"Oh, where's your son?" one calls across the room. Often, my husband and I bring my son to class. The seniors enjoy my son who in turn, enjoys them. "Oh, you know, she came to class until just before she had her baby, and then she came right back," I overhear one say to another. I blush, smile, and bow my head.
Returning to class after having my son was not easy - I was tired to my core. My teacher explained, "You have given all your chi to your baby. Now, you need to recover back. Rest one month, maybe two, then do chi kung to recover back." The Maya believe, my health care practitioner explained, a mother needs as long as her pregnancy to recover, and the mother of a newborn boy needs one extra month. "Ten months," she said.
I watched my classmates spin and kick across the floor. My son wailed, hungry and wet. I padded out of the class again and again. I returned to the classroom. Class over.
Months went by. Class over. I missed the camaraderie, sweating, and learning. Class over.
Then, just a couple weeks ago, as my mother in law watched my son, I entered our classroom. I began stretching. I touched the palms of my hands to the floor easily. I had not done this for many months. My son was nearly 10 months old.