I don’t always blog, but when I do, I prefer to have something meaningful to say. In case you haven’t gotten the memo, I’m almost 5 months pregnant. Initially I had all these (delusional) ideas that I was going to have this fantastic, fit, super healthy, perfect pregnancy – logically, that would make sense because I’m a yoga teacher. But my visions of daily prenatal yoga followed by tea with other mommies-to-be while chatting about what baby slings were best were quickly dashed when I experienced a common but initially terrifying complication called subchorionic hematoma at twelve weeks. And then I quickly learned that I am not in control. Of pretty much anything.
Yes, I’ve talked a good game over the past several years about letting go, surrender, non-attachment and so forth, as many yoga teachers do. I thought I knew about that through job transitions and relationships, but nothing quite compares to this new experience of expecting.
So the hematoma (blood clot) had me laid up for a solid three weeks of maximum rest, and then another 3 weeks before I was allowed to exercise. In hindsight, not so bad, considering at this point they tell me everything is fine. During those six weeks, at moments it seemed like torture to be still, as I’m used to practicing yoga fairly often, not only for physical but for mental and emotional health. Binge watching Netflix (I finished the entire 3 seasons of Scandal) was sufficiently distracting. Cupcakes also helped, as did puppy-snuggles. Again, I thought “Gee, I should really use all this free time to be productive, get stuff done, and do work!” Yeah, that didn’t happen. It was really hard to focus. Plus I’m convinced pregnancy brain has me a little loopier than usual, and not interested in anything nearly as much as my baby girl.
I’ll get to the point – what this pregnancy has taught me so far is that I’m not in control- and for me, for years, control equates with perfection. But I’m not in control of my body, this pregnancy, how her birth goes, and how things will go once she arrives. I’m not in control of how my career will take shape once this new job as mommy is added to my resume. I’ve also come to realize there’s no perfect pregnancy or parenting plan – there are so many different ways to go about things – whether it’s home birth versus hospital birth, co-sleeping versus sleep training – there are infinite options. Everyone has an opinion, but different choices work for different lifestyles and parenting styles. We’re all entitled to our choices without judgment.
Somehow, the realization that nearly everything is out of my hands has brought a sense of calm over me. It also helps to be working with a midwife who I trust completely. Which is amazing because I had anticipated being fairly anxious during pregnancy. Instead, there’s a newfound sense of profound trust that things are going to go exactly as they should, without me having to push to achieve a certain outcome. I’m calm, present, and happy. Maybe this is what “letting go” is actually about, and parenthood will be the greatest yoga practice of all.
Yoga found Jamie Hanley in 2003, when her mom sent her a “Little Book of Yoga” in the mail while at college with a note that read something to the effect of, “you seem stressed, I hear this helps.” From the floor of her tiny college apartment to a handstand in her first “real” yoga class, it was love at first asana. Since then she has completed YogaWorks 500 hour teacher training, as well as several trainings in restorative and therapeutic applications of yoga, and obtained a M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. In 2009 she opened Elevate Yoga studio, which brings a safe and welcoming yoga environment to students of all levels. Jamie’s mindful classes are rooted in compassion and intention while focusing on groundedness, safety, and alignment. To learn more about Elevate Yoga or join us for classes, please visit elevateyoga.net