Chapter 5 - Celebrating 20 years of Sharing My Love of Yoga with You
NOTE - you might want to jump back and read the earlier chapters to see how I got this far before reading further on.
My twin pregnancy went well and with no real issues and there was much excitement amongst our family and friends. We'd had all sorts of responses when we announced the news from "oh thank god it's you and not me", "I wish so much I'd had twins", "see you in two years", to the standard "don't you guys have a TV" . But our three little girls were very excited and our neighbours were an incredible support to us throughout.
Nothing really prepares you for the arrival of twins into your life, but I was certainly grateful that I had the experience of three previous babies so that initial "first time mum" anxiety didn't exist for me. What did exist for me was the fear of lapsing back into Post Natal Depression as the intensity of parenting was going to lift to an extreme level. JB shared my concern so we did everything we could prepare for the arrival of these precious bundles. I swallowed my pride, asked for help and was determined to do everything in my power to keep myself on top of life and not fall backwards. My yoga practice helped to reinforce this - to be real to ourselves allows to be real to us and why hide behind our pride and false mask. If I couldn't be honest with myself and face some demons then how could I expect others to know what I was feeling. I didn't need to be superwoman - I could be vulnerable - I could ask for help. So we did.
Samuel and Cate arrived at 38 weeks happy and healthy and into many, many loving arms all awaiting their chance to hold them and shower them with affection.
Back in 2006 the government were offering a generous "baby bonus" to families and so we budgeted to spend every last penny on home-help. We had a beautiful couple of ladies that would come and assist me. One would arrive at about 6am every morning and help me feed these tiny little newborns, do the breakfast shift and school runs, make beds, put/hang out the "forever" piles of laundry that a family of 7 create and generally be there for me and let me go back to bed when required. The second shift would arrive at 3.30pm when the girls returned from school/pre-school and another beautiful lady would support me with other chores reading tasks or afternoon activities before JB arrived home and we started the dinner/bath time routine.
I used to laugh that Samuel was now the "baby jesus" of the family such was his uniqueness in a household filled with girls. The first year was basically a blur as we juggled our way between feeds, nappies and continuing to get the other three little gems to their activities. I remember one day waking up and finding Samuel dressed in a pink bonds suit after JB had changed him in the middle of the night such was the daze that we were operating under. We had bought an old caravan and it became another bedroom in our carport so at least one of us could get some sleep when the night shift wasn't going so well. We had an old-school clipboard where we would write down (like in hospital) who had been changed last, feed last, slept last, bathed etc so that anyone who came through the front door to help would know where we were up to with this insanity. Throughout dinner/homework time Cate and Samuel would live in their baby pouches attached to JB and I and we'd get through the chaos that way. As they got older they would squeal with laughter bouncing around in their jolly jumpers while we got through the night-time routine. It really was quite the circus when I think back.
We were entirely blessed with friends and family who would visit and be prepared to get up at night to afford us some rest or run around with Grace, Eve and Mae and not once did I start to fall backwards emotionally. Obviously there were many days of exhaustion, some fuelled with tears and my lack of control but nothing beyond what is entirely normal for a mum in my situation.
I had taken the year off my teaching and returned the following year to my regular class in Barraba, but this time I had the opportunity to offer a Sit & Stretch Chair Yoga class as part of Seniors Week. From that one class started a new regular offering inviting students who weren't able/keen to get up and down off the floor to still experience the benefits of a yoga class. This group continues today and I love that I can offer it as part of my regular schedule. The joy of seeing these students come together mostly beginning something new in their 60's plus years, has been incredibly fulfilling. Not only are there the wonderful health and mobility benefits but the social aspect of being with community is vital to staying connected. So many people assume that there's only stress in our earlier years when balancing families, mortgages and careers but with the later years comes different kinds of challenges and learning relaxation tools and keeping the body moving as much as possible is absolutely vital to remaining active physically and coping mentally and emotionally. At a time when our world can appear to become smaller as life's responsibilities alter, our yoga practice helps to keep us grounded and hopefully more accepting of change, so much of which is beyond our control.
So with 5 little people in my household I had to learn to let go of control and for someone where being organised and efficient is simply part of my DNA, it was challenging but reality just took over, and this time I let it.
Letting go is such a big part of our yoga practice. Letting go of whatever we bring to our mat, letting go of being able to control other people's responses, letting go of worrying what people think of us, letting go of our own unhelpful self-talk, letting go of the unknown...... the list can go on and on and on. When covid entered our world we had to let go of the grasping toward events, the excitement and joy of meeting with people we love and learn more the sense of gratefulness when these things actually did happen, when we can attend weddings, funerals, and other rituals where we find such a sense of community. We had to let go, stop grasping, reaching and just accept and flow.
Many of my adult life's lessons to this point had been a lot about letting go and letting myself move with the flow of opportunities and trusting them in life, but one of my hardest, most challenging "letting go" lessons was just around the corner - one that would shake my world to it's core in every conceivable way.