I suppose like every new mom-to-be, my mind is flooded with questions about motherhood. On this Mother’s Day, these questions seem all the more relevant not because they relate to motherhood, because they relate to all women.
What does it mean to be a mother?
“Every woman has an inner awareness of what it is like to be a mother. In the true sense every woman is a divine mother, whether she has a child or not; it does not matter. The essence of Mother is present in every woman as sharing, caring, loving, and forgiving.”
– Ayurvedic master Vasant Lad
I have asked myself the above question many times over the years, wondering if I wanted or needed to have my own family. After all, I already was a “yoga mama” and considered it my duty to care for, nurture and protect my yoga community. I devoted most of my time and energy in the last 16 years to my studios, students and ayurvedic clients and I take the responsibility of teaching yoga seriously. Although most people I’ve taught are older then me, I see them as my kids and have an especially tender spot for my teacher trainees, having gotten to know them so well. It’s hard to explain, but I have so much love for my students, even for those who were difficult, rude and gave me a hard time. I have always found my work fulfilling and meaningful. When I look back on my years teaching, I feel like I’ve lived 1,000 years. I am an old woman in a young woman’s body. Not that I’m tired or feel I am facing the end of my life, just that I have lived and lived. In some ways, it makes no sense to me that I am now about to start a new life as a “real mother” to the baby inside my womb.
(I love the above quote. It was shared with me by one of my dear students Anna, and I think it is so poignant.)
Who is this little being?
I having a hard time grasping the idea that another person will appear out of seemingly nowhere and be with us all time. I imagine myself staring at this little person after it’s* born (and probably for the rest of its life) and wondering who they are, where they came from and why they are here. This may sound strange, but I know that the baby inside me is my child and yet, I do not feel it belongs to me in any way. It just passing through me on its own journey into this world and I just happen to be its vehicle. (Similarly, I feel that my teachings are not mine, but rather they also come through me.) Still, it overwhelms me to know that I am everyday witness to the miracle that is growing within me and I am so eager to look into its eyes and get to know this little person.
With motherhood, what things will change and what will stay the same?
Motherhood or not, I know that change is inevitable in life and nothing stays the same. My friends and family tell me once the baby is born “everything changes”. This intimidates me. I am used to, even attached to, my independence. Its one of my defining characteristics and to be honest, it worries me to think about loosing it for good. This worry, ok let’s call it fear, is what nearly prevented me from wanting to be married and have a family, and after owning two yoga studios, I’m not sure I ever wanted to be “tied down” again. However, it seem life has other plans for me. My husband, Arturo, showed up when I least expected it and has enriched my life with so much joy and meaning. Something tells me this baby will do the same, but this does not stop me from having moments of grasping to the “independent life” I know. When I am still, reassurance appears like whisper telling me: “This is who you are and who you are will never be taken away from you. Just as you are daughter, sister, friend, wife, teacher, student, you will be mother and all will be well.’
So allow me to wish you, to wish all women, Happy Mother’s Day. May you embrace the blessings, miracles and joys of who you truly are, the gifts you share with the world and the ones you receive.
Thank you to my own mother Marta, to my grandmothers Krystyna and Elaina, and to my aunts Lorna and Anula. I love you. To Lisa, Gigi and Anita and to all the other women in my life who have mothered me in some way: I love you too and I am deeply grateful for your guidance and care.
(The photos in this post were taken by the exceptionally talented Beau Campbell, dancer, yogini, photographer and friend.)
*Kindly forgive my use of the pronoun “it”. I do not mean to be demeaning or sound disconnected. I simply don’t know the baby’s gender and I am happy for it to remain its own little being for the time being.