Look Mom… I’m published!

loveySo, today my name is in print- in an anthology called Listen to Your Mother, edited my Ann Imig. A story I wrote “All You Need Is Lovey” is in a real live book.  I feel like a proud mom.  Here’s how this came to be…

Three years ago, I saw an audition on Facebook for a show called “Listen To Your Mother.” It’s a nationwide phenomenon started by Ann Imig, spanning 39 cities now, where writers share personal stories about motherhood.  With all the nerves of my pre-acting days, plus leaky postpartum boobs and hormones, I signed up for an audition.  I wrote two pieces for that day.  One was a dark deep expose of my experience with postpartum depression, and one was just for fun- about the day I ran around town like a maniac looking for my son’s lovey.  I nursed my baby, took a shower (!) and ran downtown for the audition.  The feeling of reading my story was cathartic, I was sure that the world wanted to hear about my depth, my journey.  Then, just for fun, I left them a copy of other essay as well.  I said lightly, “I wrote this one, too- cause I couldn’t decide.”

After the audition, I was a wreck.  I went between “Why did I even try to do this?  I LEFT acting for a reason!” and “I bet they hated me!  I’m not good enough,” blah blah blah.   Until a little voice message made me remember what I loved about acting- Being picked!  With baited breath, I called Pam back.    I saw it all ahead of me- the tears, the catharsis, letting loose my triumphant story of healing.  And then Pam said one more little sentence.  “Um- so, would you mind doing the funny one?”

My heart stopped.  Now, for the longest time, I’ve resisted my own dharma.  In Acting School, I wanted to be Lady Macbeth, but got cast as the jester.  I wanted to be the romantic lead, but got thrown in as the funny sidekick.  And here it was again.  A little wind out of my sails, but still thrilled, I said I would be honored to read.  The funny one.

The first rehearsal, I listened to the amazing stories (two others from my show are also published in this anthology). The depth, the heart-wrenching stories- the amazing things these people (and their mothers) had lived through broke me open.  I cried so hard, I was glad there wasn’t an audience yet.   We went through about three boxes of Kleenex in two hours.  I felt deeply honored to be among these writers.

The days leading up to the show, a tummy bug ripped through my house like a twister through Kansas.  There was a lot of laundry, and a lot of people lying around. But I was fine. I was sure I would be untouched because I had a show- and the show must go on!  I washed my hands diligently, and felt fine… until I didn’t.  Twenty-four hours before the big night, I was praying to the porcelain gods for mercy.  I purged every meal I’d even thought about.  And I cried- lying on the bathroom floor, thinking of the absurdity- how much this show meant to me, how much we try to do as mothers, and how we are still at the mercy of life, our children, and tummy bugs.

By morning, I was wobbly, but no longer needing to lie on the bathroom floor.  I looked at my husband and said feebly, “the show must go on…”

In some ways it was a blessing.  It lowered the bar.  Instead of worrying about how good I was going to be, I was now praying not to puke. Just read the story, and don’t puke- that would be success. As I sat and listened to these brave writers, many of which had never been on stage, my spirit lifted.  I knew I would be fine.  I felt the audience go on a ride with each speaker, like an emotional amusement park of life experiences.  And as I stood up to share my piece, I also realized something… this audience needed to laugh.

And I did what I have done my whole life- I made them laugh. But through the laughter, I realized my story, one of a mother’s dedication to her son’s happiness, rang true through the audience.  There was a resonance, and it continued afterwards. All night, people shared with me their stories of Loveys- deeply loved (and sometimes lost) over their lifetime.  I heard the cherished names:  “Moo-moo, Pink, Bed Ted, and Tigey”

When Ann Imig emailed me a year ago and asked if I would consider having “All You Need Is Lovey” in her anthology, I was thrilled. And last week, the advance copy arrived- and I began to read all the stories- and again was touched by the beauty, the heartache, the immense humor.  All I can say is I am so glad to be in there.

Who knew a Lovey could mean so much?

This morning I feel grateful to all mothers- to the heroic acts of love, the losses suffered, the laughter, and the deep inspiring grit.  I’m grateful to Ann Imig- for this movement, for the book, and for the opportunity to share our stories. Without deadlines, many mothers (including me) wouldn’t find time to write, amidst the butt-wiping, lunch-making, and tummy bugs.  These small moments at my computer remind me that I’m not only a mother, but  a writer. When we share our stories, it makes it all a little more doable,  Thank you for giving motherhood a voice.

