Last week, our local mom and baby yoga studio, Bend Yoga, announced its closure. Holly and I both considered Bend a port in the storm when we were pregnant and when we became moms, and the outpouring of love and gratitude for the studio on social media makes it clear that we aren’t the only ones. Bend provided the space that all moms need, and that we envision that all moms will have. A place to alleviate the isolation, and to connect with other moms. A place to be reminded that we are NOT alone and that we are still people, still a part of the world. For me, Bend was the place where many of my anxieties that otherwise would have kept me at home came true (What if my baby cries?! What if she has a blowout on my yoga mat?! What will I do with her if I have to pee?! What if I have to feed her in public?!), and that I learned – to my utter surprise – that when those things happen, I can handle it, and – even more surprising – that I wouldn't receive a single side-eye or judgement from the other moms.
In fact, it was so refreshingly the opposite: I remember Kelly bouncing on the exercise ball with at least three babies in her lap who were just losing their minds two seconds ago, but somehow in the arms of Aunt Kelly, had calmed immediately - thus giving their moms the most incredible gift of five minutes with both arms to themselves. I remember moms taking turns going to the bathroom before class while the others watched all the babies. I remember laughing with each other when someone’s baby had an epic, very audible blowout, and working together to handle it, all the while exchanging stories about that time that our babies did the same.
Bend was the place where we cried, we laughed, we talked openly about the symptoms – both physical and emotional – that our bodies were experiencing but that no one EVER talks about, and where we found the thing that all moms need: Other moms who GET IT. We are not wired to mother alone (or do any of life alone, for that matter), and we need our People. Bend was the place where I found many of my People – friends that buoyed me through those uncharted waters of early motherhood. We still buoy each other today.
How can we put into words the gratitude we feel for the place that did all of that for us in the exact time in our lives when we were so desperate for it? There’s no way. So, what we’ll do instead is take our gratitude and turn it into inspiration. We’ll keep working to find innovative ways to support new moms as they find their way in motherhood, and we’ll use our gratitude as motivation to help moms everywhere find their Bend – their place where they can come as they are, and where those feelings of isolation, bliss, anxiety, wonder, guilt, joy, and shame will find good company. Thank you for being all of this and more for us, Bend. You’ll be a major player in our motherhood stories and the stories of so many others for the rest of all of our lives – What an incredible legacy. Thank you for being there.