In the year after graduating college I took a yoga class. This was way back when, about 5 lifetimes ago, I lived in San Francisco, had nary a care in the world, and had excess time on my hands. But I digress.
At the end of every class, we would all lie on our backs with eyes closed, soothing music drifting through the room. The teacher would walk around and chant, “letting go now, letting go now, letting everything go…” for about 5 minutes. It was an exercise in releasing tension and stress.
Back then this didn’t really resonate too much with me. I mean, what did I really have that needing letting go? Ok, maybe that’s not fair. I’m sure I had my share (and a few excess shares) of stress surrounding starting a new job, making my way in a new big city, fretting about applying to medical school. But from my seat now as mama-wife-doctor (interesting how those came out in that order), those worries seem quite a bit more miniscule.
Despite taking that yoga class about 10 years ago, in my current life I hear that mantra in my head frequently. No mama will dispute how much you gain when you have a child. It’s undeniable, unavoidable, all encompassing, amazing, and overwhelming all at the same time. But just as, in motherhood, my being continually expands with increasing love, patience, wonder, and purpose, at the same time I notice other things slip away. These things that I’m shedding by the day are assuredly less monumental than what my little guy adds to my life. But they are there, being tucked away into my life time capsule, perhaps to be opened and reexamined many moons from now.
And sometimes you just need to mourn the loss of these things a little. Like sleep. And control. And carry-on bag only travel. And being on time. And going out to dinner after 5 pm. And having yourself be number 1. And having time to pursue your (non-family) passions. And wearing non-milk stained bras (or shirts, pants…).
As painful and sigh-inducing as it is to write that list, herein lies the rub: I wouldn’t in a million years change it back if I could. And so day by day I continue to molt, letting go of all those parts of my pre-baby life. It’s rough. But it’s a whole heck of a lot easier to let it all go when that soft, chubby, dimpled hand is clutching mine.