For a video reading of All You Need is Lovey (post all night tummy flu), go here:

All You Need Is Lovey

Orange ShirtA story of a boy, a shirt, and a mom on a mission.

What I’ve found most absurd about motherhood are the things I will do to keep my children happy.

“We can’t find orange shirt.” These five simple words sent me into a panic when I received this text message from my son’s daycare.

I texted back: “I’m on it, bringing back up.” I dashed out of work, as quickly as one can dash eight months pregnant, into the volcanic July heat. Speeding towards my sister’s house halfway to Denver, I looked at the clock. I had 45 minutes. Only 45 minutes until that special time of day, that mothers all over the world both treasure and dread. Naptime. Without orange shirt, there would be no napping.

“Orange Shirt” is my three-year-old son’s lovey. A lovey, (binkie, wubbie, num num) is a transitional object, transitioning the child from their mother’s love to self soothing skills. Our ancient monkey reflexes make us fall asleep easier if we hold onto something (i.e. a mother, Iphone, tree branch, or an orange shirt.)

My nephew’s lovey was known as ‘stinky ducky’ because he sucked on it until it reeked like bleach, mold, and cat pee put together. I’m still stunned that he held it so close to his face without vomiting. After my husband met stinky ducky, he was over loveys. He hadn’t used a lovey, and he determined our children (not even born yet) would not need loveys. I failed to tell him about my own history with loveys–my good dream pillow that I loved from age three–now a shred in a box in my mother’s garage, and my soft down pillow from college, called “softest softest” that is still in our bed today.

There is no stopping those who want a lovey. At four months old, my son attached himself to my orange maternity tank top that said “expecting baby” on it. And it was lovey at first sight. He called it “dootch” when he couldn’t say shirt, and now it was called ” Orange Shirt.”

When he was two, we cut it in half. The “expecting baby” half was “home orange shirt” and the other half was “traveling orange shirt.” When traveling orange shirt had been left at my sister’s the night before, home orange shirt, in a rare moment, left the house, and went to daycare with my son, where they had (carelessly I might add) lost it. We had gone from two orange shirts to none in less than 24 hours. A missed nap would not be good, but if we didn’t have an orange shirt by nightfall, I shuddered to think what would happen.

I arrived at my sisters at thirty minutes before naptime. She said she had left orange shirt in the barbeque grill outside her house, before her early morning plane flight. . I confidently lifted the lid, and saw only black wire racks and old coals. I felt like I was in a reality show, designed to make pregnant women freak out like hyenas on camera.

I checked every window and door that a pregnant woman could safely reach. I looked under every rock, plant, rug, welcome mat, all the likely places for a hide-a-key. Even though I knew they were on a plane, I called my sister and mom. Don’t you know this is an emergency? I screamed to their cheerful outgoing messages.

Luckily, there was still Bob. My stepdad Bob was the one you call when your computer isn’t working, or you’re locked out of your house, or your hemorrhoids have gotten so bad that you can no longer drive (which was me a month after this story). I called Bob’s home and cell, but he had forwarded his two phones to each other, rendering them both useless. I looked again for hidden cameras.

Naptime was approaching faster than a whore on roller skates.

I called my sister’s neighbor, Kathryn. I called her eight times and finally got through. I tried not to cry, but you know when you’ve been trying to call everyone else in the world and they are all abandoning you like your dad did when you were three, and every guy you dated till you met your husband, and you finally reach someone who is alive and has an ear, and you’re eight months pregnant and it’s 108 degrees outside and you’re in a desperate hunt for a half an orange tank top that will probably save your child’s life?

I cried. A lot. To this day this woman probably thinks I’m a total lunatic. Calmly, she talked me through how to find the key to my sister’s house. Inside, in a plastic baggie next to the door, forgotten in a rush and looking like trash waiting to be taken outside, was the slightly less-preferred version of my son’s lovey. I grabbed it and got back in the car.

I drove to my son’s school, and burst through the gate like Mercury. My son had skipped nap entirely, but strangely seemed fine, playing outside in the sandbox, confused to see his mommy’s red tear streaked face. Then his teacher said, “I think we know where the other one is.”

