on motherhood

A friend of mine asked me to answer some questions for a motherhood project she's working on... I so enjoyed answering her questions, I thought I'd share them. 

What would you recommend to a friend who wants to get pregnant as far as consciously preparing/getting ready?Things to do, think, try, eat, etc. 
I guess the main thing I would recommend is not to obsess about it. For me, the thing that was most useless (and hardest) was to let go of the anxiety and stress about GETTING pregnant and wanting it so badly to happen. I know it's so much easier said than done, but being stressed out really does not help and it made so much of the process harder and more emotional.So, that is one thing. I think the best way to do that is to find ways to calm yourself so that you can accept the present for what it is - neither good nor bad but just, reality. Meditation, walks by the sea, quality time with your partner. Any of those are good ways to really just enjoy being in the now. Also, something that I would recommend, is that if you think you have any fertility issues, find out off the bat. My husband and I had some suspicions that we might and we were right. I'm so glad we didn't frustrate ourselves trying for 6 months or so before finding that out. It was so much nicer to be able to work with someone right off the bat. On that note, the Aevitas Fertility Clinic at Vincent Pallotti is who we used, and they were great. 

What do you know now that you wish someone had told you about being pregnant?
Hmm... I don't know. Early on people told me to let go of fear and relax. That was such great advice. In my first trimester I had a lot of fear about losing the baby, and people all told me that it wasn't worth it. I guess I wish I had been able to hear that more and really let go of that fear and anxiety a bit more. 

What is the best thing you did spiritually?
Really tried to let go and trust the process. I tried to stick close to my Higher Power through prayer and meditation and a conscious yoga practice throughout my pregnancy. That helped a lot! 

What do you know now that you would do differently at the time of birth of your child?
Honestly not a whole lot. I did not have the "perfect" natural birth I prepared for (through yoga, hypnobirthing classes, etc.) -the baby was posterior and I had to be induced due to ruptured waters, which led to an epidural and ultimately a c-secton - I had nurtured a mindset that I was prepared to do whatever was necessary in order to have a stress-free, peaceful birth that put the well being of the baby first. I also chose caregivers who I really, really trusted - a doula, midwife, and gynaecologist. Thanks to that, and the support of my husband, I felt really held and safe throughout the process. I guess, however, that I do wish I had known a bit more about epidurals. I had not thought about the possibility of having one and knew nothing about the side effects or what to expect. 

The first few weeks after the birth, what were you not prepared for? not told? hard stuff?
I guess I was not prepared for how hormonal I would be and how that would make everything feel a bit more intense, a bit of a blur honestly looking back. But our daughter was a pretty easy baby from the get go, and I had a lot of great support, which was wonderful. Oh - I was not prepared for leaking breasts, how long I would bleed for, and how weird I would feel in my body after being pregnant... That was an adjustment! It's one thing to have a different body when you're carrying a baby - but once the baby is gone and you still have all the weird body stuff - that took some getting used to. And of course the hormones don't help with that! 

In the first year of having a baby, what is the best advice you would give another woman in terms of navigating
- Your partner? Partner - let him experience the whole thing in his own way. Don't place your expectations of how a dad "should" be or a husband "should" be on him. I realise that I needed to grant my husband the dignity of his own experience with it all and that it didn't have to look how I "thought" it should. Also - try to show love for your partner. Do nice things for him. The baby gets so much attention... he needs some too. 
- Your baby? Baby - enjoy the baby! Oh my God I love just spending time with her. Go at her pace. Don't push things or rush things. When it feels like it's too hard, take a step back and ask yourself "Where am I pushing things too hard?" Be willing to take things slowly and re-evaluate what needs to happen when. But most of all, at every opportunity you can, just enjoy them. They are little for so short a time and it's so precious and amazing. 
- Yourself? Ah! Similar to above! Give yourself space and be gentle on yourself. You do not need to be perfect and do everything and know it all. Learn as you go along and leave yourself room to breathe and enjoy. Make time for yourself and don't let guilt be your master. Relax and be in the now. Learn to speak to yourself nicely and nurture a light, gentle heart. 

What fears/concerns came up for you the most that you didn't expect? Or what were the biggest areas of learning/growth eventually?
Hm... I guess the biggest areas of learning / growth have been around being relaxed and letting things flow. Honestly that has come easier than I thought it would, but it's something I have to constantly go  back to - that things need to just be left to unfold and I cannot control them all, nor is it best when I try to. 


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