Yes my friends, I am pregnant. I'd previously started several blog posts on the subject, but not til now have I felt ready to shout it from the rooftops! Fifteen weeks into the journey, this will be my third baby and second son. This time around I expected to approach the experience with new eyes as a prenatal and postpartum wellness professional. In some ways I am. For one, I'm exploring home birth. But the truth is that, on a personal level, I need every bit of reassurance, support and guidance as badly as I ever did. Surprise! I'm liable to forget all my good advice when it's my turn to apply it to myself. Many of my earlier pregnancy blog posts that never made it to publication felt like journaling therapy, as I desperately attempted to organize my complicated thoughts and feelings-- an exercise I often guide clients through as a means of processing layers of emotions. I felt about as vulnerable as ever.
Back at nine weeks (even last week in some respects), I just felt like I was waiting. I remembered telling others how much I loved being pregnant with Julia and Ethan, but I'm pretty sure that was after the seasickness of my first trimester had run its course. Sitting with discomfort is never easy, and for me it lasted months in the form of nausea, fatigue and moodiness. So not fun! In response I amped up my self-care regimen, and challenged every thought that crossed my mind of it being "self-indulgent." Nope! Taking care of myself is about taking care of my baby, my husband and my two kids as much as it is about me. They all rely in varying degrees upon my moment-to-moment well-being after all! So I've been scheduling weekly acupuncture and prenatal massage (and continuing to offer it!), getting daily exercise, brewing up lemon and ginger infusions and taking time for extended reiki-enhanced meditations with my favorite pregnancy crystals-- moonstone, carnelian, bloodstone and danburite. In sum, I'm working to make my self-care as holistic as possible.
And now here at fifteen glorious weeks, I still occasionally feel green, but I've made it through the worst of the queasies physically, and crossed the threshold into loving this pregnancy (insert cheering sounds here)! For me the kicker that brought me over the threshold was learning the gender of my third baby, and in the most joyful way possible. Yup, we did a totally un-crunchy "gender reveal" party, complete with a cake, balloons, a newborn layette and a guest list of fourteen family members. And it was pure bliss. Having my three- and five-year olds participate in this pregnancy has been such a joy, distinguishing it in sharp relief from my previous two pregnancies and really defining our family on stronger terms than I'd ever felt before. These kids fully understand what's going on, and their reactions to the news that I'm pregnant, and the news that they would be getting a new brother, are among the most heartwarming of experiences, which I know I'll hold dear to my heart forever. And for me, personally, ushering in this "surprise" news together with such celebration was incredibly special, and so much fun!
For us the sometimes criticized "gender reveal" was not about the expectation that this kid will wear blue or play sports rather than do dance classes (hey, I already have a son that happily hip-hopped alongside his sister for many months!). In years to come I'll support my son for emerging as the person he is, and guess what, in our house feminism reigns supreme alongside my daughter's overwhelming influence when it comes to princess dress-up. But this piece of information about the little being within me, as he exists right now, makes the moment-to-moment experience increasingly tangible for me, less abstract and one that I've enjoyed feeling even more deeply connected to on a daily basis. Knowing he's a boy also has allowed us to zero in on a name, which we are 90% sure we will use-- Paul Daniel, honoring both Mike's father and my own--and talking and singing to Paul now also brings me one step closer to him.
With unknown sweetness and challenge ahead of us on the journey into family of five, I'm basking in the moment at last. As much as I had admonished myself for not fully enjoying every minute of my early pregnancy... my take-home is that once again, the difficult elements are temporary, and to be gentle with myself as I ride out the waves. Through all of it, I was and will continue to be accepting, and I always maintain my faith that the very best is yet to come.
Comment on what you did to survive the challenges of early pregnancy! And get yourself a massage already. :)