Hello, dear dancers!
I would like to share my personal experience of being a brand-new mom – my thoughts, insights, and what influence it has on my dancing.
Motherhood changes everything, turning your lifestyle, priorities, attitude to situations, thoughts upside down. From now you don’t belong to yourself anymore.
After delivering the baby all my time is devoted to this little one who needs me most in the universe and all the time. I give myself to it. I used to be a multitasker and an inpatient girl at the beginning of my way. I wanted to get back to my dance shape as soon as possible, to prove my medical diploma in the US as soon as possible, achieve, and achieve, and achieve… But the reality was different – no good sleep (up to 5 hours awake at night) and no naps during the day brought me to zero level of energy.
In addition, the baby was crying almost all the time when it wasn’t asleep during the first couple of months because of colic, and as a result, I became really depressed and couldn’t find any energy to smile to anyone but my baby. So building on my own experience, I would give a piece of advice: do not be in a hurry and slow down, calm down. The most important thing to do during the first months after delivery is just rest! Sleep whenever you are able to, accept help, ask for help. The more support you get, the better. I am lucky to have solid support from my husband who is always by my side. Parents could be very helpful, but the relatives of mine live quite far from here.
Getting used to my new body was difficult. I was trying to do fitness almost every day, attending social dancing. But due to carrying weights (like the baby, a child car seat, a stroller) and this early rushed fitness I’ve got issues with my back and had awful pain walking during a month. A good chiropractor and regular stretching saved my back but it took a lot of time. So another piece of advice would be: dear ladies, care of your own health!
I was dancing while being pregnant until the day of delivery. Physical activity is so good during pregnancy if you don’t have any health issues. But I would highly recommend you to tell your partners about your pregnancy, and ask them to be easy on you. Because sometimes it’s not obvious that you are pregnant, so leaders can do dangerous things without having the intention to harm you. So please be more careful with that!
Dancing during the first couple of months after delivery is also different. You need to get used to your new body, weak muscles, slow reaction (because of being sleepy and tired all the time), your balance being not that perfect. So I also used to tell my partners to be easy on me as I had issues with my back. I did social dancing for the first time after delivery when the baby was about 3 weeks old. Now I understand it was too early. And my mind wasn’t fully on the dancefloor with my partner. It was partly at home with my baby.
I set really high standards of dancing for myself and was depressed when I couldn’t dance even nearly like that. Now I understand that it gets much better over time, I just need to be patient and do small steps, but regularly. Also, don’t compare yourself to others. You never know what they went through, and each person has his own challenges.
As it comes to dance conventions, my husband told me that he would stay with the baby whenever I would like to go to any event. But the facts of being sleepy, tired, pumping milk, having my body changed made events very different from what I’ve got used to. I attended only one convention as it was being held in the city where I used to live. But in the evening, when I needed to drive to the event hotel, I was like, “Oh my! Maybe I’d better go to sleep… Why don’t they do conventions in the morning?!” I spent just a couple of hours on the dancefloor but I appreciated every moment of it, every dance, and every partner. You estimate your time so very different when you become a mother. I decided to come back to traveling to events a little later because now it’s time to enjoy my baby growing, not to miss its milestones, and to give it all love it deserves.
All these things made me realize that I needed to change the attitude to life. I just can’t survive in this race of achieving goals as soon as possible right now. And over time I changed my priorities.
One of the main insights of motherhood was – There is no need to hurry. And it’s about everything: life, dancing, career. I was very stressed out, nervous, anxious about being on time with all my goals. And then I found my formula of happiness: “Being right now, right here, with all of me at the moment”. You can never be happy if your thoughts are always in the past or in the future. Enjoy every little moment, especially with your baby – it is so precious, and you will not be able to repeat it.
There is always something good even if it seems that life is too challenging. Focus on positive moments. Taking things with humor makes them much easier to be held out. Remember that everything in life including challenges is created for the best even if you don’t understand it at the beginning.
I think motherhood gives me cool qualities for dancing West Coast Swing that I was always lack of. Each champion giving me a private lesson was telling me the very same thing: “Maria! Calm down, be a follower from time to time, learn how to whisper in your dance, not to scream all the time! Be patient!” So now I know how to apply this to both my dancing and my life. I understand that less is more. I really like my new calmness, patience, and inner peace, and hope to apply it in my dancing. WCS is about being a good partner, working as a team, listening more than saying – so I expect myself to be much more respectful to my leaders during moments of crazy Maria, to help them to feel confident, refreshed and inspired!
For me, being a mother doesn’t mean giving up on my dreams, it just means that their fulfilling will happen a little later and it’s totally fine. I still dream about making a rising star routine, and I know that at the right moment the whole Universe will be by my side, and the right partner, instuctor, opportunities will come to me. And I will practice with joy and at full strength, and will devote all of me to it. Let’s just wait and keep an eye on it, and my next article will be “How I created a routine of my dream”!