym (lightly) at week five – with a program (would you like to see it?!) designed by my Olympic strength and conditioning coach husband, who sees what I need when I cannot see for myself, and encourages me to accept the time and space he offers.
Even having exercised as my belly expanded, I felt much weaker (mainly in my arms and core, and of course in my pelvic floor with which I am still extremely careful) after giving birth. Practicing the yoga that I preach – Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness) – has been key in gently embracing my new practice and life as a mother. Strength is returning, practice feels familiar, and all is well – mind, body, and soul.
With the arrival of my daughter, I have experienced many new beginnings within myself. Birth of bigger love than I knew existed, for both her and my husband. A consciousness-expanding sense of awe – we’ve created life. An initiation into the warrior-power of motherhood – praise on high to all women everywhere, and holymoly how did my own momma raise three at once?! And the concurrent birth of a father and a divine teammate in parenthood, in my soulmate. He inspires me to continue seeking and growing along with our daughter. He encourages and challenges me to maintain my me'ness as our family grows together. And he gracefully alleviates my guilt for doing those things.
*** Each mind, pregnancy, birth, postpartum body and soul are wildly different, and in those differences inherently, perfectly beautiful. As a lifelong yogini and athlete I know my body well, and I have the guidance of an expert in my husband – I am in no way suggesting that everyone should follow the same path during pregnancy or recovery. My way sure isn’t going to be everyones’ way! ***