Putting The Scale Away

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a scale readily available. It has always been a natural part of my morning or (sometimes and) evening to just step on and check in. It’s how I judged how I was doing. If the number was down, I was doing well. If the number was up, I needed to make a change. Sometimes, seeing that number could change my mood dramatically in one direction or another.

In the last week, I’ve made friends with my body in some new and important ways. Instead of feeling the difficulty of everything it’s been through, I felt connected. Coming back to my practice was inspiring. I rediscovered how, with breath and gentle movements, tightness could lessen, my body could begin to open and let go. And, at the same time, how, without fear, I could increase the intensity of my movement, empowering me to find new limits and immense satisfaction. I have felt stronger, more at ease and sexier than I have in a long time. I have felt all of these things in this new changed mom body. And, I’ve loved it. Until I stepped on the scale.

Despite a steady dropping number, the number suddenly went up the other day. Not drastically, barely. But, it went up. And, I found myself feeling bad. Feeling bad about this body I had just felt so comfortable in. Feeling bad about all the things I had been enjoying, as though they weren’t enough. 

Then I realized, each moment, being in my body is a mindful experience. On the mat, I tune in, I enjoy. I honor where I am based on how it feels. I never practice in front of a mirror, because that doesn’t tell me where I really am.  We don’t have mirrors at the studio because I feel they take people out of their practice, out of feeling where they are, pushing them toward the possibility of injury both physical and mental. My scale, while perhaps “accurate”, has become a distorted mirror.  It takes me away from being with my body, exploring what it has to offer and honoring where I am. It takes the playfulness and sexiness out of these curves and the beauty out of what my body is able to rediscover and provide in its new state. And, it is causing me mental and, when I push myself too far to make the number move, physical injury. 

So, I’m putting it away for now. I’m going to savor this changed body and see what feels right for it, not by the pound, but by the sensations.  Each time I find myself judging, wishing the weight would come off sooner, or imagining a version of myself that does not currently exist, I’m going to think of that juicy, fulfilling feeling I get on the mat when I release into a new pose. I’m going to tune inward, placing my highest value on what my body and not my overactive brain tells me. Like leaving a to-do list at the door when I step into the studio,  I’m not throwing it out–it will be there for me if I need it again. I’m just putting it away in order to be here right now.

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The Process

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of process lately. Specifically, how do you know where you are in a process? How do you know when you’re ready for the next step? As I’ve alluded to in many other posts, I’m not always so good at the process. I get an idea and I do it, I run with it and make it work. That’s typically where I find myself thriving–in creating and getting things done. 

The thing is, lately, I find myself in a new stage where the process is completely out of my hands. With Drew, for example, I’ve read book after book about how his age correlates to his development. For instance, regarding sleep, I’ve read all about what the experts say you’re supposed to do from one week to the next–spoil to your heart’s content, don’t create bad habits now, etc. I read a book, I get a plan. Ok, here’s what we’re going to do in order to get him to sleep longer at night, I tell Ben (my hubby). I get very excited by the plan and putting it into action. And then, I realize, the implementation is just so messy. Drew isn’t textbook, what babies are? I find myself confused as to where we are in the process. One book says here, another says there. And then there’s this adorable little man who sometimes falls asleep peacefully on his own and other times wails unless I’m holding him.  One moment something seems to “work,” the next it’s a complete fail. And, another plan falls apart…

Sure, babies are unpredictable. But, I’m finding this to be the case even dealing with myself. I had my 6 week (at 7 weeks) check up with my midwife this week. I’ve been walking since Drew’s birth, but not doing much else. I, like many other women, have struggled a bit with my postnatal body. I LOVE breastfeeding and am grateful for everything my body is able to do for me and for Drew. But, I’m critical of the extra weight, antsy for it to come off. And, at the same time, want to honor everything my body has been through not just with the pregnancy and labor, although that was a lot, but also through the whole infertility process. I didn’t want to push anything and risk slowing the healing process. There’s that word again. Twice. I was so afraid of where I might be within all these processes before I went to my appointment. Would she tell me I could finally push myself in exercise again and, more importantly, begin to really practice yoga again? Would she tell me I had been to active already and my stitches and tearing had not healed and I had another while to go? I had NO idea where I was in the process, but had so many places I wanted to go, plans I wanted to put to work.

