April 6, 2014 - Meghan LeBorious
Dancing 5Rhythms with my small son has made me a better and more reflective parent; and has helped me to use parenting to become a happier person. I went through an agonizing period during the first months of pregnancy when things were volatile at home and I was besieged with anxiety. My first inclination when I learned I was pregnant was to discontinue dancing, as I’d heard some vague rumors about loud music causing fetal brain damage. After a few weeks off, I was in too much emotional pain to stay away from dance, and returned to attending a 5Rhythms class at least weekly. I even did an intensive workshop during the 6th month of pregnancy. At times, when the room was wild with chaos, I would dance in a quieter adjoining room, moving with great spinning momentum. Since I was able to work consciously with the changes in my body and the balance of weight, I never moved like a pregnant woman, though I certainly looked like one.
Although the difficulties at home continued, I was able to connect with the magic of pregnancy. When a stranger on the train started in about the inconvenience of swollen feet and the trauma of childbirth, I explained that I felt sacred and connected to the fabric of life in a way that I could not explain. It was exquisite to have two heartbeats; and to be so intimately overlapped with another human. I got to know some of his favorite movements, such as arching his back and pushing his head and butt out, resulting in an oddly distended and imbalanced belly. To soothe him, both before and after birth, I would spin and rock. My mother was concerned when she saw how vigorously we danced, but she had to admit he was content, even cradled in my arms inside a wild spin.
During the pre-natal period, Simon danced with all of us. Many of the people I partnered with weren’t sure if they were dancing with one or two people, in fact. After he was born, it continued to be unclear if we were partnering as one person or as two. For the first several weeks after he was born there were many blizzards and heavy storms and we were essentially shut in. During that time, I danced a wave every day—sometimes holding him, sometimes placing him in a baby seat next to me while I moved. When we danced, I totally let go of red tape. The tender, patient presence that we shared was indescribable, and Simon would nuzzle his tiny head into my neck and shoulder as we moved in Flowing. Even out of town, dancing in a room filled with family history and personal memories, I felt inundated by the river of time and humbled by my place in it, moving and weeping with love. A few close friends even came and danced with both of us when he was brand new and the miracle of birth still clung to his aura.
When I sat down today, I thought I would write about the many insights and experiences that have come through dance during Simon’s first four years of life, but I find that it is too big a topic for one post. I have only written into the first delicate weeks of infancy.
By the way, I was in labor for less than 5 hours. Simon was born at the Brooklyn Birthing Center, without any drugs or medical interventions. Between the strongest contractions, Flowing, I danced.