Parenting Off The Mat
Sutra 1.1, Part the Second
atha = now, at this auspicious, particular moment; after preparation and practice; blessings in place
yoga = process of yoking or integration; union
anusasanam = teaching, exposition that happens with discipline which form the base from which to cultivate one’s spiritual life
Do you know what sucks? PPD sucks
Postpartum depression (PPD) robs me of time with my children. It rots my marriage with painful words. It isolates me from my friends. It causes me to doubt everything I say or do. It makes me feel like everyone, especially my children, would be better off without me here. When I feel this bad, after I’ve submerged myself into the depths of self-abuse and self-hatred, it is easy to glom onto any floating object that could keep me from going under.
I’m working through Yoga Sutra 1.1: “Now is the time for Yoga.” So, of course when I’m struggling with these uncomfortable thoughts that are brought up from PPD, my smart-aleck brain sing-songs “Nananah! Now is the time for Yoga.” But, Yoga is not another 12 step program for self-improvement to being somewhere someone else. It is a fundamental shift in consciousness.
It is terribly easy to get caught up in the quick fix, shiny blue pill or program that will instantly evolve me into that perfectly carefree, ultimately patient person. This causes me more pain because I’m still working with the paradigm that I am not where I need to be-that things will be better if only…
It looks and feels like I’m doing. The positive feedback both internally and externally from those close to me is heady. But, inevitably, I splash back into the PPD well, only to grab the next life-preserver floating by.
Now is the time for Yoga. I have been asking how I might utilize this sutra without improving, evolving or struggling. Now, I have been sitting with these thoughts in meditation for three days (hey, it’s a start!)-formal, seated meditation. Sometimes, I cram in five minutes. One time, I eked out fifteen whole minutes before someone wailed for mama. This meditative stillness is when I have caught myself and stopped struggling. I float down into stillness; down into the water and watch those thoughts float by me. I notice them and let them go. I bring this stillness with me as I break the surface and plunge into the next parenting task. I notice the kids are calmer with me post-meditation, too. At least for a moment or two, we all have a break from the mire of PPD.
On the worst moments of my worst days, this practice is my way of being fully present in all of its discomfort. I spend more time than I would like puddling in my bed instead of being with my children. I say things that cause pain to my husband. I believe everyone would be better off without me. I have the guilt from these things. It is awful to be in this place.
Now is the time for Yoga. This awful place is where I am. These uncomfortable thoughts are my thoughts. I know that none of these are me, but struggling against these beliefs will lead me to self-improvement instead of shifting where I am. I believe this is one of the ways I am creating the shift in myself. I’m not striving to be better or un-depressed. I’m practicing and the practice is all there is. I’m not setting goals or deadlines. I’m trying to float under the surface, in this dirty water.
Right here, right now. Yoga. Parenting off the mat.
- How to Help Your Wife if She Has Postpartum Depression (brighthub.com)