Becoming a Parent: Balance

Me, 8 months pregnant. I am indeed one lucky duckAs I wrote a few weeks ago, as a pregnant person, I haven’t been afraid of becoming a parent — I’ve been afraid of becoming a douchebag. I realize “douchebag” is a crude and not very precise term, so let me be more specific and say: I’ve been afraid of motherhood overshadowing all the other parts of my identity —  parts of myself that I value deeply.

Why fear, instead of confidence that I’ll figure it out? I don’t know. Maybe because balance has always been something that’s especially important to me, and something I’ve worked very hard to achieve. Maybe I’m afraid of the work it will take to achieve a new balance, after our daughter is born. (“Our daughter” — eep!)

The more you want out of life, the harder it is to balance it all, and I want a lot: I want to write. I want to perform. I want to grow as an artist. I want to have an intimate, romantic relationship with my husband. I want quality time with my friends and family. I want a nice home. I want creative, challenging, rewarding work and I want to be compensated well for that work. I want to relax. I want to discover new places, near and far.

I want to eat dark chocolate.

And now, I want to expand our family, and to raise a child.

I need to remind myself, on the occasion of this expansion, to be expansive — to open my heart to the possibilities ahead, instead of clenching in anticipation. Parenthood is an unknown, yes — but so is every moment of every day. I just taught a workshop on this subject at SXSW, for Pete’s sake! (What was that about teaching what we most want to learn?)

And I need to remind myself that finding balance can be a playful, rather than intensely serious, process. This makes me think of my yoga practice — as is so often the case, what we find most challenging off the mat correlates to our challenges on the mat, as well, and balancing poses have always been hard for me. Often, I’m able to be lighthearted about it — I wobble in tree pose, and I don’t mind, knowing that the important thing is to keep trying. But other days, I can’t help but think, “Ugh, these balancing poses are always so hard for me — a sign that balance is hard for me in general” — which of course leads to negative feelings that rarely help me steady myself!

Balance is dynamic, not static. Some days we stumble, other days we easefully stand in tree pose, tall and proud. The important thing is that we show up and try again — that’s the true measure of our character. And if we try every day, then no one day’s results is the be-all, end-all — it’s just one page in a long book, a story that can be marked by playfulness or rigidity, fear or openness… it’s all up to us.

As a new chapter of my life begins, I want my book to be a cool graphic novel, filled with poetry and language that moves you to your core. I think that’s the book I’ll write — one my daughter will enjoy reading.

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