Am I tooting my own horn? Ok it might seem like it, but there's a point to it all.
Over the years and quite recently again, I overheard several never-been-pregnant ladies rave about their friends who continued their Ashtanga or vigorous yoga practice or ran half-marathons all the way up until their child was born. Recently, I also heard someone go so far as to say, "So, spread the word! It CAN be done." People sound so unaware. So clueless.
Then, there's that incredible pressure on the modern mom to breastfeed the baby until he/she is at least 2 years old (have you seen the Time magazine cover?). Now, I can't wait to breastfeed and I will do my darnedest to do so, but I know quite a few women who've told me they tried their best and couldn't for physiological reasons beyond their control or had to work so had to mix in pumping and some formula. The worst part is that these women were judged by other moms for feeding their child formula. My poor sister-in-law was bombarded by preachy church ladies because she opted out.
What's more, women also now have to juggle being working moms and excelling at their careers while creating the perfect environments in which their children can grow up. One thing falters at work? She must be preoccupied with the kids. If something goes wrong at home, it must be because she's a bad mom since she spends most of her time at work. And with the myriad products that are all-natural, organic, baby-tested and safe and the best day cares/schools for children's development out there, people freely give out unsolicited advice as to how you should go through your pregnancy and motherhood. Lots of "you should....you SHOULD....YOU SHOULD....."
My point is this.
1. I don't know that anyone DIDN'T know that it was possible to keep up a pre-baby workout regiment throughout the pregnancy. Duh. Everyone knows it's possible, but does that mean that it IS actually possible for every one? No! And you never know this until you become pregnant and see where it takes you. I was so exhausted and sick my first trimester, I was catching up on sleep outside of my often 12-hr days. But I tried to be SO active even in my crazy schedule all the up until the 31 wk mark. It hurt my ego that I had to surrender a lot of physical activity mostly because I started to pop early and my 5'2" frame can't really maneuver around a slightly above average size baby! Even my
2. Birth processes and breastfeeding? There are three women in my family that couldn't breastfeed and were made to feel guilty for it. God knows they wanted to and tried. Along the same lines, Caesareans. For heaven's sake, why do women make other women feel so bad about getting a c-section? I see it on forums on all the pregnancy sites and I've experienced it myself as well, as I'm scheduled for one in less than 2 weeks due to complications. Even if anyone just wanted to schedule one, I don't think it should be a source of making someone feel less of a "woman" for doing so. This goes for child-rearing as well. My friend told me that a total stranger scolded her to put socks on her son. To home school or not to home school? It's really not anyone else's place.
3. Career. I am extremely blessed that I work for a brilliant educational consulting company. The senior execs of our company appreciate my hard work and always acknowledge me and have been nothing but supportive of my new journey into motherhood. At my branch, I'm the director. I have a lot of responsibilities not only to my employees, but also to all my students and parents as they entrust their academic careers in my hands. I pride myself in the fact that I have created an environment that is supportive and welcoming, yet disciplined. Professional, yet compassionate. Fostering this type of environment is one thing, but I have employees that are considerate and so hardworking, and even more so since they discovered I was pregnant. Oddly, it isn't until I step out into the yoga community that I experience judgment. Females especially. WOMEN! We need to rise up to support one another! Stop tearing other women down because of their choices! Stop raising the bar so incredibly high and imposing strange one-size fits all patterns on others that the picture of a perfect woman is unattainable.
YOU cannot assume what many can do is something everyone MUST do. It's like this. Do you ever tell someone who went through trauma that they need to get over their past in 6 months because you got over your trauma in that time frame? When someone says that they're in pain, do you just scoff and assume they're being a wuss because you happen to have a really high pain tolerance? Your reality is NOT their reality. Their truths are also truths.
Om Asatoma Sat Gamaya
Tama Soma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya
Lead us from the unreal (transitory existence) to reality (of self),
from darkness (of ignoracnce) to light (spiritual knowledge),
from fear of death to the knowledge of immortality.
I chant this after class a lot in hopes that I (and in turn inspire in others to) can become a more understanding and aware person in my community. In hopes that I can stop myself in my tracks when I start to think that the way someone does something is sub-par, especially for my fellow ladies out there that are expected to be beautiful, thin, sexy, maternal, AND successful, I will always be vigilant in saying my piece. In the ways that you choose to do it.....
You are SUPERWOMAN.