She explained the morning’s adventures, while my mind raced. How could they let him take Orange shirt to a park? Would you take the Mona Lisa to a day at the beach? I suppressed my rage and disbelief through a pursed-lip grimace. I thought of reporting them to social services, but I couldn’t waste the time. Orange shirt was out there… somewhere.

Now I really was on reality TV. I waddled out of the gate, and heaved my sweaty mass of pregnant self into the car.

I pulled up to the nearby park, as a homeless man was walking away with a small red wagon full of stuff. For one crazed moment, I imagined he had definitely stolen my son’s lovey. Why wouldn’t he? It’s very soft.

Trying to remain calm, I rolled down the window and said, “Excuse me?” I wasn’t going to be this close, and fail. “Excuse me, sir. Did you happen to see half of an orange tank top?” I was trying to be cool, but my red eyes, and shaky voice betrayed me. He stared at me blankly for a moment, and then said “yeah, I think it’s in the gazebo.”

Cue chariots of fire theme music. I ran across the park, my big belly bouncing. Looking like an old pair of underwear, abandoned on the cement, was Orange Shirt. I held it to my face, inhaling that sweet stinky-lovey smell–familiar and warm.

I felt for a moment, what my son must feel when he holds Orange Shirt. Like it was all going to be okay. Like this crazy shred of fabric, worn by me with my son in my belly, and loved by him every night, was a soft fabric umbilical cord of love between us, connected once again, never to be broken.

Someday I’m sure he will lose something I cannot retrieve for him, his innocence, his first heartbreak. But that crazy July day, I had caught his fall. I saved his Lovey, that symbol of my love, to take with him out into the world. The world might eventually fail him, but not his mother.

Friendship – for new moms

When I was in second grade, making  a new friend was sometimes as simple as giving away my juicebox, or sharing a seat on the bus ride home.  “Wanna be my friend?” my new pal would chime.  “Sure!” I would say back with a smile.  “Hey, I have that same Garfield sticker!”  Friendship begun.  Check.

Now, juggling a business, a two-year-old, a marriage, and the everyday anxieties of a full adult life, making new friends seems anything but simple.

Today I made a friend.  Here are the elements that came together that made it work:

  1. Proximity.  She lives in my neighborhood.   Let’s face it, leaving the house with a small child is kinda like going on a camping trip.  Sometimes the prep outweighs the pleasure.
  2. Invitation.  She approached me (many times) to go for a walk.  The day of: she texted, emailed and called.  I appreciate (and need) a little persistence.
  3. Affinity.  Both she and I, as well as our two-year-olds, liked being together.  That’s huge.

So, we walked.

Nothing heroic.  We walked around the neighborhood lakes, over to my son’s favorite dirt biking hills (we walk on them, not bike on them), threw rocks in the lake, threw rocks at a fence, threw rocks at the dirt, shared snacks, shared some laughs, shared some time.

I can’t say how good it felt to come home after our time together.  Okay, it wasn’t as intimate and focused as a tea from my twenties might have been, but there were definitely shared moments, amidst the lost conversation threads, and watching that neither of our children fell off a dirt embankment.

I have to say a new friend makes me feel like a second grader, in more than one way.  I love the rush of realizing you have something in common!  (Her daughter is named Scotia, and my son is named Phoenix, both after towns that one parent grew up in).  And it felt so good just being seen… and liked for who you are.  There is nothing greater than that.   But mixed in there is the insecurity, ‘how much do I share? what if she thinks I’m weird/ too much/ wearing the wrong shoes?”  Feeling suddenly like the awkward girl in the lunchroom, hoping to find a place to sit.

As I watched our children tentatively hold hands, I felt we were doing the same, sharing a vulnerable moment of motherhood.  Sharing our insecurities, sharing our triumphs (Phoenix used the potty TWICE on our walk, just to make me glow as a mother!), and sharing the complete insanity of this isolated mother existence.  It’s hard to believe we are all doing this wild thing, inside our four walls, and someone just down the street from us, is living the same craziness…

And if we can just leave our homes for a moment, and go for a walk, we have contact.

Friendship.  Sunshine.  Mud.  Rocks.

So, mamas, don’t be afraid to take a risk.  Be seen in your less-than-perfect new mama state.  Don’t wait till you ‘have it all together again’ to go out and make friends.  You are not alone.  Make a phone call, make the effort, wear the wrong shoes, and find a new friend.  There may be a mama right around the corner, just waiting for an invitation.   And I’m pretty sure that ‘having it all together again’ is not really part of being a new mom.

