I went to a Parent/Baby yoga class for the first time today and was shocked by how exhausted the whole thing made me. Any trip out of the house takes a lot of planning these days; I didn’t realize I would have to struggle to get our back door open. In fact, I never did get the back door open because some sort of piece of wood was wedged in the bottom of the door. Perhaps something Josh jerry rigged years ago that has come loose? At any rate I was on my hands and knees with a butter knife trying to unlodge the piece of wood. My son was agressively sucking on his pacifier in his car seat, impatiently waiting to go. When I yelled, “DAMMIT!” My kid let out a whimper. Ah crap, it’s the first time my son has heard me utter a swear word really loud. (And not the last time I’m sure).
We left out the front door, traipsed through the mud to the backyard, and managed to leave only a few minutes late. Even though I have my baby in the car I still drive inappropriately because I’m running late. (I am never late–even with a newborn. It’s a value I can’t shake). I arrive, drive around the block, decide to risk the 1 hour parking, and pull my car over. Baby seems to be doing fine. I lug his car seat out of the car–which I hate; I hate that the carseat is like a huge, heavy, bucket with a handle that bangs around the stairway when we enter the yoga studio. My prenatal teacher who I took 29 weeks solid of preggo yoga (didn’t miss a week) is there at the top of the stairs. “Ta Da,” I say, presenting the baby to her as if he’s a chocolate sundae I made. “He’s big,” she observes. “Really?” I say, slightly cross. “He’s 7 weeks old.” The teacher corrects herself, “I mean he looks more like a baby and less of a newborn.” I can’t disagree with this.
I enter the room and stake out a spot by the window. I used to always do prenatal yoga by the window during the summer because it allowed a cool breeze to flow on me. The room is filled with mothers and babies. Some are breast feeding, a few 6 month old babies are sitting on little blankets playing with hula hoops, and all the women looks tired and are forcefully smiling. I have no interest in making friends, (What am I, a reality tv show star?), I simply want to stretch my sore muscles out. Ok, so that makes me sound like a jerk…I DO want to make friends, but my fatigue makes full sentences difficult and I’m pretty sure full sentences are required in order to make friends.
Luckily, my friend Ashley shows up and plops down next to me. Her baby is in the carrier and my baby is in the carrier. My baby immediately starts crying and out of the carrier he goes. I hold him during the introductions. I tentatively put him down on the mat and try to do spiritual, yoga-y, stuff over him. He’s not into it…my fantasy of down dogging and looking at my son are shot. Other babies in the room aren’t buying it either. I find the sound of crying children really grating to my nerves, and half way through the class I realize it’s kind of hell. There is nothing relaxing at all about taking yoga with infants. Sure, I’m getting a few side stretches in, but I’m so distracted I might as well be practicing yoga in the street–it’s that overwhelming.
I’m leaning over, touching my toes, when I realize how shabby I am. Oh sure, in a room full of women in the same boat, I can hardly complain about my hairy legs. But, I realize that Ashely has a really nice red pedicure and my nails are yellow and too long. On my big toes I have some ancient remnant of some clear nailpolish I gooped onto my toes for my Seattle baby shower. I can’t remember when I last cut my toenails, (was it when I tried to do it at 9 months pregnant? Talk about a challenge!). While lifting my arms in Warrior 2 pose I realize I haven’t shaved my armpits. And they kind of reek. I also remember that I have baby puke in my hair–oh crap, my hair! Normally, I try to at least brush my hair but today I forgot! It’s sitting on top of my head in this weird, tangled, long mess. Hot.
My son lapses into his usual response when surrounded by tons of people–he falls asleep. (It’s in this way that he sorta reminds me of his Dad). But he falls asleep right when the instructor tells us we’re going to sing some songs with our babies. While my baby snoozes in his carseat, we sing about elevators going up and down, wheels going round and round, and the usual collection of baby tunes. It’s at this point that everything seems really surreal. “How the hell did I get here?” I wonder. I look around at everyone raising their babies collectively over their head at the crest of the song, and I feel totally emotional. Sometimes I think, ‘I don’t belong here!’ and then I look over at my son and think, “Oh, that’s right…I have a baby now.” It’s like an identity crisis every day sometimes.
The baby/mom yoga class kicks my ass. I am exhausted and sore. I feel out of shape and out of touch. My son and I sleep for hours when we return home (well, after an hour of cajoling him to go to sleep). I’m so tired, it’s as if the bed is floating…lifting off the ground, gently spinning us, as the outside January world grows darker and darker. Maybe it was just too much…being in a room filled with babies, mothers, and yoga mats. Tomorrow is a new day…tomorrow we will join an army of strollers and walk around Seward Park. Maybe THAT will feel better…