My eldest just went to college – finally – after the COVID crisis of last year. I’m lucky. I got a bonus year with her, right? Except, it didn’t feel like a bonus navigating all the losses of 2020. I’m so happy she’s finally on her way – and she is too! I’m not an empty nester. My 16 year old is at home, so how do I explain this weird sensation in my body and in my household?
As I sat with a group of new moms for the IYK® Baby + Toddler class, I was struck by something unexpected. I remember that feeling of being SO ready for my baby to get out of my body. She can’t stay there forever; at full-term, it’s time for her to be out! Yet, after birth, there was this odd vacancy in my body and I was left with the squishy leftovers of her having been there. With my last birth, I remember thinking I’ll never feel that again, and I was sad because I loved being pregnant.
Leaping years forward, no one explained that strange sensation would happen again when she left the house. She packed her room. We got her into the on-campus apartment. It all went smoothly. She was all set. Then, I came home. The house felt different. It didn’t matter how many sleepovers, trips taken or camps she attended, she always landed back here. But this time, it felt different. I walked through her room and gathered the remnants she’d left behind. It was that same squishy leftover feeling of her no longer living in my vessel.
That hit me hard. I was fortunate to be spared of postpartum depression with both of my pregnancies. I work with so many moms who experience it intensely and it’s hard to overcome those challenges. I’ve always empathized, but now I identify with them in this new way. It’s postpartum part 2 for me, and it’s real!
Fortunately, there’s always a silver lining and a metaphor with yoga:
- Feel the feels – the vacancy. In yoga, it’s the exhale to the bottom of your breath.
- Let go. In yoga, release any tension you are holding in your body and mind.
- Love yourself fully. In yoga, be with yourself in every state with care.
Within a week, I was delighted to hear Kate had enrolled in some yoga classes. She was taking off navigating new experiences – another metamorphosis complete.