Adjusting to life with a newborn can be quite a challenge. In the first three months, sometimes called “the fourth trimester,” everything is still so new and changing so quickly. Life can be made more overwhelming by all the “shoulds” are swimming around in our head. Babies should sleep this much. Babies should eat this much. I should be able to do to this.
I remember swimming, and really drowning, in all the shoulds until one day I just decided to give myself a break. Instead of doing what I thought I should be doing, or what a book, or a well meaning friend or relative thought I should be doing, I did what worked for me and my baby for that day. I took the path of least resistance.
Since then, I have realized that this was the single biggest positive shift in my postpartum period and have been recommending this approach to friends, clients, and anyone who will listen! I know there’s some fear that can come with thinking this way though. Fear of creating bad habits. Fear of missing out. Fear of never getting back to “normal.” But if you take a leap and really be present, those things work themselves out. As my friends at the Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington are fond of saying: No one goes to college breastfeeding. If nursing to sleep is working for you, go for it. If co-sleeping saves your sanity, go for it. If a bottle of formula a day lets you sleep enough to function, go for it. If your family has to eat take out so you can go to yoga, do it. Listen to what you need and what makes life a little bit easier right now.
This same mantra holds true when we’re talking about our physical yoga practice. You may have an idea of what you think your practice should look like post-baby. (Chances are you think it will look like what it did nine months ago.) Be open to the possibility that your body might want something different. If you feel resistance when you try to do backbends, start slowly, or table them for a bit and work on forward folds. If a practice filled with strong standing poses leaves you too tired to get up for the midnight feeding, find some balance with more opening and restorative poses added in. The point is to be plugged in and mindful of not where you want to be or where you could be, but where you are on the mat that day.
Have you tried the path of least resistance? What fears did you have to give up? What did you gain? Let us know on our Facebook page!