Not because they are trying to keep it secret. Once you become a mother, there are no secrets between you and other mother. They will tell you all the things that saved them and all the things they tried that failed to save them too. But you’ll still have to figure it out for yourself. All of it. You will try the belly bands and lumbar support your friends told you about to help with the pressure, but they will be too constricting. You will try eating mouthfuls of watermelon the way your mother did when she carried you, but that won’t do the trick. You will try sipping a beer that your grandmother swore by while carrying your uncle, but it will burn as it goes down your throat. You will eat pints and pints of ice cream the way your grandmother did when she carried your mother, and you will relish in the way milk soothes your heartburn, if only for moments.
9 days away from your due date, the same 9 days early that your son was born, you have no idea when this baby is coming. You’ve spent the last 3 weeks thinking it could be any day now. Thinking she’s coming each night as she drills her head down between your legs as if to break your water or each morning as your stomach tightens in contraction-like cramps. And even though you will hear the refrain, rest, put your feet up, nap, you will quickly realize this is the opposite of salvation for you and only makes the discomfort and pain worse. Instead, in a windowed room, warmer than you think would be comfortable for your perpetually overheating body, with your feet planted into a yoga mat and your body stretching away and into itself, this is where you will find your ease. In an extended side angle bind, looking up towards the skylight and feeling sweat gather at your eyebrow. In a downward dog with your hips lifting towards the sky and your heels sinking into what might as well be soil. In a forward fold with your head pressed into a block on the cusp of a headstand you’ve never been able to do. In a yoga class where you feel everyone must be wondering what you are still doing making such contorted shapes with such a heavy belly, wearing your “The Luckiest Mama” shirt your own Mama gifted you, in that room, in every posture, you feel lucky and saved. At peace with your spreading stretch marks and the dissertation work you are behind on and the unfolded laundry and the sink full of dishes and your husband’s inability to help with most things these last weeks.
In yoga, you will feel secure in the way your body’s holding another as it holds itself. Secure in the way your body knows how to carry both of you, your whole family maybe. Yoga has saved you this pregnancy. Yoga has been the only time you don’t feel the baby trying to escape, to force her way out of you. Yoga has been the only time, you and she form a shape that is one, secluded and protected from all circumstances and stresses outside yourselves. You will tell this to every other woman, encourage her to make time for this practice, to find security in her shapes, in all the bodies her body can carry, especially in moments that feel like they have the least amount of time for this. But no matter how many “save” secrets you try to share, like you, other women will still have to find what will save them.