In our society, women are often given the message, “Well, your baby is healthy, so you should just be grateful instead of dwelling on your own pain or birth trauma.”
Yes, I am grateful. When I look upon my daughter’s face, I see such purity there. At just three months' of age, she has a complete absence of guile or even the ability to understand what that might mean. I see in my daughter the original perfection of a human soul.
I am grateful beyond words to have her in my life. At the same time, her birth and the pregnancy have left deep marks on my body and soul that I am struggling to recover from. It would be unfair not to validate and fully acknowledge this.
After my c-section, I sat, walked, and slept curled up, with my chest drawing toward my thighs. The pain at my incision site was so intense that I was constantly scared of aggravating it. Over time, I became hunched in my posture, which only heightened all my fears.
One day as I tried standing up straight, I realized that my belly felt timid and vulnerable, but there was no pain. I wondered how long I had been stuck folded forward after the pain had gone away. I felt a sense of panic that my body was no longer my own, that I had lost touch with the sensations of my own body, despite being a student of yoga for the past 15 years.
I made a resolution that I would get back in touch with myself and strengthen my core from the inside out. I began taking physical therapist Sarah Duvall’s course on postpartum exercise. I also completed training in Wendy Foster’s postnatal Pilates course.
Today I did my first postpartum handstand. It thrilled me to be able to get upside down, even for an instant. Until this moment, the thought of kicking my feet above my head had seemed painfully impossible. I am still far away from feeling at home in my body, but I know I have begun the journey.
This fall, I’ll begin teaching yoga again for the first time since pregnancy. I invite you to join me on a journey together as we fumble, with grace, toward becoming whole and strong.