“Okay mamas, everyone take a step in so the circle is tight enough. Now put your hands up about shoulder height so you’re touching hands with the person on either side of you. We’re going to be using each other for support in this next balance posture. As you get ready for birth, you need to get used to accepting support…..”
I look to my right - 5’3’’, blond, very pregnant woman smiles at me. I look to my left - 5’4’’, asian, also very pregnant woman smiles back at me.
I immediately think to myself, “Get ready ladies. This is a learning edge for me so I’m goin’ for it.”
I root my left foot into the ground, then bring my right foot up to my lower calf for tree pose. As I settle into the pose and gaze softly on the floor, I can’t help but notice as several women step down in their moments of imbalance rather than relying on the women beside them.
How often do we do this? Metaphorically "step down" so as not to impose on anyone else. Shy away from accepting support, even in the most kind and safe scenarios.
This is one aspect of my SuperMom that I’ve been working very hard to unlearn. And as I swayed my way through the pose (seriously - there were so many moments where I pushed hard into their hands to stay up), I heard that inner voice having a field day:
“What are you thinking?! You can’t push that hard into their hands! What if you hurt them? What if they fall over? You’re taking too much! This isn’t polite - just put your foot down and stop being so needy and selfish. They shouldn’t have to hold you up.”
They shouldn’t have to hold me up.
Wow, even as I write that I can feel all the resonance of it. SuperMom says, “You should be able to do it all without anyone’s help. If you can’t, you are a failure.”
And even though my very rational mind knows how untrue and unnecessary that perspective is, it’s still there. Sneaking up on me in prenatal yoga class, where I least expected it.
But I stayed. Any other night I might have dropped my foot, but I didn’t. Even though SuperMom was screaming at me to do it, I pushed into their hands…..and I held them up when they pushed back.
This is how we change the story. This is how we open up space for other women to accept support as well. Through each and every tiny, vulnerable, courageous moment when we say, “Yes, that would be great” to an offer of support.
That is fucking warrior work. Don’t ever forget it.