Change always comes bearing gifts.
Wow, I cannot believe how insane the past 2 months have been!! I apologize for the spontaneous hiatus, but I'm back with mountains of musings to write about.
The main event which consumed my life the past few months was moving. My husband got a job in Cincinnati, OH as a chastity educator for a pregnancy center. Fortunately, as far as moving while you're pregnant, it was extremely smooth. Cincinnati is only four hours from Steubenville and my husband (along with numerous helpers) did all the lifting - which I am so grateful for (however hard it may have been to just point and direct traffic). I did, however, keep wondering how it was possible that I was so exhausted during all the packing, and driving, and unpacking... and then it dawned on me -- I'm 7 months pregnant!! Walking up a flight of stairs is enough to wind a woman in her third trimester! As exhausting as it may be... I must say I really am enjoying fulfilling my nesting instinct finally.
Along with the physical nesting - setting up the house and such - I've been doing a considerable amount of mental and emotional preperation for this baby. For those of you who might not know, I am planning a natural childbirth for our little bundle of joy. I will be relying on a midwife to guide me through the delivery. For pain management, I'll be using breathing, hydrotherapy, and hypnobirthing techniques. As confident as I am in my body to carry me through the birthing process, this is my first baby so I have no real way to know just what to expect.
Fortunately, there is an amazing Public Library system in Cincinnati and my town branch is about a block from my house. I've been in Cincinnati for one week and two days now and I have already read four books on natural childbirth, with another in progress. The one which has helped me the most is the one I most recently finished called Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, by Sarah Buckley, MD. She is a trained family medical doctor, with extensive experience in obstetrics and pediatrics who also happens to be a huge advocate of natural childbirth. She has four children herself, all of which she delivered at home, naturally. It's not often that a woman with so much personal experience and conviction for natural childbirth also happens to be a medical doctor, with intellectual insights into the true birthing process, as it is, and as it is meant to be. If you are at all interested, I'd just say to go pick it up at your local library or bookstore and read it for yourself. It took me less than two days to get through it!
Buckley is clearly a spiritual woman, and makes many references to her spirituality, which is very Eastern in approach. I am also a very spiritual person, and have been actively, passionately Catholic for many years now. I am sometimes weary when I come across literature containing strong suggestions to various forms of spirituality, not because I fear it or disrespect it in any way, but because I can sometimes find it hard to reconcile my beliefs with the spiritual structure of other religions, especially Eastern religions. However, one of the things that I loved most about this book, was that Buckley was very sensitive in her mentions of spirituality and I never felt her being pushy about one kind of religion. She in fact made numerous references to the Blessed Mother and included scripture verses from the Bible as well.
She has a deep respect for women, and in particular the power of the birthing woman, in fitting with the subject matter of the book. She spends much of the time stressing the importance of an instinctual approach to birth. Women have been giving for for thousands of years after all; our bodies know what to do. She also gives a full account of the role our hormones take in the birthing process. If left undisturbed (by interventions, drugs, and even excess stress), our bodies will instinctually lead us through the entire birth experience, using a most ancient and beautifully orchestrated hormonal and biological process.
Since reading the book, I have already begun to tune in more closely to what my body is telling me. It may sound simplistic, but if I have an urge to sit, to drink lemonade, to stretch my neck, to rub my belly, I'll just do it. Again, I know it sounds oddly simplistic to make a statement like that, but I feel like the world we live in has, in a few ways, trained us to ignore our instincts, rather than to trust them. Women begin restricting food intake to an unhealthy degree in order to look a certain way. Men abuse themselves and women by looking at pornography, rather than listening to their instinct to protect women, and emasculate themselves in the process. People actively avoid eye contact with strangers in order to respect their "personal space" when really, we'd much rather smile and say hello. Humans are extremely social in nature, but we've learned to supress our social instincts in order to fit into our strange autonomous culture.
So it's been an interesting couple of days, tuning into my instincts. By tapping into my right-brain functions more actively, I already feel more connected with my baby. I allow myself to communicate with her, to imagine and wonder about her, to cradle her in my mind's eye. I'm excited to continue to learn more about her in the next month and a half before I meet her face to face.
So I've moved to a new city, joined a new parish, found a new prenatal caregiver, and am preparing for a new life to enter my world... these are just a few of the big and little changes in my life. To be honest, it would be very easy for me to give into fear but I have let go of the fear and replaced it with hope and joy. I am truly embracing this time of change, enjoying the beauty and mystery of life, and hoping in the many gifts the Lord has in store for Rocky and I. I'm taking it one day at a time, as my mother always taught me. Right now is Operation Baby Prep, and I'm really looking forward to learning even more - as much as possible - about how the heck to handle this crazy, wonderful notion of natural childbirth.
That said, my current blessing: my husband works at a pregnancy center :)