It’s your regular weekly vinyasa class, packed with students and suddenly, that former student who was pregnant walks in. She’s had her baby! Great and now…..what do you do? What are your post-natal techniques? How do you adjust for this new mom? Here’s some clues –
This is generally what’s happening for that Mum:
- She’s spent the morning cleaning baby food from her hair
- She has no idea there’s spit up down her back
- She’s been VERY lucky to shower in the last week
- She’s saved herself, or her baby, from a LIFE-ENDING predicament THAT DAY ALONE
- She re-arranged her chest of drawers because the baby pulled everything out
- She can’t remember when she last ate. By herself. Slowly. Mindfully.
- She’s not even sure what the word “mindfully” even means now
How to Help this Mum:
- Words of support. It’s a minor miracle she was able to show up at all. Acknowledge that.
- Slow her down. With integrity and kindness. If she’s trying to power through poses to get her “pre-baby” back, slow this woman down. With tact and gentleness.
- Allow her to keep her phone by her mat. Turned on. This may be her first time away from her baby or her fiftieth time. Regardless, as a new mum, it’s terrifying. Allow her to make sure her baby is okay.
- Did she fall asleep in the first minute? In a forward bend? DO NOT WAKE HER. Cover with a blanket instead.
- She looks tearful/enraged/wistful/something else? New mums are emotional. Don’t take it personally.
Look around. Most yoga students tend to be women. Some of them are future mums. Some have two children already. There may be grandmothers and young yoginis in your class. In the past, they would be the new mum’s tribe. Think of them as such. A tribe that has lost its traditions and is now looking to you for guidance. How you treat this mum will impact all of them. If you are gentle, caring and supportive, chances are this will make them act accordingly. They may offer extra support out of class to your student. Or, when a random baby has a meltdown in a Sainsbury queue, they will be more understanding (maybe even helpful).
Be the teacher who treats these mums with the kindness and care owed to them. It will impact your other students, but more importantly, it will impact you. Become a guide to new levels of sensitivity and wisdom towards mums.