One year ago today I started yoga teacher training! It seems sort of surreal… did that really happen? I was a totally different person then. And a new person again by the time I graduated. And then I birthed yet another version of myself when I brought my fifth baby earthside on Christmas day. I wonder who I will be next Valentine’s Day?
As I reminisced about my first weekend of yoga teacher training, looking over my notes and recalling so many beautiful epiphanies and experiences, I thought… gosh I miss this. It has been several months since I had a daily yoga/meditation practice (a casualty of the third trimester, I suppose). Given a choice between doing yoga or relaxing/sleeping/taking a bath, well… yoga lost just about every time.
I think maybe I need this beautiful watercolor painting created by one of my yogi friends Siri Kirti Kaur. Yogi Bhajan always urged his yoga students: “Keep up and you will be kept up.”
On a somewhat related note… Thursday morning I finally got in to see a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum mental health. My original appointment had been scheduled for December 29th, but with a brand new baby, stitches, and throbbing cantaloupes on my chest, I wasn’t feeling up to it, so I rescheduled.
Let’s just say neither of us made the best first impression. As I panicked, stuck in morning traffic, running late to my appointment with my baby screaming in the back seat, the doctor called to find out where I was, saying, “It’s kind of hard to start a session if you’re not here.”
Oh… Hello, Shame… haven’t talked to you in quite a while. Under less sleep-deprived, less baby-screaming circumstances I might have been able to identify the shame and send it quickly on its way, but instead I let it take a seat in my heart and poke around for a while. Not fun.
I had called the office several minutes before (once I realized I would be late) and left a message (since no one answered) letting them know. I texted my husband while I sat in a line of cars at a red light, “Please pray for me! Baby is screaming. Stuck in traffic. Running late. Need to get there ASAP!” I knew I should have left earlier, but baby decided she was hungry right when I should have been out the door, so I decided to quickly feed her. Postpartum moms are sort of ruled by the baby’s schedule rather than the other way around, convenient or not. And I had no idea just how bad traffic would be… ’cause I try not to be awake (let alone driving) at 7:30 a.m. if I can avoid it. I don’t remember scheduling the appointment for rush-hour, but apparently it was the only slot available.
Yes, I’m feeling a little defensive, can you tell? ;-)
I guess I would have expected the therapist (who was a midwife for fifteen years and is passionate about helping pregnant and postpartum women) to instead say something like:
Hello, Lani, Is everything OK? I noticed that you were running a few minutes late. Oh I can hear your baby in the background. Sounds like it has been a rough morning. I know how hard it is to get out the door with a newborn, especially early in the morning. Would it help to schedule your next appointment for later in the day? Great. We’ll definitely do that next time. Just drive safely and get here when you can. It’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to meeting you.
A first impression like that would have been totally and completely awesomesauce. Empathy is excellent.
Anyway… once the doctor saw my teeny tiny baby, I think she had a better understanding of my tardiness, but even so things were a little stiff between us for the first few minutes. Once we got talking, I was relieved that we were able to improve the rapport. After all the stress about what was going to happen to me postpartum, reporting to her that I’ve been doing really well was such a relief. I’m happy! Hooray! My main reason for the appointment was to establish care with someone who could take over prescribing my SSRI medication, something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while, and it was getting a little bit urgent since I was about to run out of happy pills.
The one thing she urged me to improve was exercise. She emphasized, as most of us already know, that exercise is one of the best things we can do to boost our natural feel-good hormones. Combining exercise with morning sunshine is even better. She was thrilled to hear that I am a yoga instructor and use meditation for its mental health benefits, and she strongly urged me to get back into my daily practice (and to include my kids).
So that was a really long and round-about way to say that I am hoping and planning to reincorporate yoga and meditation in my life again. And once my baby is a little older, I would like to get back into teaching again. In fact, my midwife asked if I would teach some classes at the birth center. Definitely hoping it works out. In the meantime, I’ll be working on myself.