Some women really enjoy pregnancy. I didn’t. In fact, I hated every moment of those 27-months. I can’t believe I did it, on purpose, three times. For me and others, the debilitating nausea, exhaustion and physical pain leaves us feeling out of control of our bodies and our lives. Even if we’re well through pregnancy, there still comes a time when we have lost the ability to do something we have taken for granted - like tying our shoes, going for a run, or just getting up off the floor unassisted. As the baby bump gets bigger, we can’t control the unwelcome comments everyone, even strangers, feel entitled to direct at us. We lose even more control during labor. Contractions begin, become more intense, and then with a final push, a new life comes into being. And our lives are irrevocably changed.
Art and words by Morgan Harper Nichols.
New parents warn about the loss of sleep, but no one talks about the love that hits us in indescribable ways. Truly, there are no words. It’s why we do it. As sick as I was in pregnancy, if I had started having babies when I was younger, I would have absolutely done it again (and maybe even a 5th time!) Even though I hated it.
We can’t anticipate how the birth of a baby will change us. No one can. These changes will be different for everyone. I wonder if everyone wants to give advice because they are still processing their experience of being changed by it? It’s so shocking.
When we live with so much uncertainty, there is a tendency to deny what’s happening, blame the situation or even worse, blame someone else for our pain and discomfort. Sometimes we cope by becoming the expert and having all the answers for the newer parents going through it. We all have these coping mechanisms. It’s part of being human. Rather than fall back on old coping mechanisms, what would it be like to allow space for the fear of the unknown, and the discomfort of all we can’t control?
What if we went through life being ok with the fact that despite our best intentions, we are often ill-prepared?
What if we accepted that we will make mistakes?
What if we trusted that although our lives will never be the same, we will figure it out as we go?
What if we could transform all the judgements we (and others) carry about the “right” and “wrong” ways to respond to our ever changing circumstances into inspired possibilities for new ways of being?
It feels like the world is pregnant right now. Pregnant with the possibility of new ways of being that include everyone. With all the aches and pains of pregnancy and labor. Maybe we are in the process of birthing an entirely new construct that marginalizes no one, that takes care of everyone, including the planet we live on.
Just like those 27-months of pregnancy in my life were more than worth the outcome, maybe this painful time we’re living through will also be more than worth it.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.