Friday, February 1, 2008

I remember it very clearly: my doula stretched out at the foot of my bed with her notebook, writing down recipes and homeopathic dosages to help heal me as I nursed my son, about a week after he was born.

She told me I could call her anytime, except that upcoming weekend; she'd be out of town at a conference in the mountains for women who were doulas or held similar nurturing jobs. Alone. No husband, no kids, just her.

"It's so important to do things like that," she said. "Make time for yourself. You'll learn that."

I looked down at Tommy and could barely believe ever wanting to be away from him more than five minutes. But my doula - she's a wise woman, and I've come to agree with her wholeheartedly.

Before Tommy was born, I was an aerial dancer, specifically working with trapeze and occasionally silks. I taught dance trapeze and performed at Canopy Studio in Athens, Ga. It did this for many years, and it meant so much to me. My last performance was in my second trimester - a big pregnant lady swinging around. Yes.

Even in those final weeks of pregnancy, when I felt like my body was in fact two whales having a slumber party, I couldn't stop myself from choreographing in my head every time I heard trapeze-conducive music. Later, I literally dreamed of returning to the air, swinging effortlessly from the rafters, only to wake up in a postpartum body in all of its lumpy and leaky glory.

(Not to knock pregnant or postpartum bodies, because both hold beauty and wonder...but neither are particularly conducive to feeling weightless and unbound by earthly tethers, etc.)

A few weeks ago, I started back up with trapeze - not in the repertory company, where I left off, but taking an advanced beginner's class, where I need to be. I felt a little thrill as I held the bar. And a little fear. Could I do this again?

Well, it turns out that the "simple stuff" is really hard when you've been away for almost two years. In a knee hang position, I refused to let go with my hands, not trusting my legs to keep myself from falling. I'm glad that the trapezes are height-adjustable; before standing on the bar, I lowered it to approximately one foot from the ground.

Baby steps.

But I'm getting there. I relish my once a week class, my special time away from everything but my body in the air. I recommend this, and it doesn't have to be trapeze - anything that gives you time and space to do something entirely for yourself.

In other news, Cameron and I both saw Juno, and we both liked it - although I think I was wearing my pair of extra crabby pants when I wrote my review. One thing I forgot to mention there is that when Juno is in early labor at the hospital, I couldn't help but think, "Oh great. Here it is, Hollywood Labor: a few mild grunts and boo hoos and out the baby comes, lickity split." I was pleasantly surprised when the scene cut to active pushing - I have to say that it's probably the most representative scene of pushing I've seen in film, but then again, I haven't seen very many active pushing scenes in film, y'know? Ah, just go see it. It's good.

1 comment:

Cameron Clark said...

oh man, I am hoping to be back on my bike this summer. Is that wishful thinking? I'm glad you are back flying through the air. It's such a amazing art form. I've seen Mary Jessica perform and it does require ABS of STEELE.