When I found out I was pregnant I threw my diet out the window. I didn’t know much about being pregnant and knew nothing from firsthand experience, but I knew that if I felt restricted it wouldn’t be an easy road ahead. I spent much of those first few months in a junk food haze until I woke up after the Superbowl and said “no more.” I turned to fruits and veggies and had all sorts of delicious cravings in the healthy food department but my desire for green smoothies and too much broccoli had gone out the window. I snuck in delicious bacon covered donuts and ate to my hearts content.
As with most eating, it was a mask. I wasn’t eating to fuel myself and the little guy but rather to hide my feelings. In the beginning of my pregnancy I was ashamed that I didn’t like being pregnant. I’m a yogi after all: joy + rainbows and such. But it felt difficult. I was tired, I didn’t feel like practicing and I had the worst writers block on the planet. It just wasn’t joyful. I had the easiest physical pregnancy in the world, thank goodness… I just didn’t LIKE being pregnant. I could feel every movement he made, EVERYTHING that was happening I could feel energetically and physically and it was just exhausting.
Then everything changed. Zyan was born and it was and is the most magical time. I’m back to my body and the happiest I have been in a long time. My labor was easy and beautiful. My son entered this world covered in love and has been giving and receiving it since.
But it wrecked havoc on my body. These photos weren’t easy to take but I knew I needed them for many reasons: proof of where I had been, what my journey was and how I could share it with others. I took photos of my body in front of mirrors and in yoga poses along the way and in the last 7 months I have changed drastically and for many reasons. First, I wanted to come back into myself. Not necessarily losing the weight (which of course I wanted) but more to practice. I couldn’t lift myself in crow or feel powerful in warrior without a lot of strain and exhaustion and if I couldn’t do those poses with ease, how was I supposed to chase Zyan around once he was mobile?
The very first day after he was born, I started doing simple stretches in bed: a few seated twists and a forward fold all done in the safety of my hospital bed. I was told not to move too quickly as I wouldn’t heal well and so I promised myself I would move once a day no matter what that looked like.
The first week postpartum was a blur. Insane hours with a beautiful newborn who was nursing like a champ and making everyone around him want to cuddle and take naps. I slept when the baby slept but in those rare moments I was awake when he was asleep, I did a half sun salutation. I did a few half suns in the first week and started to feel a little bit of my fascia stretch and come awake and alive again.
On the second week I was sick of being cooped up and decided to go for a walk. There is a fabulous coffee shop down the street from our old apartment and I would walk there every or every other morning to grab a cup of coffee: 0.5 miles total. At home after I would sit quietly with my coffee and do a simple twist.
By the time I was four weeks postpartum I had walked up to 3 miles and was practicing regularly at home. I had the autumn equinox workshops to teach and wanted to at least be able to move my body and connect to others while teaching. I didn’t need to be in shape or “working out” too hard but at least enough to model some poses. Exactly four weeks after Zyan came into this world, I taught my first yoga class.
I felt amazing after teaching those two workshops and was already starting to “get my groove back” so to speak. I felt empowered and not the least bit exhausted. I continued on this path and was feeling great, but oddly I had started to bleed again (not a good sign). I called and was told that if I was bleeding after my walks, it was normal and I was going too fast. I was listening to my body but also being overzealous. I knew I needed to rest and took 4 days off of any movement. I rested. I napped. I recovered. And then I got back on the horse and kept moving.
Two months after he was born I was back to teaching twice weekly classes regularly and had been approved to workout. I phoned my friend who is a personal trainer and started working with her once a week on top of practicing yoga at home and on the mat whenever I had childcare and a moment to myself. My road to recovery after pregnancy was easy because I wanted to embody my inner mama bear. After Ziggy was born I knew I needed to be in the best shape of my life in order to run after him and this morning I couldn’t be more grateful than to be where I am right now. It’s not my ideal body or my ideal weight but I feel damn good and as I watch him crawl/run/slink away from me towards those outlets he’d love to chew: I am so grateful I’m faster than he is! As the mama of a boy I know it’s crucial that I’m faster than him. I always want to be able to play in the dirt and run and haphazardly throw footballs in his direction (I won’t be good, but I can sure as hell try).
My confidence is through the roof at the moment and I know it’s because I’m a mama. I am still conscious and very self-aware. There are days when I’m tugging at my shirt to get it back down over my hips and I’m not quite yet ready to rock that pink bikini I have my eye on – but I’m getting there day by day.
And so instead of overanalyzing every wrinkle and roll in the postpartum photos I have taken, I am celebrating them. Those bacon covered donuts didn’t fuel me or Zyan and I’m certain they all went to my hips instead of his belly or my aching heart, but at the time I needed to eat them. I don’t regret one moment or morsel last year and couldn’t be happier to be where I am in this moment.
Being his mama changed me to the core. He gave me more joy than I could’ve ever imagined, more love and happiness than I can describe. And he gave me the confidence to step forward every day in life through my writings and teachings. I love him so much and when I look at all these photos all I can see now is that effervescent joy and those rainbows that are shooting out of both of us.
This mama bear confidence is so much different than ever before. I’m stronger, happier and more confident than I ever have been.
Thank you Zyan for letting your mama in on the secret to life: confidence arrives with love. Both self-love and the intense love of those around you. Thank you for leading me on this incredible journey, especially because I resisted the hard parts. It made the experience even better knowing that on the other side of last years journey would be YOU and the rest of my lifetime. Thank you for making me a mama, for choosing me to be the one to guide you in this lifetime and on this earth. I am so proud of both of us for how far we have come already and cannot wait to see the rest of our journey ahead.
I am so happy to get on my mat tonight and teach. I’m blessed to be back in my mindset as a writer with the block entirely gone. And this body finally feels on track. I’m treating my temple well with whole foods and deliciously difficult workouts and soothing yoga sessions. I’m meditating and reading spiritual books once more. Mama bear confidence is an entirely new kind of living and I am honored to be living in this new truth.
Get out there. Live your truth. Do yoga. Make the world sparkle