Image credit Rachael Fraser @rach_fraserphoto
This week I received a phonecall from the mother of a new Mum who wanted to check it was ok for her daughter to attend my Postnatal Yoga class, even though her baby had a caesarean birth and she is bottle feeding.
She told me her daughter was afraid of being judged.
My heart sank. I feel so sad that any new mother has to feel that way.
I asked this lovely caring new grandmother to reassure her daughter she is totally welcome in my class – and she would be supported here both with exercises to help her recovery from surgery, and any practical assistance I can offer to help her feed her baby while she is here.
I strongly believe in the importance of being relaxed and comfortable while your baby is feeding, so the LOVE can flow along with the milk (wherever the milk is flowing from).
But, for the record, here are three judgments I DO make about every single woman that steps on to their yoga mat in my class:
1. You Are Incredibly Strong: you have worked 24/7 to grow a new tiny human, often while also continuing to do your day-job, or care for your toddler, or elderly relatives – and just generally being helpful and amazing. You have made extraordinarily difficult choices about about work, lifestyle, relationships, labour and birth, feeding your baby, how to be a parent and all sorts of practical things – like which car seat to buy so you can impressively swing it round on one arm with your super-human motherly strength!
2. You Are Probably Incredibly Tired: aside from the fact that you haven’t had a full night’s sleep in three/six/nine/thirty-six months (delete as appropriate), you hold in your mind just such an enormous amount of information about your whole family’s routines and timetables, food preferences, clothing preferences, emotional sensitivities, coping strategies and general needs. Just having all that in your head is exhausting and it has a name – ‘the mental load’ – check it out and talk about it with your partner.
3. You Have Super-Human Powers: you can endure what most people agree is the most intense physical experience available to humanity (birth in all its forms), you wake up in the night seconds before your baby wants a feed, you can carry a sleeping child up flights of stairs and lay them down in the most awkward of cots without waking them up, you can tell the difference between tired, hungry or wet from just from the subtle difference in a your baby’s squawk/cry/raging scream (delete as appropriate). You are just totally incredible.
If I have learned anything in ten years of Mother Nurture Yoga it is that everyone does ‘Mothering’ differently, but however you do it, it is just so spectacularly beautiful and generally so spectacularly undervalued. So, here is a virtual High Five for all of you and all you do, however you are doing it.
I judge you to be utterly brilliant.