We had a baby! He came a full two weeks late, almost down to the minute. 

Elliot Michael was born during a lightning storm on September 2, 2023, making his arrival just before midnight.

Waiting for him those two weeks was quite possibly harder than giving birth to him, and was an exercise in acceptance. It was particularly challenging because we had planned to deliver at a midwifery, but because they don’t deliver babies after 42 weeks, we had been scheduled for a hospital induction the morning of September 3. He came the day before and we got to have the birth experience we had really hoped for.  

Those two weeks of wait required a massive recalibration in my expectations and plans. Like I said, an exercise in acceptance. I leaned heavily on my home yoga practice to stay upbeat (or as close to upbeat as I could manage.) I practiced with the intention to keep my life force energy flowing through me and not stagnating with malaise and disappointment.

My yoga helped, but didn’t erase the challenging emotions. I guess it’s not supposed to do that—erase the suffering. That sounds more like avoidance, which is the flip-side of attachment. Neither attachment nor avoidance help to bring us peace. Rather, yoga helps us to maintain equanimity through the ups and downs, and remain subtly aware of the changes that swirl and the ever-present calm at center. For me, it made it possible to accept my lack of control and prepare for a different experience than originally hoped for, just in case. 

Now that Elliot is going on four weeks old, we’ve gotten the hang of some things. Namely, the metronome of eat, digest, eliminate, observe in awe, sleep, repeat. The same sequence for each of us. There’s a simplicity to it, which is delightful. I was actually wondering if I would get bored. I haven’t. Not yet, anyway. Things will continue to change.  

For the first time in six years I have not practiced my yoga first thing in the morning, but I’ve done one particular practice at least four times a night since the baby was born. It’s how I’ve managed to get good sleep in the periods of time the baby’s sleeping at night. Progressive 1:2 breathing.

This is how: Inhale for a slow count of four. Exhale for a slow count of four. At least twice. Then inhale for a slow count of four. Exhale for a slow count of five. At least twice. Continue until the inhale is four, and the exhale is eight. At least twice. Then regular breathing.

It doesn’t always put me to sleep, but the longer exhale stimulates relaxation and counting my breath helps me focus my mind on something other than thoughts while giving my body the chance to calm down and settle back in for another two to three hours of sleep. It’s been a real life saver. Maybe it’ll help you during those restless nights, too?