In my mom and baby yoga class the other day, I caught the eye of a woman across from me. She was blond, her hair pulled back. Average height. Built. She wore a ripped t-shirt and I could see the tattoo on her bicep. Barbed wire maybe? Something tough-looking, anyway.
I probably wouldn’t have really noticed her — at least not more than I notice any of the moms balancing in triangle pose across from me — except that she had an odd look on her face. She looked sort of lost.
I know that look. It’s the one where you’re trying to find inner peace and you can sort of glimpse it but at the same time you’re wondering if your baby is about to squawk again and you’re really not sure if signing up for a yoga class where you bring your baby with you was a good idea. Because if that baby starts screaming, it’s not relaxing for anybody.
I would never have taken Connor to a mom and baby yoga class. I would never have even considered it, because it would have required Xanax to get through it. For both of us. He just wasn’t a calm sort of baby and he would, without a doubt, have disturbed my tranquility like a pebble disturbs the stillness of a pond. So instead I took an evening yoga class with my other new-mom friends and happily left him at home with dad. For that hour, if he screamed instead of sleeping peacefully (which was often the case) it wasn’t my problem. Tranquil, indeed.
So at this present-day yoga class, I looked across at the mom who, at first glance, appeared to be the type who takes no shit from anybody and wondered if perhaps it was the newest soul in her life who was giving her grief.
Or maybe it wasn’t her baby. Maybe things just weren’t quite right in her new-mom world. Her baby wasn’t even the fussiest one in the room that day. In fact, on that day her baby could have shrieked her little lungs out and it wouldn’t have garnered much attention. There were lots of babies giving their lungs a workout that day.
It was more the look in her eye. Her gaze that held mine a fraction too long. She didn’t chat much or respond to the instructor’s jokes and observations like the others did, and she was definitely somewhere other than fully immersed in her practice.
Her eyes asked questions I know all too well. Am I getting this right? Am I a good enough mom? Does everyone else find it this hard?
And the loudest question of all: How did I get here?
These were the signs I saw – the signs of a struggle, and of a post-baby bump in the road. Maybe they were really there in front of me. Or maybe they were just a reflection. At this point I’m not sure, but I’ll be on the lookout for those signs again and will stand by with my map, ready to point her in the right direction if need be.
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