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The Real Reason I'm Mourning My Pre-Mom Life

Several weeks ago, I learned about Good Riddance Day, an event held in Times Square before January 1, at which one is given the opportunity say good riddance to all the bad shit from the previous year. The event is supposedly inspired by a Latin American tradition in which New Year's revelers stuffed dolls with objects representing bad memories before setting them on fire.

"What would you say good riddance to?" I was asked.

And I couldn't think of a damn thing. Because—pregnancy pains aside—nothing had happened in the past year that hadn't somehow changed my life for the better.

So when you see the headline of this post and prepare to chastise me for being an ungrateful monster, stay your tongue. When I say I'm mourning the time before motherhood, what I really mean is that I'm saying goodbye to the person I no longer am. And coming to terms with the woman I've become.

For a completely superficial example, I present to you the image of my daughter in her brand new Fisher Price Jumperoo.

A couple days after Christmas, I observed my daughter enjoying her new toy. Being that the Jumperoo combines her two favorite activities—standing and bouncing—things can get pretty crazy once her bum is planted in that seat. The jumping becomes very energetic. Frantic even.

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So I watched her eyes bulge with excitement as she jump-jump-jumped. I watched her face contort with pure joy. I watched her little legs working, the muscles flexing and extending, flexing and extending. And it suddenly occurred to me that Em now engages in a greater amount of cardiovascular activity than I do.

This realization threw me for a bit of a loop.

You see, before becoming pregnant, I practiced vinyasa yoga four to six times a week. Yoga made me flexible. Yoga made me strong. Yoga enabled me to love my body (and heal my mind) in a way I'd never been able to before.

Once I got pregnant, I stuck with my regular practice for as long as I could (partway into my third trimester) and continued teaching yoga until the bitter end. But I eventually had to modify my practice and, the last couple months, I could only handle prenatal yoga classes.

So many things change when you become a parent. And as a result, you change, too. How could you not? But sometimes it's hard to admit to the things you don't want anymore.

Now, post-pregnancy, though I got back to yoga as soon as the doctor cleared me, I can't get to class as often as I used to. And developing a home practice while caring for my daughter seems impossible. With that slow-down in my practice, I've naturally lost some of what I had. My body was once capable of so many amazing things, and I'm working on reclaiming that. But will I ever be able to pike down from headstand again? Will I ever be able to go up into a tripod headstand from a standing wide-legged forward fold? Will I ever find my abs?

Do my abs even matter?

As another example, I recently wrote about how child prodigies were kicking my ass in the success department. In that post, I wrote about how, pre-pregnancy, I worked my ass off to get my book proposal in front of agents and publishers, only to have things fizzle out in the end. And then? I found out I was pregnant and got distracted from the task of revising that proposal. After all, there were nurseries to decorate. Diaper bags to buy. Childcare books to speed read.

If you're Internet-stalking me, you may also know that, once I found out I was pregnant, the prospect of maternity leave precipitated an existential crisis in regard to my ability to maintain all the magical momentum I had finally created in my career.

Once Emily was born, however, I became a massive cliché. Suddenly, nothing else seemed as important as this tiny person who was attached to my boob 24/7. Not my book dreams. Not my clients. Not even my eventual yoga empire. (I mean naturally I would one day have a yoga empire.)

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And though my ambition has crept its way back into my life, and my work actually helped me move past the baby blues, my ambition is different. Less urgent. Less all-consuming.

I'm different.

So many things change when you become a parent. And as a result, you change, too. How could you not?

But sometimes it's hard to admit to the things you don't want anymore.

I've always had a hard time letting go of longstanding goals in the interest of new ones, even though I know perfectly well that passions change. That people change.

But I suppose that this stage of my life is as good a time as any to be upfront about the person I've become. The person I no longer am. So here goes:

Hello there. I'm Steph. I had a baby. I lost my abs.

And that's okay.

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