Babies, babies everywhere…they seem to be on their way into the lives of many of our beloved friends, family and mentors here at oneOeight. Rachel’s “poppyseed” has set off a chain reaction lovefest. Amelia’s legacy with Landon and now Lily’s joy makes us cry and laugh as they made the way through this last year…Coral’s pregnancy at 43 preparing for “what is being let go to make space for all that is coming” keeps us in that state of hope and anticipation; Jennifer’s birth and sharing the adoring and adorable Charlie, taking him on the road to Italy for her incredible workshop recently, we can’t get enough of the excitement and transitions underway.
Kimberly’s “little bub” seems to barely slow her down traveling with his mum all over the globe, publishing her newest collaboration, with that smile that seems never-ending. Now Rachel, our very own YOGA GIRL becoming inspired to film many more prenatal yoga offerings added to the existing array online. You will be inspired by Rachel’s new videos, but don’t forget the great prenatal advice from Alexis and Amelia on the MOVE platform. Our hearts are full as this explosion of new life, and new yogi mamas and babies. How many are imaging Rachel and Dennis as new parents? We are mesmerized.
Fall months take me back to the return to school, always learning, and the renewal that last week’s autumnal equinox inspired. Can you feel the energies shifting and the sense of promise as our friends and mentors demonstrate how they are juggling the changes in their bodies, their psyche, their soul and their families? We are growing together. Many of our Guides are already parents and share their experiences at the many stages of the never-ending journey with their kids. We all relate to the many ways we parent: our children, our nieces and nephews, our friends who are pregnant and their little ones we love along the way, our precious animals that are crucial family members. Really we should honor Mothering and Fathering Days, since we share it so much.
So, if you are inspired by these pregnancies, please note a few thoughts to consider.
Many women grow weary of the comments about their body feeling on display and the subject of public commentary and scrutiny. They may not particularly welcome comments about their belly, or the implication they are too small, or too big, eating enough, too much or never quite sure. While mostly the questions are well intended compliments and genuine questions, take a moment to pause and consider. Just because you are eager to ask or offer observations, does she want or need to hear it just now?? How would it feel to have someone unsolicited, touch your stomach with a comment about its size? Some pregnant women are super eager to talk about the changes, but how about allow them to guide the conversation? Maybe think twice and don’t assume because they are pregnant they are comfortable with the changes underway. Or always ready to discuss the most intimate details of their pregnancy. Let her take the lead and follow with empathy and compassion. These questions may well stir the myriad of worries many new mothers are preoccupied with: is my baby okay, will they be healthy, what is happening to my body, and the classic “Does this pregnancy make me look fat?” (yes, there is a great book by that name, by Claire Mysko, the current Executive Director of the National Eating Disorders Association). While there may be many moments of joy and acceptance at the miracle of pregnancy, refrain from comments about size, weight or body based judgements. You may mean to be caring; it may not be received that way. Too many women struggle with their body image and self-acceptance, pregnancy may not be the panacea.
My passion teaching prenatal yoga began back in graduate school and evolved into the research that became my doctoral dissertation. I love working with pregnant women teaching how to weave their yoga practice, and related principles to learn, prepare for childbirth and parenthood, and traverse this sacred journey. The words of Pattabhi Jois: “Do your practice and all is coming,” reminds us that the “doing” of asana practice actually teaches us to be present in our humanity and humility. The high and challenging practice of “not doing: (yoga asanas, for example) is an essential aspect of the practice of life. Especially bringing new life forward. While many of the yogi masters and origins were developed by men, the yoga women have been taking their place at the table and making their needs and knowledge known. Let your body be your guide. Let your mothers and sisters, by birth or choice, also share their wisdom.
Many women find the half way point of pregnancy brings some powerful emotional, physical and psychic transformations. Make room in your heart for this time and listen with curiosity and wonder. As your pregnancy sets the pace, learn to listen to the wisdom of resting when tired, moving when inspired, feeding as much as you need to and setting the endless tapes of internalized critics to hush and “mind their own business!”. This time in pregnancy is a glimpse of what will come as you near childbirth. Developing that deepening state of listening is crucial for the transition from pregnancy through labor and delivery to welcoming the next generation. Treat this time with wonder.
If you love and are supporting someone through this journey, say less and listen more. Bear witness so she knows you are eager to join with her in this time of immense feeling. Allow all that comes to be your clue how to follow.
“When the sun has set, and the moon has set, and the fire has gone out and speech has stopped, what light does a person here have? The soul, indeed is light, for with the soul, indeed, as the light, one sits, moves about does one’s work, and returns.” – Brhadaranyaka Upanisad
Namaste and Love,