Today, I want to say Thank you to the woman who asked “Wanna be my friend?”

The answer is yes.

Sex, Lies, and the Postpartum Year

Warning: if you have not had children yet, read at your own risk.

“A year?” a mama in my childbirth class said to me, her jaw dropping.

“Yes, a year. Maybe a little more, depending on when your baby masters sleeping through the night, and how quickly your body heals.”

It was the night where the women and their partners separate. It feels a little bit like eighth grade health class, but it’s a powerful night, and gives people the space to talk without concern for their partner’s feelings. We talk about many things, but one thing above all: SEX (or shall we say the lack thereof) after having a baby.

Don’t get me wrong – many couples grow closer during this time.  There is a magic to this baby moon, this slowing down and refocusing on what is really important in life.  Having a baby forces a whole new level of teamwork and has the potential to create a relationship that is unshakable.

But it’s not a sexy year.

My personal highlights from early postpartum?  Feeling a crazy heaviness in my vagina every time I got out of bed; watching my breasts grow to six-times their original size, but not wanting to be touched; having uncontrollable gas; wearing a diaper (yes, me, not the baby) and strutting around our room with my beautiful post partum pooch; thinking about sex the way someone would think about washing the kitchen floor, like it’s important to do, but not at all pleasurable; wondering if I was ever going to sleep again, or if I was going to live the rest of my days in a foggy, subtly depressed state of malaise.

Not exactly boom-chick-a-boom time.

Most doctors don’t help the matter by setting up the expectation that you can – and will – be having sex 6-weeks postpartum. Partners go home and circle the date on their calendar.  Many well-meaning books also lead couples astray. One couple I worked with read a book on marriage after baby and came away with the idea that every postpartum couple “should” be having sex once a week after the initial six-week healing period; that it is a woman’s duty to take care of her partner sexually, even if she doesn’t feel like it.  Instead of “baby-proofing” the marriage, this nearly ended the marriage.

Your body needs time.

After attending 170 births as a doula and working with hundreds more in my yoga studio, it seems to be pretty universal: when it comes to feelings about sex in early postpartum, most mamas range from not interested to downright terrified.

There is a level of trauma in birth.  Lynn Leach, a physical therapist and healer, said to me once that everything after “the moment that you don’t want to do it anymore” can register as trauma in the body.  For some women this could be minutes, others could be hours or even days.

While it may be physically possible to have sex six weeks after birth, most mamas get the shakes just thinking about something going back in where this enormous baby just came out. The idea of any kind of activity down there can be daunting. I gingerly I I explained to my husband that my vagina was like the hiking trails that are closed for rehabilitation.  Nothings broken, you just can’t go there right now.

I’m sure there is the rare mama who feels hot and ready-to-go at six weeks, but I haven’t met her yet.  For most of us, the desire wanes and sex seems like some crazy thing that you used to do before baby came along, like pedicures and “girls nights.”

Expectations are crucial.

In my class, I focus on setting appropriate expectations.  My husband and I, in our separate rooms with the couples, spell out a more realistic timeline of what to expect:

  • Around 6-10 weeks:  A rather awkward attempt at sex.
  • Sometime after that: Another try, maybe a little more successful.
  • Every month or so:  Mama musters up the energy to try again.
  • By six months:  Mama may think sex is a good idea.
  • By a year:  Mama actually initiates (especially if baby is sleeping well).

This timeline is by no means definitive and it is important not to compare. Some couples find their way back to regular sex quickly, and others barely have sex once before the baby’s first birthday.   I encourage couples to trust that whatever love and sexual expression they are capable of in each moment is enough.  And to remember: as with all things baby, it’s always going to be in flux.

Many factors affect libido, including: breastfeeding, physical healing, stress, lack of sleep, and (perhaps most powerfully) the hormonal shift. If your body (physically) doesn’t appear to be functioning – or feeling – right after six months, consult a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic health, to make sure that everything is healing correctly.  This work can instantly change the experience of sex.  Don’t suffer through painful intercourse without getting checked.  I secretly thank my physical therapist every day that I have sex with my husband.

That’s right, the dry spell doesn’t last forever.

