I'm surprised, in some ways, that I ended up enrolling in a pre-natal teacher training. I thought about doing the training last year, but mostly as a way to get closer to my RYT-500 certification. The timing wasn't really right and the money wasn't really there, so I decided to wait. In that time, one of my closest friends had a beautiful baby girl and during and after her pregnancy has realized how strong and empowered she is. (There were no doubts in my mind, girl!) Not to say it was a piece of cake, there were/are some really difficult moments and I'm sure there will be plenty more, but realizing our strength doesn't often come from places of ease, but from places of struggle and difficulty and sometimes insanity.
Since then I also attended a weekend workshop called "Don't Be Afraid of the Pregnant Lady: A Prenatal Primer for Yoga Teachers." I took that workshop for a few reasons. First, it can be a little scary when a pregnant lady comes into your group classes. For most of us, our 200 hour training didn't cover much on the subject, so I didn't feel fully prepared for adequately teaching a pregnant student. I knew the basics of what not to do, generally, but mostly was at a loss. Anytime you feel like you can't guide a student adequately is a crappy experience, so I knew I wanted to learn a whole lot more in order to better serve more of my students.
Second, my friends are starting to have babies! Ok, well just one, but I suspect more will start soon... As much as I want to help my pregnant students feel supported and empowered, I want that for my friends even more! I want to do anything I can for my friends to feel totally ready and prepared for whatever life brings them, and yoga is one of the best things I have to offer. (Well, that and my amazingly inappropriate sense of humor!) I want my friends to know they can come to me for pre-natal yoga and to get tons of information about the choices they have for their bodies!
The final reason was that something else was sort of pulling me in, that I somehow knew this was important for reasons beyond "just" giving birth. (I say "just" in quotes for what I hope are obvious reasons. It's like saying "oh, I just saved a million people from dying in a fire" or "oh, it's just an Olympic Gold Medal." Giving birth is HUGE! Somebody in my training called it the ultimate in athleticism. I don't think you just give birth, I'm just saying that I'm compelled to pre-natal yoga for a multitude of reasons beyond the physical act of birthing a baby.)
Part of the reason I am still surprised at my strong desire to do this training is because of my complete lack of desire to have a child. It immediately makes me feel like "well, what business do I have guiding these women in practice when I can't share this with them?" It makes me feel like a little bit of a fraud. But I think that's where that third reason comes into play.
No, I don't want children and I will probably never be pregnant or be a mother. But I think that whether a woman wants to have a child or not, childbirth is still a hugely empowering, feminist issue that affects all women and humanity no matter what our involvement is. There are so many fears and lack of choices that can come with thinking about having a baby and in a lot of ways I think that's because the power has been taken away from the people actually doing the labor. As women, whether pregnant or not, mothers or not, we have in so many ways learned to not trust our bodies. That can mean leaving all of the choices surrounding childbirth up to our doctor or midwife, or it can mean trying to make our bodies look a certain way rather than paying attention to how they feel, or it can mean over-thinking instead of having a visceral experience. How women are treated day to day affects how they are treated in childbirth and vice versa. How we treat ourselves day to day affects how we have our children and vice versa.
That third thing that has drawn me to this training is that I love women, and feminism, and feeling empowered. I don't want to be pregnant, but when a student, or friend, or coworker, or even a stranger tells me they are pregnant I get so excited! Our bodies are made to do this! The anatomy around it is insane. The uterus? What? It gets so big and strong and pushes a new being out into the world! I know men think their penises are so cool because they grow sometimes, or whatever, but sorry, the uterus grows bigger and better! For all the terrible body shaming that goes on in the world, and for all the insecurities that women feel about their bodies, and for the lack of power and choices we sometimes have - the pregnant body is just like "Whatever! I'm about to show you the power you have! Deal with it!"
So I'm glad I waited to take the class and have figured out why this training is so meaningful to me. Had I done it a year ago, I supposed I would have gotten there eventually, but it feels good going into it with more security and for different and what I think are better reasons. For awhile I struggled with always being the only girl in the room who didn't want to hold the baby, or have a baby, or didn't have a vision of the future with kids in it and in some ways I think that made me hold back my excitement for others. Realizing my attraction is based on wanting to make women feel empowered and strong and prepared and like total badasses makes me even more excited to teach a pre-natal class!
Not only do I want to help pregnant women move and breath through yoga, but I want them to know how powerful they are. I want ALL women to know their power.