Several weeks ago, I learned
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
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
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
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.)