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Remember to Lean In

By Brittni Barcase

I’ve learned to accept that I am both a control freak and a “go-with-the-flow” kind of gal. I want things to go my way but am also happy to just sit back and enjoy the ride. I’ve always thought of this as being a pretty balanced human being – equal parts “chill” and “controlled.” But now that I am 7 months pregnant, I am really finding myself wanting to control a lot and be less laid back about what’s to come. Specifically, my birth plan. As much as I WANT it to go my way, I have absolutely no idea what is coming. I feel like I’m preparing for the blind march into the night. 

I wrote the words “remember to lean in” about a week ago as an idea for a blog – this blog – and kind of left it at that. A thought to come back to. In the meantime, a couple friends have experienced the death of people close to them and I wrote that to them, in their time of grief. Then I started thinking about it and how this phrase has been my under the surface mantra recently. For them I meant to lean into the memories, the sadness, all the emotions that come with grief. But for myself, I’m leaning into the unseen support that keeps coming my way. 

It came up again this past Sunday when I went to a yoga class. Now as a yoga teacher myself, I have not expected any of my yoga teacher friends to mention modifications in class for me because of my being pregnant – they know I can do it myself, plus I don’t want to be a distraction for any non-pregnant (aka everyone else) students in the room. As class progressed, the teacher was leading the class into a deep belly twist with an arm balance (for the yogis reading this – side crow / parsva bakasana). Before prompting the class with instructions, she said something like “If you are prenatal, you will just practice toe stand and meditate while we move through this next portion of class.” As soon as I heard the words “if you are prenatal,” I thought “I AM THE ONLY PREGGO LADY IN HERE! SRSLY IT’S OKAY, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING!” with a little side of “I am a yoga teacher, too! I know what I am doing! You really DON’T have to say anything, c’mon! I know what I am doing!!!” 

I let myself react, but then I took a breath. There was nothing I could do in that moment; I can’t control what another person – in this case the instructor – says. I had to let it happen, and it did. 

And then I leaned in. 

I realized in that quick shift of my perspective that the teacher was being motherly and a friend. In that moment, she was taking care of me. After all, she has three kids and is a nurturer at heart. Who am I to deny her those wonderful traits she carries?! I let her continue her speech with no more interruptions from my egotistical brain. I let her care for me from afar. I let her be a mom and pass onto me some motherly love. I leaned in, hard. 

So, as much as we want to control and place and plan and be ready for whatever the next moment brings, we can’t. We simply have to lean into whatever is happening and accept it as the truth of what is happening in that moment no matter how much we might want to change it. 

Give yourself permission to fall into today – however it unfolds. And do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and the next. Notice the unseen support that the universe provides. Notice the emotions and values that come up in your day to day. 

And remember to lean in. 

I originally wrote this in early 2019 while I was pregnant with my son. Now, I have a daughter, too. Three years later, two beautiful children and a whole lot of leaning in, I’ve been shown time and time again that life, motherhood, humanness, is all about those small moments of being held. The invisible hand on your back, beckoning you to lean into the support. Hearing a silent “I got you” from people in different time zones that I’ve met in social media groups. I am held. I am supported. It’s in that support, that space of being held, I feel my feet plant. I am rooted in it. And from there, I shine. Confidence is born out of feeling held, so lean in.  

Brittni Barcase is a Health Educator at Jewish Community Services.

The Mental Well, an initiative of JCS, is an online community for young adults, created by young adults, who are navigating the highs and lows that accompany their 20s and 30s. To learn more, visit thementalwellblog.org or email thementalwell@jcsbaltimore.org.

Jewish Community Services (JCS) is dedicated to providing programs and services that help people of all ages and backgrounds achieve their goals and enhance their wellbeing.  

To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or 410-466-9200.

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