I was already sweating when we walked into the yoga studio. We had been running late, as usual, and I had double-timed it from the car to the building. Just before walking in, I remember hesitating. Did I really want to go to Mommy and Me Yoga?
The truth is that I did want to take him there. He had been going with his mom during the last couple weeks of her maternity leave. She had been raving about how much fun he had in the classes. I also knew this firsthand because she had talked me into going with her to one a week earlier. Now, Mom was back to work and I was staying home part-time to take care of the little guy. There was still a week left of yoga classes on the package and I wanted to make the most of the investment. More than anything, I wanted to make the most of my time spent at home with him.
As I walked into the room, staring back at me were eight new moms and their little babies. I was the only dad in the class and was having trouble making eye contact with anyone. I shuffled to an open corner and laid out the mat, the baby and the blanket as quickly as possible. Everyone was sharing their name, their baby’s name and age. I can’t remember any of the other names because until it was my turn, I spent the whole time rehearsing what I was going to say in my head.
It was my first time attending a “baby and me” event all by myself. I was feeling so vulnerable and judged. Did these women think I was creepy? Had they ever seen a dad at one of these classes? What about the other babies, how were they stacking up to mine? That other boy looks about the same age as mine, why is he moving more? Those women are breast feeding, should I signal to them somehow that my bottle has breast milk too? It’s not my milk, of course … I just know that some people can get judgmental of others who use formula.
Then the music started and the teacher calmly directed us into all our poses. My baby laughed when I did a cat-cow and released a huge breath right into his hair. His giggles and smiles melted my anxiety away; we spent the next 45 minutes breathing and stretching together. At the end of the class, the teacher said that she hoped that I would come back. I hope that I will too.