My Birthday Yoga Challenge Dedicated to My Dad
Last July I did wrote the following in anticipation of my birthday.
As I approach my 33rd birthday, the first without my father, the first as a mother of two, I feel it’s time to express and share my emotional journey. When my father passed away in November, I went into complete survival mode. I felt there was no way I could break down, I was pregnant and it was the holidays, I needed to keep it together. I had to stay healthy for my baby. And so I pushed away all the tears, as much as I could, I did cry every now and then, but I put on a brave face and tried to go on with my life. My best friend Sandy told me there would be a time when I would break down, and so I anticipated that, but again I had to stay positive. I had to stay focused on the beautiful life I was creating inside me, I wanted it to be a joyful time. And it was.
Labor with my first son was long, 57 hours, and Cruz came 2 ½ weeks early. In this second pregnancy I had a feeling he would come early again, and I just was not feeling great, I was uncomfortable, and a lot earlier than the previous pregnancy. And so at 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant my water broke a little before 2am. I freaked out a little and I prepared myself for another long labor. The midwife told me to get some sleep and call back in the morning, so I did. In the morning she told me to come to the birthing center. Mind you I was planning on having a home birth, and I had my first son at home, so I had no idea what to pack for the birthing center, and it was too early, I kinda freaked out. Not to mention my cousin Priscilla called me to tell me she was engaged, and I tried to show my excitement for her in between contractions. I called my mom to come get Cruz, and Tommy and I arrived at the birthing center around 9am. By about 10am I was admitted to the birthing suite.
At that moment in between tough contractions that were getting closer and stronger I looked at Tommy and said my dad is here. I knew his spirit was with us, reassuring me I was tough and could get through this. Well as it turns out Santos was determined to come fast and furious. In less than 2 hours later and 2 minutes of pushing he was out. What was interesting to me this time around was that because labor progressed so much faster than the previous one, the contractions were way more intense as was the pushing, except that when I was pushing I didn’t even feel like I was in control, my body was doing all the work and I just let it. And like I said he came out fast and furious.
When he came out, I felt like more than just a baby came out. It felt like all the emotions I had been holding on too since my father’s death, all the sadness I had pushed away had finally decided there was no were left to hide. And at that moment of birth, all my built up emotions came with him and I burst into tears, sobbing and moaning and crying all the tears I had swallowed all that time. I cried for my beautiful baby, my son, I cried because I was in complete shock he came so early and so quickly. And I think I also cried because my son would never get to meet his Abuelito, because I will never have a picture of the two of them together, because my dad never got to watch my kids play soccer, because I never got to have the conversation with my dad about the great soccer potential my boys have if they would just work on certain skills while I try to remind him their just kids.
I watched my father fade away into the abyss, I watched the monitors in the hospital as the numbers kept going lower until they all reached 0. I heard him take his last breath, and I said goodbye to the man who loved me so much, who protected me, supported me, and helped make me the woman I am today. And all I could think was what will my life look like without him, I don’t know. I don’t know.
So as I approach my 33rd birthday, my first without my dad, my first as a mother of two, I need to start processing my emotions, I need to start letting out the tears I have been holding onto for fear of showing vulnerability. I need to start talking about all the amazing memories of my dad. I need to start sharing how I feel be it sadness or anger. I want my kids to know and remember their amazing Abuelito. And I want to get to a place where I can feel whole again.
So here’s my plan to start this journey of healing: It’s 21 days until my 33rd birthday, so for the next 21 days I vow to practice meditation, mindfulness and yoga. Each day I will work on a yoga pose or asana as we say. Each day making the intention to reflect on how that particular asana represents a part of me, a part of my journey, a part of healing, and a part of my past, present, and future. I am also still in early post-partum, Santos is barely approaching 3 months so my body has not quite bounced back, so these asanas will also hopefully help with recovery as well. I look forward to what this journey will bring me and what I will learn along the way.
Day 1- June 29- Baddha Konasana/ Bound angle pose
Day 2- June 30- Seated twist
Day 3- July 1- Prasarita Padottanasana/ wide leg forward fold
Day 4- July 2- Setu Bandhasana/ Bridge
Day 5- July 3- Navasana/ Boat pose
Day 6- July 4- Crescent Lunge
Day 7- July 5- Utkatasana/ Chair
Day 8- July 6- Virabhadrasana II/ Warrior II
Day 9- July 7- Parsvakonasana/ Side Angle pose
Day 10- July 8- Trikonasana/ Triangle
Day 11- July 9- Goddess
Day 12- July 10- Vrksasana/ Tree
Day 13- July 11- Padangusthasana/ Toe Stand
Day 14- July 12- Natarajasana/ Dancer
Day 15- July 13- Kapotasana/ Pigeon
Day 16- July 14- Ustrasana/ Camel
Day 17- July 15- Salabhasana/ Locust
Day 18- July 16- Dhanurasana/ Bow
Day 19- July 17- Salamba-Sarvangasana/ Shoulder Stand
Day 20- July 18- Kakasana/ Crow
Day 21- July 19- My Birthday- Virasana/ Hero