I remember clearly my first ovulation, at 13 months postpartum, suddenly noticing this devastatingly handsome man in my room.  I’m not sure where he’d been all year, but my husband was looking pretty cute. Perhaps the quantity of sex changes (it’s a lot harder to find the time than it used to be), but the quality can also change, to be a deep and lasting expression of the love between two people.  Love that welcomed another human being into the world.

And that’s pretty hot.

Stay tuned for section two, for more about the physical and emotional “how-to” for sex in the postpartum year.

Weaning Mama

An era is coming to an end.

I love breastfeeding. I have to say it. Sometimes, when I’m feeling low, I almost hope that Phoenix will want some milk. It lifts my spirits, it connects me to my son, and it’s one of the only times he sits still, looking into my eyes, resting in my arms like he was still a baby. It doesn’t seem that long ago, that I was calling my mom to bring over her crock pot to make warm compresses to ease the crazy milk flow that descended three days after his birth. I was always a milk machine, I could have nursed triplets. I didn’t get stretch marks on my belly, but instead got them on my breasts, when my poor little size A pre-pregnant breasts grew to a size DOUBLE holy-cow-I-can’t-believe-it D at full tilt. Jugs, in every sense of the word.

For many weeks, every time my family got together, my breasts were the centerpiece of most conversations. It was startling, to me, and to others, their transformation. But I just beamed. I felt like a huge success. I was making milk. Tons of it, in fact. I had watched and supported enough other mamas to know that it wasn’t always this easy. My baby was growing, and after the first week (which hurt quite a lot), I actually enjoyed feeding him in this strange and wonderful, and oh so animal way.

Going back to work was probably the most difficult part of breastfeeding for me. My job, working with mamas, lends itself to understanding, but also has unique challenges. Like sneaking away from a mama in labor to say “I’m sorry, I know you’re having a baby right now, but I’ve got to pump for a minute, I’ll be right back.” Or getting out the manual pump in the office with Tina, my employee, and saying “do you mind if I just pump right here?” and watching her politely mask her horror as my nipple was pulled to two inches long before her eyes. When we are nursing we are brought so instantly and profoundly into our mammal self. Even in the middle of a work day.

I remember at thirteen months, when Phoenix suddenly decided he needed milk at 2:00am again. Wracked with Working Mama guilt, I reasoned with myself “Well, he’s in day care all day, he must need me at night” and proceeded to knock over the tiny sand castle of mental health I had been building up for a few short months. My husband and I would strategize ways to get him back sleeping through the night, and our plans would crumble as I heard my baby boy cry. I’d watch myself run to his crib, thrust my breast into his mouth, to ease both of our frazzled nerves. My husband would look at me as I came back into the bedroom and say, “How did it go in there?” Sheepishly, I would confess, “I fed him.”

And then I remember at seventeen months hitting the wall, and realizing that a happy healthy mama was better than a little milk in the night. We talked with sleep consultant Eileen Henry, came home and carefully explained to Phoenix the new “plan” of no more middle-of-the-night milk. I expected tears, trauma, and deep emotional scarring, and braced myself for the worst night of my life. I awoke to the sun pouring in to our room, amazed that he slept perfectly. And he hasn’t looked back.

I always thought I would nurse for two years, as long as it was going well for both of us. I don’t know where I came up with that number. I’ve heard that monkey mamas begin to push their monkey babies away around one year. Two felt very generous. As I write this, I realize I am only weeks away from my son’s second birthday. I knew it was coming. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago that he was born, in other ways it seems like two days. My little son can actually say, when prompted, that he’s about to turn “two!” with his two chubby fingers pointed out. So, here we are… and we’re still nursing. Mostly just before bed, or nap, if we are together.

A few times this year, his interest seemed to be waning, but I was the one that wasn’t ready, so I would create “cave time” making the nursery dark and quiet, to limit distractions. Later, I added fun songs to sing while we nursed. I guess I thought that I could talk him into nursing for exactly two years, and that his interest would magically go away after we blew out the birthday candles and sent everyone home on his second birthday.

One of the things compelling me to wean now is the thought of getting pregnant again. At an acupuncture appointment this week, I was told my blood was deficient (that always feels good), and that it might be nice to give my body a little break. Funny how I couldn’t really think of taking that break for myself, but when it comes to taking care of my next baby, I better get serious! Mamas will do anything for their children, even the ones that aren’t here yet.