Well, she cleared me. Everything is healing perfectly. I began more intense cardio workouts and longer, more challenging yoga sessions immediately. That was my plan. But, you know what?  My body, which had been aching for these releases, is now aching because of them. It’s not ready to move directly from point A to point B. Like my beautiful son, my beautiful body is currently somewhere in the undefined middle.

As I come to realize over and over again, the living is in the middle of all these processes. It’s not about getting Drew on a perfect sleep schedule or my body back into tip top shape. It’s about getting to know my adorable little son–what he needs, what he wants, who he is. And, it’s about getting to know my forever changed body–what it needs, what it wants and who I am. It’s about honoring what I find, allowing myself to change the plan when necessary and to let go of the idea that I need to get somewhere. I am somewhere. Here. And, being here is the process. 

Hello Old Friend

Made it back to my mat tonight for the first time since baby’s arrival. I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading my return.  My body aches from the many new and awkward positions it has  assumed over the last few weeks and longs for the release. But, there are nagging questions as well. Am I healed enough? What will I find when I attempt the movements my body used to know so well?

I didn’t plan it. But, after a difficult time putting Drew down to sleep, minute after minute leaning over to soothe him, I knew what I needed. I unrolled my old friend and found myself in child’s pose. The smell of my mat is what hit me first. So familiar. It somehow made me feel more like myself. I took it easy– a slow 20 min practice geared toward what my body was asking for–side stretches, twists, hamstring love–and nothing more. There was no music, only the sound of my little one breathing from the monitor. There was an occasional grunt, which I’d respond to in my head with a plea for a few more minutes so I could finish my practice. This was immediately followed by an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I had time to get to my mat at all.

I wouldn’t call us besties again just yet. But, I’m happy we are back in touch and look forward to rebuilding our sacred friendship.

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We’re Both at Six Weeks

When you read all the articles and books about the postpartum period, the six week mark feels like this magical number. All of a sudden your body is healed–you can exercise, you can have sex, you’re apparently back to your old self. Of course, any new mom will tell you this is crazy talk.

We had a rough labor and between that, the pregnancy, and the treatments prior, my body became somewhat unrecognizable to me. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Getting to know a constantly changing body has allowed me to be more mindful of how I feel physically, what my limitations are, and to be better about honoring them. But, it has also been a long time since I’ve felt like “myself.”

The old me didn’t magically reappear when I woke up this morning. But, thinking about it, she’s definitely starting to. She’ll be forever changed, in some ways for the better, and maybe in some for the worse, which I’ll need to continue making friends with. I don’t feel fully healed physically, but I’ve been adding more walking to my daily routine and may begin a gentle walk back into yoga, which my body is desperately craving. I’ll wait for the real go ahead from my midwife next week. But, in the meantime, I’ll trust what my body tells me, which like my six week old son, is full of new changes and surprises every day.

Six Weeks Tomorrow

Tomorrow it will be six weeks since he arrived. In some ways, it’s still hard for me to believe he’s here. In others, it’s hard for me to believe he hasn’t always been with us.  It’s difficult for me to put into words what this journey has been like and what it has meant to me. When we began our last cycle, I made the video below. I made it to stay positive and inspired. I made it to remember all the love, support and strength we had within us and showered upon us along this challenging road. I made it to capture the hope I needed to have in order to move forward.

At the time, the video ended immediately after the fun part on shots with a slide that said: We’ll see you when we see you. I didn’t know if this cycle was the one, but I knew eventually one would be. It turns out, it was this one. A few weeks ago, we changed the ending…

(Please excuse the many grammatical errors.  I blame them on crazy hormones and lack of sleep!!)

Music: All This Time by One Republic from the album Waking Up.