Until I became a mom, I had no idea how achy, dazed, and fatigued I would be constantly. I was so exhausted and it felt like an endless cycle. My brain was attentive only to my child and he knew it. He would not sleep and I went through this phase of being awake all the time and getting by on cat naps. I kept looking to others and getting frustrated when they could not understand what I was experiencing. So on top of these crazy post-partum emotions, my hormones were raging and I would break out in hives randomly after pumping. Then I developed this wrist pain and felt this horrible pinching in my back and started walking around with a stoop. I finally visited an acupuncturist to help after my doctors office had no further answers. They had an amazing post-partum program that included the acupuncture and massage which I desperately needed. After these visits, I would walk away taped up and recharged.
When my son was about 4 or 5 months old, my friend sent a book in the mail by Ann Lamont called Operating Instructions, A Journal of My Son’s First Year. It is a brutally honest account of author Ann Lamont’s first-hand experience as a new mom. It was exactly what I needed at the time and helped to draw me out of my funk so I would start feeling a little more normal.
After a few months of my acupuncture treatments and reading this book, I decided to stop making excuses about working out and set out a mat, bolster and blanket in a corner of the room.
I stared at this setup for another several weeks before finally committing to a gentle workout again.
Then when the baby was napping, regardless of who was in the house with me, I would excuse myself into the room, close the door and begin my yoga nidra practice. Sometimes I would do a little light yoga to stretch out my body, taking whatever movement that intuitively felt good. A cat-cow stretch, a down-dog, eagle arms, threading the needle, half-pigeon, legs up the wall. Then settle down on the mat and follow a guided yoga-nidra routine that I found on YouTube. After developing this almost daily practice, I started to feel a little bit normal. I must admit, now that my son is almost 2, I have started to feel like my pre-baby self again. Having a meditative practice is immensely restorative on my joints and helps with fatigue, sleep loss, anxiety, and mood swings that happen during post-partum. Listening to a guided yoga nidra practice or attending a class is easier that sitting in meditation when the mind tends to wander.
Every parent’s experiences may be different and there is no comparison to the varying degrees or levels of stress that you may experience. Know that there are little things you can do to support yourself when you feel like you don’t have any support. The biggest lesson I am still learning is that it is OK to ask for help and it is OK to take time out for yourself.
I started teaching a prenatal yoga workshop when my son was 10 months and it gave me the confidence to start teaching yoga and share these experiences on a regular basis. So whether you are a new mom or not, check out these practices because we can all use some balance.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a systematic relaxation technique, that allows you to withdraw your senses inward so you can allow your body and mind to become fully relaxed. Scientifically proven, yoga nidra has been shown to have reversed disease and stimulated self-healing. Through this process, the practitioner can restore the body to a point of total rest.
Practices that got me through some tough times.
Thank you and see you on the mat.
Writer, Technologist, and Meditation Coach