But I don’t know if he’s ready to wean… or really, if I am.

When I think of ending this special time, I feel the loss, and the end of a profoundly connected time. I wonder if he will still know how much I love him? For me personally, I have never felt a more complete expression of love than creating a special blend of nutrient rich milk and feeding it to my child through my own body. Holding him in my arms, head leaning into my heart, eyes gazing into mine. Cuddling up and reading a book together just doesn’t feel the same to me. And I also dread not giving him something he wants, the worst possible thing for any mama. I want to give my son everything and more. I want him to not need anything. I want him to go to sleep so full and surrounded by my love that he never doubts that he is extraordinary. I want to nurse his confidence, nurse him back to health, nurse him when he falls down, nurse his wounds. I want to tell him how glad I am that he is here, how grateful I am that he chose me to be his mama, how amazed I am to actually be on this journey with him, through every drop of sweet, warm milk.

And I know I can’t nurse him forever.

I know all things come to an end, and it is time to let him grow, and let my body recover fully. I know I need to learn and explore the next ways to express my love to him. To snuggle him, sing to him, maybe make him a scarf, or a soft toy. I will learn new ways to show him that he’ll always be my little man, no matter how big he gets. I know I’ll also have just that little bit more time for those things, or… potentially even some time for me, as his needs shift, and we are not nursing every day.

We give birth, and then live into a series of separations, as our babies slowly move farther and farther away from us. And if we want them to be great, and we want to be great mamas, we welcome this separation. I know one day I will watch him walk out of my home, and into the life that only he can live, without me holding his hand. And if I am a good mom, I will let him go, and stand by, gracefully, as I watch my son become a man. And then step back into the house and have a good cry.

Well… maybe one more week.

Gratitude

Today I was honored as a finalist in the First Annual Colorado Leading Lady Awards.   As I sat in that room full of over 150 women entrepreneurs and their families and friends, I was filled with gratitude and awe.  Awe at how far we have come as women, and gratitude for all the people that help us everyday to go farther. And gratitude to have work that I love, a family that I love, and some time to enjoy them both.

When my grandmother Myrm was alive, her career aspirations were considered to be trivial at best, and a betrayal of her marriage and family at worst.  The next generation had their pick of “appropriate” jobs for women: Secretary, Teacher, Nurse,  and maybe Cleaning Lady.  After that, a generation of women stormed into the corporate world, guns blazing, blasting through all the glass ceilings they could.  And following that war zone, a few women started to voice their desires to be mothers, to be home makers, to be stay at home moms, or Work at home moms… So now,

we have this phenomenal choice…to be moms, to be business owners, to be all of it.

To create the work we want, in the way we want it.   Today, women are not just “allowed” to work, but often encouraged and needed to work.  Women are a vital, essential part of the workforce and our economy, not just in war time, or down times, but for all time.  I am grateful to the women who carved the way so that I can get up each day and create my business in a way that serves women, and mothers, and my family at the same time.

When I opened the first Yo Mama Yoga in Santa Monica, it was out of necessity.  I couldn’t stand being told by one more Yoga studio owner that my students’ strollers were “in the way,”  or that the cheerios were making a mess on the studio floor, or that the pregnant women needed to stop chatting so much after class and clear out so the “power flow” class could begin on time.  I wanted to create a space for moms in the spirit of what moms were all about.  I wanted a studio that greets the frazzled late-comer with spit up all over her shirt,  and welcomes her with warmth and acknowledgement that she made it at all!  I wanted a center that incorporates nursing, diaper changes, tears and meltdowns into the yoga.  I wanted a studio that understands that sometimes the conversation after a yoga class is more important than the class itself.

Because let’s face it, moms and moms-to-be need a moment of zen more than anyone.

I am so grateful to have been able to realize this dream, first in Santa Monica, and now in my home town of beautiful Boulder, CO.  I am grateful to my mother for the $2000.00 loan that started it all.  I am grateful to my husband, who helped me paint my first studio on our second date, and continues to infuse the business with his huge heart.  I am grateful to my sister, for her inspiring pregnancy and birth, and for the constant joy I receive from seeing her raise her sweet amazing son (known to the family yoga class as Michael Jackson because of his ongoing Halloween costume).  I am grateful to my best friend Dawnia for her constant support and being on the other end of way too many meltdown phone calls.  I am grateful to all of my teachers and coaches who have guided me towards my higher truth, and my path of heart.  I am also deeply grateful to my amazing team:  Kelly, Amanda, Brittney,  and all the teachers and practioners at Yo Mama that make it all happen.

