I’ve come full circle, back in Koh Samui, at Samahita Yoga Thailand (SYT) two and a half years after my last serious training here. This time I’m here with my husband M, and my 21 month old boy/girl twins Rahul and Leila.
Right after my advanced teacher training course at SYT in 2009, I spent three months in my grandfather’s home city in India. It was there, in the peak of the summer, that after a round of IVF I got pregnant. There was the usual pregnancy stuff – fatigue, dizziness, and some vomiting. Overall, ok though. I had a long nap on my yoga mat every afternoon! Before the end of the first trimester, I insisted on returning to Chengdu, my current home city.
At 16 weeks things became more complicated. I had a major bleed, and spent the next four months in bed. The first month was spent in two Chengdu hospitals. I needed help. My mum flew in and without warning was roped into spending the next 9 months with me. Yoga helped too. The breath work calmed me through many sleepless nights.
At 26 weeks, upon the advice of doctors we flew to HK. The medical facilities there are outstanding.
From the 29th week on, I was in hospital again, being pumped with medication to keep the contractions down.
Then on a Sunday, at 31 weeks exactly, L and R seriously wanted out. I was transferred to another hospital, one with an NICU. They were born in an emergency natural delivery at The Queen Mary Hospital. R spent 3 weeks in the NICU, L spent 6.
As expected, life during the NICU phase was rather stressful, filled with fear, anxiety, and isolation. Thankfully M was there for the delivery and spent the first 2 weeks after the birth. He then managed to return to HK every weekend for the next five months.
Only after both the babies were safely home, and upon M’s ceaseless insistence, did I get a yoga practice in once in a while. Mostly it meant a few minutes of feeling out my body, and then a half an hour nap on the mat. It has gradually changed as the weight dropped, and the flexibility, strength, and focus have come back. This me-time was only possible thanks to my mum and MIL who were with me.
We returned to Chengdu when L and R were 5 months old. The four of us were together for the first time. We were happy, but of course there was some anxiety as for most new mums, and a feeling of isolation.
It’s around this period of time that I began surfing the net while feeding in the middle of the night. I found this site, HDYDI and other personal blogs where MoT’s told their funny stories, their touching stories, their “How to deal with…” stories, I could finally relate. I wasn’t the only one exhausted, stressed about premature babies, their weight-gain and illnesses.
There were undertones of stress in my system for a long time. It was only when L and R were 14 months old that I consciously made the effort to ease up. I couldn’t do it all, couldn’t be perfect and shouldn’t need to be. One insight from a MoT stuck with me. With two, she quickly let go of the expectation for perfection.
I also had to let go of expectations: that I would be able to give equal amounts of attention to each child at all times, that I would always be calm and level-headed, that I would have breast – fed directly and not pumped all the milk into bottles, that I would have lost more weight by now, that I would be practicing and teaching yoga by now, that I would be going out with friends more…and on and on.
A good friend of mine often brought up the fact that I wasn’t doing anything for myself. After some reflection, I realised that I wouldn’t pressure myself, but certainly needed some outlets. Another friend of mine, mother of 4, and ex Chengdu International Women’s Club playgroup coordinator once told me, “if it’s not sleep issues, it’s going to be something else. You just got to make time for yourself somehow.”
Her words rang true. So to start with, I filled her position as playgroup coordinator when she left Chengdu, a small task, but a big step for me. It was my first connection with adults in a long time. Soon after, I started a blog. I have always been a private person, so it’s a big deal. Some nights I write in the middle of the night. But it’s my thing and I enjoy it. It’s my way of organising and expressing my thoughts; and then letting go of them.
I am signed up for an On-line Features writing course. I have always romanticised writing, and until now, didn’t have the confidence to do any of my own. I’m not planning to become a writer, but I am thoroughly enjoying the class.
In the mean time, yoga has gradually seeped back into my life. Being back in Koh Samui at SYT practicing daily, trusting my body’s abilities again, makes teaching in the near future seem realistic. M takes care of L and R while I breathe and move at my own pace from 8-10am every morning.
I have let go of many expectations of myself, but feel more motivated than ever to do the little things that make me happy and feel fulfilled. Being here with M, R and L is certainly one of them.
So as MoM’s with never enough time in a day, what do you do for YOU? Did you have to “let go” of expectations you put on yourself?
These are some related posts and a challenge, that stuck in my mind:
Taking Control (www.goddessinprogress.blog.com)
It’s the simple things (www.seanasmith.com)
52 weeks of ME! Challenge (www.dolli-mama.blogspot.com)