Today is the beginning of my third trimester: 28 weeks. Baby boy is the size of an eggplant and I’m starting to slow down and focus.
My doula came over today and we talked a lot about holding a sense of peace and clarity and connection with the baby amidst all that life and well-intentioned people and Google may throw at you. An interesting case study on this subject is that I recently got off the fence and got a flu shot. I had been abstaining with the idea that I would rather not inject anything I don’t absolutely have to, especially when they specifically tell you that studies haven’t been done on pregnant women. However, my acupuncturist made a gentle but strong case to me and the risk of getting really sick finally outweighed any potential risk of the actual shot. I’d been unsure and getting mixed messages for weeks and months, but finally I got clear.
I got the shot on Wednesday night, and on Thursday I developed a paranoia that the baby was quieter than usual. I knew that it was a manifestation of my anxiety and probably nothing more, yet I somehow felt like I gave him the flu. Then, he woke me up at 3am that night with unprecedented tumbling somersaults–the first time he ever woke me with his movement. My doula took this as a sign of good communication–he let me know he was OK.
As I get closer to becoming an actual mom, I wonder–how do you trust that you know what is right for your baby even when your trusted experts may disagree with each other and/or you? The flu shot was a relatively low-stakes version of this scenario but the question still looms large.
Last night, my mom asked me what has surprised me most about being pregnant, and I told her that it’s the intuition, the sense that I do have an open line of communication with this little guy, even as I’m on conference calls and scrubbing the bathtub and riding the bus. I couldn’t have anticipated this. No one else knows what he’s saying through his interpretive dances. I get every single email. Now this extra sense is a part of every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment. I used to think it was a sci-fi alien experience to have a baby in your belly but in reality it feels like an extension of me, my new normal. I love his presence. I do have a sense of what’s right for him–yet I know it won’t always be black and white, and I will make lots and lots (and lots) of mistakes. I also know that I want to keep developing this intuition because it’s probably always right.
Today, my doula drew this for me:
Lately I do have a stronger sense of what I need, a tighter focus on what’s important. My former mentor once said, “Saying no to others is saying yes to yourself.” Saying no has always been tough for me. I won’t be able to be as accommodating as I’ve been in the past. No–I can’t make it, I can’t commit, I can’t say what I’ll be doing over Labor Day weekend. Even if I know that setting boundaries or opting out or canceling plans is really good and healthy for me, it’s still hard. Because it represents a fundamental shift in behavior–I won’t be so easygoing, flexible, no problem I’ll come to you. Some people won’t like it and will reflect back a note of disappointment. Most will completely understand. And I feel like this shift is something I’ve been working toward for a long time, and the baby is giving me a boost. Which is one of his first gifts to me.
The lessons just arrive one on top of the other through this journey. You know what you need. Trust it. Trust the emails from your baby. Trust that your body knows. Stay here.
This trust will serve me in the third trimester and in labor and through motherhood. Dropping the ‘shoulds’ and comparisons and what ifs and just being with what I already know, deep in my reptilian brain, ditching the frequently unhelpful neo-cortex. (As my doula noted, we are the only animal who attends birth prep classes.)
This week’s photo was taken outside the Kabuki Sundance theater where my sister and I saw “American Hustler” (good!) and ran out of interesting backdrops on this rainy night. The belly is now getting me a seat on the bus and my belly button is threatening to invert.
Have a great week, wise ones. xo