I never thought I’d do this. But, I’ve done it. For the last few weeks I’ve been participating in an instagram yoga challenge. Basically, you follow the hashtag, #babybouncebackchallenge and each day all the people participating post a picture of themselves in the day’s designated asana, often with their baby. You can check them out in the sidebar here.
I always thought yoga challenges seemed to focus on the wrong thing. They emphasized making a pose look pretty for the camera, rather than the real yoga of accepting where you are and working to fully express the pose for you in the time and place you’re at. But I’ve learned a bit in this challenge. Because it’s a bunch of postpartum moms, you really get that acceptance of where you’re at more overtly than with other challenges. For me, it’s been really wonderful to connect with my friends in Australia who have had babies since we all did lots of yoga together years ago. It’s also great to read about the challenges and joys other moms face with their physical body, their lack of sleep, their stress, and their overwhelming love for their babies. It helps me remember that, though I don’t have a lot of friends around me with kids, I’m not alone.
Cody is a sweet, wonderful baby. I’m told there aren’t many like him, and that I shouldn’t expect such an easy-going baby when we go for round two. And that’s OK. I can accept that. He is a joy. His smiles warm my heart, his chatter is so playful ad sweet, and his squishy thighs are my favorite things to squeeze. He makes me so incredibly happy. I want a million of him. But, that doesn’t negate the challenges. I felt like my brain was running at about 50% for the first 6 months postpartum. I still don’t ever sleep through the night – even if Cody does occassionaly. I struggle to manage my time between work, play, Cody, and trying to care for and support myself. One of the hardest pieces of rediscovering myself amidst all this change has been the issue of accepting myself each day for where I am in my life. I am still breastfeeding him, and I hope to continue as long as I can. But that said, breastfeeding poses its own challenges in rediscovering yourself as a mom. I had heard over and over again before having Cody that breastfeeding just causes all the baby weight to fall off. I’m here to tell you, that is not true in all cases. When I got pregnant, almost immediately I put on about 10 pounds. Maybe it was the hormones, because even though I didn’t eat a lot during the first trimester, I packed on the lbs. Well, now I think it’s those last hormonal 15 pounds that may not ever leave me – at least as long as I’m breastfeeding. And, as I’ve googled this endlessly, I’ve realized that there are those who lose weight effortlessly while breastfeeding, and then there are people like me. We keep a nice literal and figurative cushion for the uncertainties in life, I suppose. I think as an early human this would probably have been advantageous evolutionarily. Now, it really just keeps me from fitting in my pants. It’s not the end of the world, but it gets under my skin and it means that I still don’t really feel like myself yet. That’s not to say I feel bad – each day I have built in time to snuggle with my baby and provide him with sustenance and nurturing. Breastfeeding is magical – both because it is such a joy to be with my baby and feel connected to him, but also because it gives me superpowers. For example, baby is crying and overtired. He has had dinner, a bottle, had a nice back scratch – but nothing is working to settle him down. What to do? Boob. That’s what. They are the ultimate baby problem solvers. As someone who has never had any other real use for these organs, I’m sure thankful for them now.
But yes, the pants thing. That’s kind of a problem for me. I work out, yo. I just rode my bicycle over Trail Ridge Road. I run like 4 times a week and do lots of yoga. I just happen to show little to no progress in losing that baby weight. So, I’m working towards self-acceptance while striving to express myself as best I can in the time and place I’m at in my life. See how we came full circle with that? Yoga. So good.
Ok, off to work. I can’t believe I hadn’t blogged since June. Babies…