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Saturday, July 2, 2016

For All the Banished Mamas

A few days ago... I had a beautiful woman in her 50s sit at the front of my Yoga Nidra class.
I began my explanation of what the intention behind sharing the practice was.
Before I even got to discussing the body scan, she was weeping.
I'm used to this.
I gave her many "it's okay" looks, brought her some tissues, rubbed her back and carried on.
As soon as the practice began, she was fast asleep.
She came up after and said it was the first time in a few years that she felt 100% at ease.
I hugged her.
I told her that just 2 months earlier I had spent a day of silent retreat in tears and it was necessary for me to move through the difficulties of what triggered the tears in the first place with patience.

She apologized several times for crying.
I told her it was okay and she left.

A few days later, I taught our condescend version of MBSR and had everyone discuss their shit. 
Why are you here?
How do you manage stress? 
Where is it in your body?

The same woman from before sat in the circle and when it was her turn?
She said her name and then she began to cry.
She was trembling. 
People had discussed their illnesses, their shitty jobs or alcoholism.
Her issue seemed small.
To her.

She's a single mom with a kid diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

She believes she is the worst parent alive because over the past year she screamed at her kid. 

Her 7 year old barely made it through the  1st grade this year.

Teachers called her everyday.

Parents who had been her friends for years now disinvited her kid from activities.
They sent her texts telling her what a brat her kid is.

Her story is my story.
Or easily relatable.
She took a breath and then she just shut down.

She was done.

She cried again but then did her best to appear pulled together as I went through the next hour and a half discussing stress management.
It was a long class.
It was good.
I was on but I had 30 people wanting to have an A-Ha moment and it still feels intimidating whenever I notice a yawn infect the group.

After class she approached me.
I had mentioned that my son was a challenge.
He had emotional and behavioral issues.

My practice this year has been to remember to breathe whenever I receive a call from Atticus's school.
Instead of impulsively apologizing or blaming the messenger, I pause. 
I breathe and it's ridiculously helpful.

Her eyes held the same amount of panic and sadness that mine have had.

I've been feeling so alone.

A few friends have reached out but the ones I expected to call...they don't and it has hurt.

But...new friends have helped me learn the semantics of what I need to do.
I've felt so blind and ashamed over the past 2 years and am only recently becoming empowered.

I explained to her that not everyone gets it.
Those cruel friends are ignorant.
That's all.
They aren't evil and neither is she.

Their lives have their own challenges and they may not have the reserves or awareness to understand the need for support when so much in the world seems insane.

This year?
I have become incredibly educated about brain development, about meditation as a tool but also the that sometimes diet, therapy and yoga can't 'fix' your kid or make them not lose their shit.

We hugged a lot and we cried and I told her that the best tool I have had throughout the past few years has been to reach out and ask for help.
Literally and physically.
I found a kick ass Mom with an autistic son who may not know how inspiring  she has been.
She's badass.

In addition, touch is crucial for kids with executive function issues.

Hug them. 
A lot.
Atticus readily requests touch.
Hugs, kisses and back rubs.
I do it whenever I can.

I drop to my knees and look him in the eyes.
I tell him he is loved and explain why throwing things, running away and calling his bus driver an asshole makes his life more difficult.

I don't know why I'm sharing this...
To remind myself that I'm not alone in this?
To remind others, that they aren't either?

This woman that I met.
She self contained during my lecture but then sobbed once everyone left the room.

She needed to.

She doesn't like her kid all the time.
She feels incredibly guilty about it.

America?
What are we doing to our mothers?
This idealized story that Motherhood is magical?
That it's 100% nurture and organic snacks?
If you indoctrinate your kid in mindfulness and a million activities...they will be amazing?
Ta-Da!

Well?
Good for you.

Kuddo's to the moms who can and have children without emotional or behavioral issues.
I prepared for my pregnancy, I was vegan, I taught yoga throughout but it turns out my traumas and genetics can't be wished out.

This mother that I met?
She's like so many.
She's big hearted.
She loves her son.
She knows he is funny and kind but this world we live in doesn't allow for mistakes, patience or do overs and she's broken right now.

My heart hurts for her.

My heart hurts for my own child.

He went to Capoeria today.
He spent most of it playing and having fun and then the rest of it crying, covering his ears and running in the corner saying that "he didn't understand what he was supposed to do".

What will his teachers remember today?

Hopefully, they will acknowledge that he has gotten better but the looks on their faces said that he was a real fucking pain.

I'm not ashamed, anymore.

I'm not going to apologize for him but I will patiently explain to him (AGAIN) that losing it is distracting to others and maybe he should just explain in a non screaming way that he needs a time out.

It might work.
Or not.

I have come to understand that unconditional love is relentlessly wanting the best for someone who makes your life difficult, every damn day. 
That's love. 

Oh, Mamas.
It's the most beautiful life dance you will ever perform but it comes with a lot of band aids, twisted ankles and bruises.

Bless you.