I am almost 36 weeks pregnant with my second baby and am home full time with my intelligent, persistent, vivacious, no-nonsense three year old, Emmy. I’ve never been so tired in my life.
Today I asked the babysitter to come over for a couple hours so I could lay down, and I passed out within 5 minutes. Now the sitter magically got Emmy to take a nap (something I have not done in over two weeks) and I find myself with a moment to myself. I haven’t written in a while and told myself I’m going to be interrupted shortly so why even bother? But then I remembered, real life is not perfect, manufactured and filtered like so many social media pages. Real life is messy and many things all at the same time. So I write, freely, without editing and cutting and pasting. I write what I feel.
I need to remind myself daily it’s okay to feel exactly what I’m feeling. I can be as tired as I’ve ever been and be as grateful as I’ve ever been. I can love my daughter so much that it hurts, and I can get so angry at her that I want to punch a wall. I can be excited to meet my baby boy and be terrified at the thought of raising a newborn and a toddler. I can be proud of what my body can do and also be put-off by the massiveness of my belly and the roundness of my current double chin. I can be happy and sad and angry and fulfilled and lonely and grateful all at the same time.
Just as I encourage my daughter to be unapologetically herself, I can be unapologetically me. So that’s what I do. Because I’m 36 weeks pregnant with a toddler, and there’s really no room for bullshitting. I just haven’t got the energy.
So despite my bone-deep exhaustion and many aches and pains. Despite a belly that feels it may burst and hormones that cause me to cry every day, it’s back to mom-ing I go.
I’ve never been so tired, and there’s no where I’d rather be then here- with my huge belly and double chin, glancing at my daughter as she sleeps so peacefully.
August of last year I reached a crossroads. I was tired of struggling with depression and knew I had to make an active change. At the suggestion of my therapist at the time, I made an appointment with a psychiatrist to learn more about how medication may help rid me of the dark cloud that I couldn’t seem to escape out of on my own.
It just so happened that at this time I learned about Vedic meditation from Arden Martin. She described it as a simple meditation technique that required no effort and it sounded very appealing to me. I read up on the benefits of this Vedic meditation and got curious. Could it help me? So, the same week I met with the psychiatrist I also took a Vedic meditation course.
From the psychiatrist, I learned a lot about my options with medication. I felt comforted to know that I now had a doctor who knew my needs and whom I could contact if that was the route I wanted take. The following evening during my first Vedic meditation, I got in touch with an unfamiliar place inside myself that I can only describe as a nice warm hug.
I decided to experiment with daily meditation for a while and see where it went before pursuing medication. It has now been over a year and I can honestly say my meditation practice has changed my life.
I have risen out of the hole of depression and found a whole new perspective. On a (mostly) daily basis I dive into meditation and find that nice warm hug again and again. Not every meditation is blissful and some feel as if they go on forever, but if miss a day I crave it and always return back.
I don’t know what the future brings and I’m still open to the idea of medication if I need it. There’s no need to suffer and I think medication is a savior for so many people struggling with their mental health as I did. Today though, I reflect in gratitude about the meditation practice that changed my life.
Today I meditated in the chapel at my daughter’s school and these words came flooding through me. I share this all not to prove anything or preach anything but just to say, it IS possible to find light when you’re in the dark. And who knows, you may find that light right inside of you.
In March, I learned I was pregnant, and at my first scan I learned it was with twins.
In April, I lost the babies.
Now I sit in my grief. Each day is a surprise. Sometimes I feel totally fine, and others I slip into despair. I wrote the following a few weeks after my D&C and wanted to share it here.
“I’ll never understand why they came to me to begin with- why they appeared as a possibility and the left, stopped.
I’ll never understand why I had to be alone that day when I learned it.
I’ll never understand why for only ten days, I had the privilege of feeling chosen. Being chosen to be a mommy to two souls born together.
Why the taste and then taking away?
Why the pain?
Why the loss?
Why the suffering?
I don’t know.
A comforting thought for me is that God isn’t a puppeteer who orchestrated this all. God cried first. Before I even knew.”
For anyone out there who has suffered a miscarriage, I sit in my grief with you. Please remember- you are NOT alone. There are so many of us.
Today I did something I have not done in over two years; I went to see a movie by myself.
The last time I saw a movie by myself was when I was pregnant. I just love going to matinees alone. It’s such a treat! I can totally immerse myself within the movie and experience it fully. (Twizzlers and soda included.) As a movie-lover it’s one of my greatest escapes.
