My body feels different. My body looks different. Looking at it, it’s a whole new terrain. Moving inside it, there are new patterns, where there was firmness, there is now softness. Where there was strength, there is now a memory. But this is my body. It is strong, it is feminine, it is powerful, it is here. It has been home to my children and it will continue to be their sanctuary.
Mine is the body of a mother. When a mother carries a baby then gives birth it carries the marks of an incredible journey of change. A change that happens on a physical as well as an emotional realm. The journey of a mother is an unbelievably embodied experience. Your form morphs and changes through pregnancy. You pass through the crest of the wave of childbirth, facing the unknown and your deepest fears. You are forever changed, with your baby at your side.
There is a process of acceptance that happens as you navigate the period after birth. Your changed body continues to transform. For weeks, months, perhaps years. You might carry and birth another baby and you transform again. Each birth leaving its unique imprint on your being and your heart.
This process asks of us to embrace change in a mammoth way. Do you ride with the changes and accept that a new rhythm will come? Or do you use the force of will to fit your new life into the old mould, your new body back into your old jeans?
Many mothers come to yoga to fit back into those old jeans and to try to capture the feeling of their old body. But what yoga can offer is a far greater gift. It is the tools to accept things as they are now, to be in this moment with your baby, to ride the wave of change that is inevitable.
My body may be different, my life may be different, what I perceive as who I am may seem different. But underneath there is a space in me that remains the same. I can sense it’s there. There’s a spark of it. Yoga can be used to cultivate acceptance of the change as we grow into motherhood. It can also peel back all the layers so that we can find that space, that spark of “who I am”, and turn it into a flame.