When we read Amber Allen’s piece about embracing vulnerability in pregnancy, we couldn’t help but think how it applied to every phase of life. If you are a sixty-year-old man experiencing a mid-life crisis (first of all, welcome!) try to see how you can embrace vulnerability at this time in your life. If you don’t have children, and never plan on it, perhaps there is a situation at work or in one of your friendships that is begging you to embrace vulnerability. We love our teachers, because their words ring with such truth that they resonate with those even outside of their intended audience.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I suddenly felt like I knew absolutely nothing. The future was suddenly cloudy. Before I had become pregnant, I had embraced life without children. I had been off birth control for several years, and nothing had happened. So I had given up my plans to be a mother. And suddenly, here I was, with child. My husband, my dog and I had only been in Charleston for only a few months. And we were so…. happy. (My dear mamas, this is when pregnancy strikes! HA!)
On my lunch breaks from my publishing job, I would take long walks in a nearby park. One cold winter day, I found myself fighting back tears as I tried to wrap my brain around raising a child, perhaps working full time, and still trying to make ends meet. How could my husband and I possibly do this? And when — oh when?? — would I feel like myself again after this first trimester yuckiness?
As I walked, I passed an older man walking a dog. Our eyes met. I managed a thin smile, and he smiled back warmly. Another lap around the park, I saw him again in the distance, letting his dog roam off leash. Another lap later, he was still in the same area. This time, he called out to me. “Hey! Are you OK?” “Yeah,” I managed. “You know,” he said. “Everything is going to be fine. You are going to be OK.”
“Thanks,” I said. “I know.” But did I? I kept walking, and I never saw him again.
My interaction with this older gentleman took my breath away, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought that he was really sent to me — from Whoever or Whatever — to reassure me that life really would be OK. I have never been so sure that an other worldly being had been sent to be with me.
Teaching prenatal yoga allows me to get to know women who are in this “in-between” state. They are already mothers, but they and their babies are still of one body. It is only when the umbilical cord is detached that a mother and baby become separate, solidifying their natural relationship. Pregnancy is an extremely vulnerable time in a woman’s life, and it is important that she allows her heart to remain open to endless possibilities.
So many women, when they are pregnant, have very clear-cut ideas of how motherhood will be for them. They will breastfeed (or not). They will cloth diaper (or not). They will baby wear (or not). They will co-sleep with their child (or not). They will make their baby’s food (or not). And so on.
I am here to tell you that motherhood will look nothing like you expect it to be. And that is OK. Please be open to the endless possibilities that await you after the birth of your baby (or even during childbirth). When you leave your heart open, and see where life takes you, everything WILL be OK. Don’t fight it — because that only causes pain. Embrace heartache, embrace pain. This is where the truth lies and your education begins.
Amber Allen is one part yoga teacher, one part doula, two parts mother with a heap of birth advocacy extrodinaire all mixed together for one gorgeous goddess we feel fortunate to be associated with. She resides in Charleston, SC, and you can find more information on her, her journey, her services and more – here.
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