Day to day life has changed significantly in the last 4 years. I went from living a life of independence, career, and opportunity to settling into stay at home motherhood in the midst of finding out who I really am. Being at home and raising my children has been a gift I never thought would be a reality for me. Now that I am here, I have all these mixed emotions that pulse through me on a regular basis.
First and most potent is intense gratitude. I am so very grateful for the ability to stay at home, watch my children grow up, and influence them as people on a day to day basis. Even on the toughest days, I can think of a number of things from that very day that put a smile on my face. Sometimes, I’m not able to look back on a day with appreciation, but it’s not because there isn’t plenty to be grateful for, I just get in my own way. Getting in my own way by overthinking has been a long time habit of mine that I really began to let go of through my practice of, training in, and teaching yoga. It’s one of the reasons I’m so committed to my practice- because I’ve been gifted this freedom that I’ve craved my whole life. Let’s just say, old habits die hard.
Alongside the gratitude comes complete overwhelm. On a daily basis I feel overwhelmed with tasks, responsibilities, relationships, and all the shoulds. ALL the shoulds. I know this is not how I should be living in this beautiful experience. Oh wait, there’s another one. And here comes the guilt… I have this incredible life full of people and things that come in a dream world and I feel like I’m drowning. Something must be wrong with me. It’s completely confusing to feel so much gratitude and so much overwhelm at the same time. So I struggle. I live in my head when I know peace only comes when I quiet the critic and be present with what is. So why do I go through periods where I avoid the present moment like I avoid my sink full of dishes? I guess because the present moment, in all its beauty, is hard.
It’s hard being pregnant. Being pregnant again (this is my third pregnancy in 4 years) has not been like hopping on that bike in the garage and going for a joyride. It’s been more like trying to navigate a foreign contraption with no time to read through the instruction manual. Oh, and that manual is in Japanese. I have been more nauseous and fatigued during this pregnancy than both my others combined. With my changing body, my yoga practice has changed. I know all about this, I am a prenatal yoga teacher. I wholeheartedly believe that pregnancy is a special period of time during which it’s ok to shift, modify, and soften when it comes to physical activity. I teach a class focused around listening to the body’s cues in order to connect when your body and baby tell you it’s time to deliver. What I wasn’t prepared for this time was shifting away from my strong, steady, challenging practice I have begun to rely on for the emotional release. I didn’t even realize that my yoga practice had become a ritual of which I was addicted to its effects. Left in withdrawal with no energy to move my body as before, I have sunk into a low I was unprepared for. Alongside this physical shift away from my regular routine come the huge surges of hormones that make me feel a little crazy. I am glad I have done my research when it comes to my body and pregnancy so I don’t completely fall into a depression because I can recognize that my body is doing what it needs to do to grow a baby and that the hormonal lows won’t last forever. You know those women who feel their best when they’re pregnant? Yeah, not me…
So there it is. I’m struggling with the moment as it lies, not because I don’t love my life or have a TON to be grateful for. I’m struggling because I’m in a transition. Transitions are hard. What I know about transitions though, is that on the other side there is beauty and light. Isn’t it ironic that they call the hardest moment of the birth process “transition”? It’s the moment right before your whole world changes and the most beautiful thing in your life is brought into the world. So in this transition, I will not sink in sadness. I will choose to get up each day hopeful, looking up when looking out is wearying, and believe that beauty is coming.
May my struggle help you know that you aren’t alone in yours. No matter how great or how difficult your situation, there is hope on the other side of the struggle. It’s ok to not be ok. Keep looking for the the light.