Tuesday, May 1, 2007

:: Lessons Learned in Pregnancy ::

During my first trimester, when I was having a lot of headaches, I did a lot of yoga. In class, at home, in the morning and at night. During shavasana (also known as corpse pose, this is the final relaxation pose in Ashtanga yoga), rather than focusing on my breath, I often laid there and thought about baby. In my head, I made lists of things baby is going to teach me: "You're going to teach me to be exhausted. You're going to teach me how to be a good role model. You're going to teach me to leave things undone. You're going to teach me how to nap. You're going to teach me how to be unselfish." Things like that. I remember reading in Fit Pregnancy early on that yoga could help you bond with your baby in the womb and thinking, "That's complete crap." But over the course of several weeks of thinking these thoughts during shavasana, I did feel closer to him.

Now that I'm in the last trimester, I don't really do that as much. Now that he's moving around so much, I just talk to him normally. When he kicks me in the ribs, I say, "Baby, you are a crazy baby. Why don't you kick me over here instead" and I press my belly button. Or when I'm driving and I turn on the radio and he reacts, I ask him, "Baby, do you like this song?" Each morning when I wake up I say, "Good morning little boy" and throughout the day I ask him things like, "What are you going to look like, baby?" Brian also gets in on the conversations. When baby's kicking too much, he leans over to my belly and has a little chat with him: "Baby, be good to your mom. Take it easy on her, ok?"

Now when I think about lessons, it's not the lessons baby will teach me that I think about. I think about the lessons I've been learning from pregnancy itself. There have been lots, but I think I can best summarize them as follows:

The first trimester, I learned how to be exhausted, how to be uncomfortable, and how to take time for myself when I need it.

The second trimester, I learned how to cope with a million changes in my body. It was a lesson in losing control, in a way. In letting go and just accepting that my body knows what it needs to do. I learned to eat when hungry even when I had just eaten two hours ago. I learned to accept the rising numbers on the scale and the nearly-monthly need for new clothing. I learned to delight in my belly and to ignore the other places where I was growing. I also learned that happiness really does have a lot to do with hormones. I had some of my most stressful days late in the second trimester and yet made it to bedtime each night in a good mood still.

The third trimester, at least so far, I have learned to ask for help. While I am still very active and able to go for long walks and do the laundry and all, there are things that it's getting harder to do: scrub the tub, reach my feet, lift or move things. I find myself having to ask Brian to do so much for me that I would normally do for myself. This trimester has also been a lesson in taking breaks. Not hours-on-the-couch breaks like in the first trimester when I felt like crap, but small take-a-seat-for-a-few-minutes-while-cleaning-the-spare-bedroom breaks. I'm also learning about prioritizing my life and tasks in a whole new way: whereas I've spent years training myself to put school near the top of my list, I'm finding lately that sometimes I need to put other things before school. If I have a mediocre class I have to accept it (as long as I plan a great one for the next day -- come on, it's still me we're talking about), if I need to get the nursery painted then I have to let reading go for a few days. It's strange. I've recently had to accept, in fact, that I probably won't get a third chapter drafted before baby comes, which was my goal since finding out about the little bambino. I'm still going to work hard and get as far as I can, but I have had to accept that it probably won't happen. And that's OK.

I guess it's true: pregnancy takes nine months for a reason. I wouldn't have learned these things if I hadn't had to sweat these nine months out (she says at seven months...).

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