I’m nearing the end of my first trimester with my first baby (affectionately referred to as “Bean,” a name coined by one of his/her beloved aunties). And while I haven’t been pregnant before and I’m relatively new to this game, I’m already picking up an idea of how this process works (at the same time receiving humble reminders that I know nothing – so everything is right on track I would say).
My biggest light bulb moment had been this: pregnancy is just an experience. Now that might sound underwhelming or even irritating to some people. Of course it’s an experience! What I mean, though, is that like anything else we create in our lives, it presents a host of opportunities to choose how you’ll relate and what you’ll create. That doesn’t diminish its transformative value or even make it this big scary monster.
This understanding, at least for me, more so neutralizes the whole thing and then allows me to appoint the meaning it has for me. I don’t have to be programmed by what Hollywood depicts, magazines write or family members say. It’s empowering me to embark on this journey along with my husband and this little creature who has chosen us as guides. It’s also allowing me to let go of the common fears and judgements that come up around the following areas: Fitness, Lifestyle and Consciousness.
And if you’re not pregnant or don’t have much interest in the matter, these are still popular fears that I think we could all take a moment to reflect on when it comes to how our parents were with us when we were younger. Or even re-examine and see how they serve or don’t us in our own lives.
“You’re still gonna work out?!”
Simple answer: yes. But not in the same way. But really nothing I’m going to be doing over the next 6 months will be the same, for the sheer fact that I’ll be doing everything with another human being inside of me!
My relationship to physical fitness and working out has shifted in a huge way over the past 3 years. It’s not a chore. It’s not even working out. It’s play. And I’m pretty sure I just signed a contract for “play” for the next 18 or so years of my life, so why not maintain the routine to keep myself sharp and able?
Also, play fuels and energizes me. I want all the energy I can get these days in between the bouts of nausea, fatigue and back pain. So whatever is going to boost me is going to boost Bean. I’m not interested in pushing my body to its outer limits right now. And if it wasn’t my normal routine, I wouldn’t start incorporating things I’ve never done before (learning that pregnancy is not the time for drastic experimentation).
What I am interested in is having a healthy and powerful vessel to house this baby and keep a strong body that will support me in a more effortless labor. So I listen to my body and I honor it. When I’m feeling like I need a rest or to bring it down a few notches, I do. Powerful and peaceful is my goal. I’m not looking to be a hero, just an example of an active and healthy mom for my little Bean.
“You only eat 6 days a week?!”
I have been doing a 24-hour water fast for over a year now. That’s a lot of days practiced and logged. I’ve also written about my fasting and how much I enjoy it and what it does for me. So this is something else that I’m used to and is a cultivated habit. Remember, I’m not keen on introducing any extreme lifestyle changes over the course of the pregnancy.
One of the biggest benefits I’ve received from fasting is a better understanding of my attachments to food. I can’t think of a better time to release attachments than when you’re pregnant. In a time period where most would give you free reign to eat whatever and whenever you want, imagine instead you take conscious reflection over what you put into your body. I firmly believe that Bean picks up on all my energy, including that of my habits. He/she will absolutely feel if I’m operating out of this frantic and scarce mode where I must eat everything in sight.
And you think in the history of babies no pregnant women have forgone a day of meals just out of sheer repulsion to the idea of food with all the nausea and hormone parties? Some people even forget to eat in a day (I’m not those people but I know they exist). The point I’m making is that one day a week will not create an unhealthy impact, so long as I keep it a peaceful and loving choice.
So I’m not going to deprive myself, but I’m also not going to be this re-enactment of a Henry VIII-like character, all glutinous and swollen, sitting from a throne with a turkey leg stuffed in my mouth (yeah, nasty visual huh?). The eating for two premise that seems to be part of the dogma of pregnancy just doesn’t jive with me. I’m going to eat what I eat and take the opportunity to nourish another with all the wholesome and delicious foods I love to munch on.
“Aren’t you scared?!”
Cue every scene from Knocked Up that had me freaked out in my college years when it came to the idea of having a baby. How do those help me now? They don’t!
What help me are reminders that if I’m peaceful and joyous and loving, Bean learns that through me. Our chemistries are inextricably linked, essentially forever. Whatever I create in my mind and then allow to pass into my emotions and eventually my physical body will impact him/her in a profound way – might be next year, in the next decade, or while he/she is rocking his/her own babies to sleep. I create the environment where this being will reside for the first few months of its existence. I dictate the emotional climate of the space.
And I’m not daunted by all of this. I chose it after all, right? I created this. It’s not a scary responsibility to me. It’s an amazing opportunity to be a house of love. Baby has already influenced me to be more present, to slow down, to breathe more fully and with intention. I also feel more creative and tuned in to my surroundings.
So sure, I could choose to be scared. And then create another scared, unsure, insecure human being to roam around blaming others for his shortcomings. But that’s not what I’m up to, and I have a fierce feeling that it’s not what Bean is up to either.