Finally, I am grateful to all the women who have walked through the doors of Yo Mama Yoga and into my life.

Through you all, I have been so inspired and so filled with awe.  I have gotten to share in the joys:  The moment a woman conceives after trying for so long, the moment a woman faces her fears to give birth powerfully, the moment a mom and dad meet their new baby, the moment a mom finally gets a baby to latch on to breastfeed, against all odds, and of course, that holy grail of motherhood, the moment a baby sleeps through the night!  I have witnessed the strength of single moms, the many different kinds of families forging their way, and the sweet faces of so many babies!

I have also shared the depth of the  losses along the way, and the heartbreaking, winding path that motherhood can take.  I have seen a woman continue to come to prenatal yoga week after week out of pure intention, struggling to get pregnant, and then struggling to keep those pregnancies, and I have shared in her triumph to finally hold her sweet babe in her arms.  I have seen the woman who chooses to adopt discovering that love goes way beyond biology.  And I have seen the mother open her heart again after a devastating loss, and welcome a new baby into her heart.

And through all of this, I have also gotten to share my own journey.

My struggle to find the right partner, my struggle to accept the transition to being a mother, my struggle to balance the business, my new sweet little man, and my own mind amidst it all.  In yoga last week I taught a pose in the Mommy and Me class, we call “the one armed warrior.”  The moms hold babies in one arm and do warrior with the other.  And that is what we are.  WE are warriors.  WE can do more with one arm, and half of our brain power, in the two hour time period when our babies are sleeping, than many people can do in a week.

Thank you so much for sharing your journeys, your babies, and your stories with me.   It is my goal that Yo Mama be way more than a yoga studio.  It is a home for you, to bring it all, the good, the bad, the exhausted, and the exhilarated.  To be celebrated and empowered as the women warriors that we are, choosing each day to show up for our children and ourselves and co-create a life that is focused on what is good, what is real, and what is joyful.  In a time as uncertain as our current one, it is a great joy to spend my days hearing the laughter of children. I truly honor and recognize the heroic journey that we are on together, and I thank you for walking this path with me.

Namaste.

Yo Mama Opening

I feel full. Not just from the baby in my belly, who grows closer and closer to it’s due date. But tonight I feel full of the love, support and joy of the community that is being created at Yo Mama.

We had our open house today. It was a whirlwind for me, felt a bit like our wedding, trying to manage logistics as well as connect with each person. One of the highlights for me was teaching the family yoga class in the middle of the day. Looking out on this sea of joyful faces, from 3 months old all the way to Grandma, and seeing them enjoy the yoga and each other. Seeing the moms with babes in arms, and the mother of a tribe of three bigger kids, all laughing and having fun. I felt so completely fulfilled.

It was also powerful to see all the practioners, teachers, and therapists that are part of the Yo Mama Family. I can’t believe how quickly I am finding such warm, caring people to be a part of this. I loved seeing people wander dreamily out of the massage and facial rooms, clearly nurtured.

I am so grateful to be here in Boulder, where my open house not only includes the new people that I have met, but people that I have known my whole life. After the screening of the film “Birth Day,” we led a small discussion, and there in the crowd were the faces of the people that I first experienced birth with, David Butler and Joyce Long.  Joyce gave birth to Elise, when I was 13 years old, and I had the honor of being there. Joyce brought the pictures of the birth, and I was transported, looking at my 13 year old self, with a bad perm and a sense of awe in my face. And now Elise (who is 20) is hoping to get home in time to see my baby being born. Life is such a rich circle, such a journey.

It’s nice when that journey has a few life-long companions. It’s good to be home. And to feel like Yo Mama is really starting to be a home, not just for me, but for many.

Thank you, thank you.

All of you that came out today, and all of you that come through the doors of the studio, and bring your bellies, your babies, and your hearts into my life. My heart, belly and life feel full tonight.

My deepest gratitude to Amanda, Lauren, Shanna, Maggie, Jen, Ruth, Caroline, Sydney, Ariana, Whitney, Sonja, Erika, Kelly, Mom, and my sweet husband, John.