I’m about to share something I haven’t shared before. >> Cue butterflies doing somersaults in my stomach <<
Everyone tells you that when your baby is born, everything changes. You see the world differently. You move through it differently, too. Your body has been through a truly miraculous experience. The feelings there are full of opposites - life and death, eagerness and overwhelm, intensity and nothingness.
Having a child, birth itself, changes you…forever. What I didn’t expect was the feeling of not caring about anything but my baby (and maybe sleep) after he was born. I literally wanted to close my business. I’m serious. And, that was surprising and even a little shameful, because owning a business seemed to have become part of my identity. And, I was proud to be a successful woman business owner. And, because I knew that others loved the community we had established. So, I never told anyone besides my husband.
That was a scary realization. I worked really hard for years to build a career in higher education and development, then I left it to open a yoga studio. And, then our baby came…and I became…what? A mother who wanted to stay home? A mother who all of a sudden was less than feminist because she considered not working outside the house? A woman who “leaned out” right after she gave birth? A woman who wasn’t sure what she wanted anymore?
Clearly, I didn’t close Yoga Dear. But, it took months and months to find a new rhythm with this business (my first baby of sorts) + my actual baby. I questioned making the right decision nearly every day for at least six months when leaving him at a daycare and then later with the most amazing home daycare provider ever (Vanessa, we love you forever). I cried the nights that I wasn’t there to nurse him and put him to bed. I didn’t know what the “right” thing was to do.
Here’s the thing, mama. Whether you want it to or not, having a baby does change nearly everything about you. It changes your priorities. It changes your schedule (wait, what’s that?). It changes what and how much stuff you can hold in your brain. It changes your capacity for love. With that change, it’s okay to decide that other areas of your life may not be working anymore and that you need to define what’s right for YOU.
For me, that was my work. My work at the time wasn’t serving my life anymore. So, I hired teachers to take over classes in the early morning and evening (aka nursing and bathtimes). I hired a manager to take over certain tasks. I focused on growing training programs, something I loved and that would allow a more flexible schedule. I know not everyone has the ability to do this, but we all can ask questions of ourselves and others, make certain choices. Now, as we’ve just moved to Rhode Island, I’m getting ready for another pivot in business. One that supports my family, one where I can be with my baby more often than before, while still pursuing work that I believe in.
Is it perfect? No. Am I grateful I even get the chance to try something new? Yes. Do I still feel like I’m less of a feminist because I don’t want a corner office anymore and would prefer to build something that gives me flexibility and time with my baby? Yes.
Life is constantly changing. And, amidst the changes that motherhood brings, I think it’s our babies that show us what really matters. My body/mind/soul are forever changed by becoming a mother. So, why wouldn’t other areas of my life need to evolve, too? In your season of new motherhood, please allow yourself to change.
Allow your needs and wants to shift. Allow yourself to feel lost and confused and uncertain. Allow yourself to feel opposing feelings. Decide to stay home. Decide to pivot in your work. Decide to go back to work. Allow yourself to embrace the changes you need to in order to best serve your life as it is now. If that is going back to work, I hope you have a supportive team, a lactation room (if you’re pumping), and a supportive home life. If a change needs to be made somewhere, know that you won’t be any less [fill inthe blank] because you changed your mind in order to take care of a new baby and growing family. Promise.
If you’ve felt similar feelings, I’d love to hear from you today. It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone. Did you have a similar feeling of wanting to take care of your baby, instead of returning to work? Did you have quite the opposite feeling and were surprised that you couldn’t wait to get back? What big change did you need to accommodate when your baby (or second or third baby) arrived? I’ll be sharing Part 2 of “working motherhood” next week.
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I share encouraging, informative, and down to earth messages, each with a healthy dose of humor and honesty. Basically, the kind of thing I'd want to read during pregnancy and later postpartum...because gosh motherhood is confusing. When you subscribe, you'll receive my messages on What I wish I would've known before baby & a quick guide on the Yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy.
P.S. Yoga is a dance of contentment, self-study, and realizing your potential. The ultimate play of opposites, right? I see it playing out as a mother all the time. I’ve found myself wanting to be in two places at once, rather than embracing wherever I’m at (ahem, zooming cars on the floor…for hours…instead of writing or teaching - and then vice versa!). To start practicing this dance TODAY, pause just TWICE in your day to deeply breathe for one minute, in through the nose and out through the nose. Set a timer. Close your eyes. You’ll be surprised how much it helps you drop into this moment and patiently await the next.