By Jennifer Moore Mehmke
It is so easy for us to get lost in sensation.
Chalk it up to selective amnesia, but I don’t remember feeling this way when I was pregnant with Atticus (age 7). I am told each pregnancy is different. I am told I am much older now (subversive ageism).
My mother threatens it might be twins.
The awareness of my pregnancy arrived in early February in a dream. A week later my breasts began to grow as if inflated by an invisible trickster. Then the nausea set in. At first the joy of the news overrode the discomfort
I had just embarked on a practice of No Complaining for 30 Days. I was keenly aware of my thoughts of complaint, not just outward complaining to others, but inward to myself as well. It is the internal complaining that can be a real challenge.
I reminded myself that I am grateful to feel. I blessed the life in me. I remembered that my discomfort was an indication of shifts occurring to make this new life possible. I breathed through the discomfort; it came in waves, rising and passing away.
Like all things.
Labeling “this is good, this is bad” causes us to suffer. But there were days when I felt bad and some days all I could do was breathe. I would attempt to write, or to get outside for a walk, and by the time I was wearing pants I needed to rest again. I have never been sick like this before.
I wasn’t in pain; I was uncomfortable. I was very uncomfortable for the last eight weeks! I witnessed how I respond to limitations placed on me by my body and learned a valuable lesson in gratitude. At least I don’t feel this way all the time, always. Looking back it was tolerable—I am still here—but in the midst of it I saw myself very clearly and I took on a few valuable practices.
I practiced doing less. At first I struggled, believing I would miss something or let someone down. Gradually I got comfortable with letting go and relaxing. It was what I needed and I honored that deep pull in me to rest.
I practiced silence. I was silent even with myself. I gave myself a break from all my inner distractions and dialogues. I did this though breathing and meditation aided by shear exhaustion. I got comfortable in my discomfort and kept quiet. I allowed myself to be—simply and peacefully.
I practiced stillness. I moved when I felt strong enough and I successfully unlearned busy. I sat for hours some days and did absolutely nothing. My hunger became the motivator for action; I was so still I could listen again and hear the primal voices from within me.
I practiced mindfulness. I took care of the needs of my family. The children’s hunger and their desire to get out and explore inspired me on days when I would have spent the daylight hours under covers. I welcomed their voices calling me out of myself. I chose to focus on their joy rather than my discomfort.
I practiced gratitude. I was thankful for my husband who worked all day and then came home and prepared dinner for us all, or took all the children out of the house for a couple hours so I could rest.
I practiced seeing the forest. I listened to the crackle and hum of the fire as I sat in the dark basement, gently rocking the new life growing in me. I watched the sunrise. I took in the whole experience, the way food smelled stronger and the feeling of the wind pressing on my bones when I walked to the ridge.
I am in my 13th week of pregnancy now, blessed with the opportunity and responsibility to carry a new life into this world. I am feeling fewer sensations of nausea. Some days I am still exhausted but I am able to do a bit more every day.
I have made very good friends with fresh lemon juice in hot water. I am taking time to streamline my work, letting go of projects that don’t serve me and focusing on the activities that bring me joy.
In doing less, I am living more.
I could have easily chosen to see only the “sickness.” I could have complained, labeled the experience of early pregnancy bad and dwelled in my suffering. I made a different choice. I am grateful I was awake for all of this. And now that period has passed, I let it go.
Just as I will let go of the tiny toes and the sweet baby smell as our new baby grows older with each breath. All these experiences are opportunities for us to transform if we chose to approach then with awe and an open heart.
My wish is that women take back pregnancy. This is not a medical condition. We are not sick.
We are strong. We are awake and very much alive.
Editor: Dana Gornall
Photo: Samantha Zipporah/source
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