Getting ready for baby

Sometimes, we must find our own path

I’ve been feeling out of sorts.

Stressed in many aspects of my life, and a hurricane didn’t help when it knocked out not only our power, but also our internet and telephone for over a week (and me with many work commitments that I’m working on from home). As the third trimester approaches I’m realizing that simplifying my life is a big necessity, as the importance of growing a person in a calm and healthy environment (all the while still chasing around a four-year-old) becomes important. But my life is full of all sorts of amazing activities and experiences, with more presenting themselves to me weekly, it feels. So this is not an easy task. Tiredness abounds. What to do?

And then a friend wrote a new blog post that included this:

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
― Shel Silverstein

Ah yes. Stop and listen. I knew that.

It will all work out

While discussing what exactly ‘getting ready for baby’ meant with a group of soon-to-be new moms I realized that I have a different perspective on it. Maybe because I’ve been through this once I realize that it’s not an issue of “stuff”. We have a car seat, crib and dresser. The room needs a slap of paint. I’ll dig out the cloth diapers and I know my boobs function more than adequately. What else is needed really? If you haven’t been a mom yet you’ll soon realize: not much. Simplicity is the way to go.

What else is needed really? If you haven’t been a mom yet you’ll soon realize: not much. Simplicity is the way to go.

I had the same approach to my wedding so maybe I’m just that type of person. The caterer brought the food and the dishes and the cutlery for the outdoor space. The folks who did the flowers set up the tents and chairs. Including the DJ and somewhere for the boys to have lunch and somewhere for the girls to have lunch, it took five phone calls. Done. But really, should the caterer have broken down on the way to Grand Falls from St John’s, we would just have called Mary Browns. If there had been a miscommunication with the DJ and they didn’t show up, we’d have turned the speakers in the house out the windows. If the flowers hadn’t made it, I’d have gathered from the garden. And if there had been something wrong with the tents Dad would have found some tarp to throw over the treetops in the event of rain. When calamity did strike and the spot that was supposed to have our lunch reservation said they didn’t know we were coming and couldn’t accommodate us, a friend made other arrangements within a half hour (which personally I felt turned out much better than the original plan). The day was awesome for all involved. The moral of my story?

Much like with babies: it will all work out.

A release from judgements

I feel like I’m approaching Baby #2 in the same way. Darling friends will send hand-me-downs if this child is “blue” instead of “pink” and a trip or two to a second-hand store will stock us just fine. The crib will be put up eventually, and the only person who’s going to notice the scuff marks on the wall indicating that the room didn’t get painted is me.

I feel the preparation I need to do is a bit different. While the practicalities need to be in place and it would be nice to refinish the second-hand dresser we’ve got for the new baby’s room, it’s me that needs to feel ready. Pam England, a childbirth educator, therapist and writer talks about childbirth in relation to a labyrinth. I find this to be a beautiful metaphor that works really well for me. She says that we all enter, spend time in, and exit this labyrinth of birth at our own time, and take our own time while there. This can relate to just the birthing time: the day or so (in the case of many of my students, just a couple of hours) when the baby comes earthside or is actually born. Or it can be representative of the birth preparation process. Or the post partum period.

…it made sense to me that I was just on my own timeline and I was able to release that comparative judgment toward other mothers.

This was an important realization after my daughter was born as I couldn’t comprehend how other moms could head back to work, or into other activities while I still needed to just be with my daughter. An arbitrary timeline of 12 months didn’t make sense to me and I was thankful for the luxury of staying home longer. When I read about the labyrinth it made sense to me that I was just on my own timeline and I was able to release that comparative judgment toward other mothers. When I asked a friend about her return to work, and my own struggles on the subject, she just responded that it’s different for different people. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that?

Similarly, as I enter this birthing time, I didn’t anticipate the need to start slowing down and getting ready would be happening so soon. My body is certainly telling me that it’s time to do so and releasing me from the judgment that other moms are much farther along. I’m also starting to release other such judgements about myself. Why am I so tired so early? Why don’t I feel like I am getting to the nesting tasks that I want to get done? I remember spending my last month of the last pregnancy on the couch, but of course I wasn’t running around after that four-year-old. It makes sense that this time will be different. The realization is just taking time.

So I begin to slow down. I realize my mind and body need a different kind of energy and so I begin to nest and seek that new energy out. Paring out parts of my life that once brought me challenges and insights; these will be put aside as I enter the labyrinth with this baby and my family. Listening to my inner wisdom about what is right for myself, the new baby and my family are not only going to be important in the last months of pregnancy. They will be of vital importance in the first months of the new baby’s life as well. My truth and reality may not be the same as other moms and their families.

My wish for you is that whether the new birth you face is literal or figurative, you can hear that quiet voice inside you that guides your truth.

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