I spent 18 months teaching with small humans growing on the inside. I found myself practicing and teaching many a shoulder stand, six step, and pirouette while dealing with a shifting sense of center. I mostly found this to be a liberating experience, which eased the physical stresses of pregnancy and allowed me to stay mentally joyful while pursuing my movement addictions. However, there was a great ecstatic rush post-partum that came from the freedom of moving without this little being pushing up against my organs.
That feeling was short-lived.
I have spent many more months teaching with small humans strapped to me growing on the outside. Instead of allowing my body to be the perfect baby carrier that it is, I have depended on front packs, backpacks, car seats, floors, and the loving hands of fellow teachers and students. Saul and Aurora have been to many an opera rehearsal, dance team practice, and salsa class all while bouncing along to the rhythms we are pursuing in attempt to make, get, and share dance in all its forms. I feel fortunate that dance and music are seemingly intrinsic loves of little humans.
Teaching with babes has its stresses. I have had many nursing sessions and diaper changes in cold parking lots. Nap time on route is key. Shoulder stands are a little harder with the Bjorn. However, the biggest challenge is learning to balance the needs of students, your infant, and your own self acting as teacher/mother.
Perhaps we as a society make this challenge more difficult than it needs to be and I believe part of why I teach with babies strapped to my chest or beside me happily observing in their car seat is to normalize babes in these settings. The reality is that many of my best classes have happened with Aurora and Saul on board. Elementary school kids see an opportunity to lead by example and high schoolers show me their more nurturing sides. Many a teacher has called the babes baby-therapy and mind you, my little munchkins are not perfect, quiet little babes but vocal creatures with their own desires. My children have also grown to know that mom shares her attention with many people and are relatively good keepers of their own space.