Today I had a babysitter for three hours and thought about what I should do. My first thought was go to Whole Foods, run some errands. Honestly that sounded pretty shitty to me.
So, on a whim I checked the showings for the movie theater around the corner and guess what? WONDERWOMAN was playing in 3D during the exact hours I had a sitter. DING DING DING! Winner winner chicken dinner. Whole Foods can wait!
I watched Wonderwoman today. I cried, I laughed, my whole body tingled. It was AMAZING. It was something I’ve never seen before. It was beautiful. It was fierce. It was a powerhouse of a movie.
And I thought… my daughter is growing up during a time when a bad ass woman is the hero, where a bad ass woman saves the world. Hell yes!
The first photo is my brother Chris and me on Halloween maybe 1988? As you can see, I’m Wonderwoman. And amazingly my mom saved that outfit. Emmy wears it now.
That little girl in the first picture could never have known that one day she’d have a daughter who grew up in a time where a woman saved the world; a world where a mama could take time for herself to watch it happen.
Last week the first official class of my new company JEM YOGA NYC began. I was nervous at first, bur once I got into the flow of leading the class it felt like I was soaring. I was back at it and had that feeling of “this is what I’m meant to do.” And the best part? Em was right there with me.
Em is used to going to classes and is also used to doing yoga with me at home. I think in her mind it was just a normal day! She went with the flow, did some poses, joined me for savasana and proudly said, “Bye Bye Yoga!” as I put away the little yoga mat I had brought.
I felt so much emotion when I got home last week after class, but the biggest one of all was pride for my baby. I put my passion for teaching on hold for a while when she came into this world, and to come back now feeling like my heart is more full than ever? I just feel so blessed!
I hadn’t taught kids in quite some time when I began teaching a few classes at a preschool last month. I was rusty and a little awkward and felt like it went… okay.
This morning I taught again and I felt my confidence in teaching surfacing again. It by no means went perfectly but there was this moment.
It was when I walked into the last classroom and a girl was screaming crying and the kids were running and it was so loud. I sat down and began taking deep breaths, and something miraculous happened; the kids got silent and followed.
We took a few breaths together and it was quiet and calm. And THAT moment, the brief pause between the lesson plan and the noise and the crying and the excited screaming and the running and the diving hugs, THAT is why I love sharing yoga with kids.
If you watched a class it wouldn’t look like a clean and tidy yoga practice that’s tied in a bow. It would look a little messy and loud. But I’ve taught long enough to know that kids are sponges taking it all in in their own way. And what a gift for me today to bring them a moment of calm without saying a word.
Today I got in a yoga practice and it felt so good. I was able to do this because of Emily’s fascination with shoes. You see, she spent most of this time off to the side trying to get on her sneaker!
She wasn’t the least bit frustrated or annoyed as she did this over and over again, even though she never actually got her sneaker on. She was just content to be in the moment practicing something. Isn’t it amazing how focused a child can be when exploring something they are interested in?
Emily reminded me of one of the Niyamas or observances in yoga called Santosha. Santosha means finding satisfaction in exactly who we are and where we are without wanting to change anything.
I am grateful that today we both got in a yoga practice. I got in my yoga through the poses (asana) and Emily got in her yoga by practicing her one-pointed focus (dharana) during her shoe-putting-on investigation!
I’m so excited! One of my yoga videos has been downloaded by Little Things and featured on their website. It’s really cool to have someone write about my video. Check out the article here:
Feature on Little Things
Emily usually holds my hand and brings me with her as she wanders, but this past week she decided it was time to walk out on her own. She had the time of her life wandering around Riverside Park while Romeo (our dog) and I followed close behind. Her joy was infectious and my heart was exploding.
She is my most special teacher. Here are some lessons she has taught me.
Every night as Em is winding down she does laps around the apartment. It’s like she’s walking off all her remaining energy. Tonight she kept grabbing my finger and leading me around with her. Even though I slept a lot last night I still felt so tired. I think that never ending tired feeling is just motherhood.
Anyway, even though all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and not move, and even though my mind kept wandering to the veggie burger and fries I would order once she went to bed, every time she grabbed my finger I walked with her. I reminded myself that she won’t always want to walk with me. She won’t always want to bring me along into her world with her.
So, I thought- as long as she wants to bring me into her world, I will be there walking beside her.