I feel like life is both speeding up and slowing down at the same time. This week I will be 36 weeks pregnant, and I can feel myself moving into a sort of dream-like liminal space as my baby’s birth approaches. At the same time, life is so busy that the days fly by, and I don’t feel ready to walk through the doorway into the life where I’m a mom of five and waking up every few hours to feed a baby. But walking through that doorway isn’t really optional, so here I go. In other news… here are six things that have been on my mind these days…
Thing #1: SPD
As I near the end of my fifth pregnancy, I am becoming more acquainted than ever with a common pregnancy discomfort called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). This picture is pretty self-explanatory…
As pregnancy hormones relax the pelvis, sometimes they work a little too well on the pelvic joints and things spread out more than they should. It turns out that having an “abnormal gap” in the symphysis pubis joint is super not fun. I’m managing the pain with some yoga, some exercises my midwife taught me, and a lot of teeth-clenching while rolling over in bed or getting up and down from the ground, in and out of the car, etc. I have also been trying belly wrapping to give my pelvis some extra support. I’m not a huge fan of the ring sling for babywearing, but I am in love with it for belly support.
Thing #2: Nesting
I met with the OB on staff at our birth center this past week. She really encouraged us to prepare ourselves that the baby could come pretty much at any time now. I don’t know if it was her suggestion that prompted me, but now I’m totally in nesting mode. We got our bedroom cleaned up and made space for the cradle we’re borrowing. We ordered the car seat (since we got rid of our old infant seat years ago). I packed the diaper bag with teeeeeeeny tiny newborn diapers, wipes, blankets, and sleepers. We put some chux pads and baby blankets in the car (just in case we have a crazy road-side delivery). I’ve got all my baby carriers stashed in a decorative box in my bedroom and lots of newborn and 0-3 month comfy girl clothes washed, folded, and ready. On the to-do list: get nursing pads, giant postpartum sanitary pads and baby socks, and make a birthing playlist.
Thing #3: Meditation
So I’ve been slacking on my yoga and meditation. For the first five months or so of my pregnancy, I kept up with daily meditation and yoga really well. Then we started homeschooling, and at first we were incorporating yoga/meditation into our daily school routine. But then I started feeling like I was forcing the kids to do something they didn’t always feel very excited about, and I didn’t want them to hate it. So it just fell away. With everything else going on, something had to give, and it ended up being my personal daily meditation practice. As I approach my baby’s birth and all the uncertainty I feel about the postpartum period, I feel like I need the extra strength and stability meditation provides. So I am planning to recharge my daily practice. Meditation has been shown to boost melatonin levels, and melatonin has an important part to play in promoting labor progress, so that’s another good reason to get back into my meditation routine. I also want to incorporate meditation, chanting, and singing into my birthing time.
Here’s hoping I can make my spiritual/emotional/mental strength a higher priority over the coming months. If our “schooling” becomes more and more lax, that’s OK. We can make up for lost time during the summer, right?
Thing #4: Youth Leader
So in my church we are given service assignments called “callings.” They’re kind of like having a church job, but nobody gets paid (at least monetarily). Several weeks ago, I was asked to become one of the leaders of our congregation’s Young Women’s organization. What that means is that I get to teach and support the girls age 12-18 (including my oldest daughter). We have a Young Women’s class on Sundays as part of our weekly worship in addition to a weekly Wednesday night activity. I was able to teach my first Sunday “lesson” a week ago (on being transformed by the renewing of our minds) and led my first Wednesday night activity last week (we did some #LitterLove). Even though this calling is in a lot of ways adding more to my very full plate, it has been a blessing to be forced to really study spiritual truths as I prepare to share them with the girls. And it has been lovely to make new friends as I interact with the other Young Women leaders and the girls. A year ago I would not have felt stable enough to take on such a demanding calling, but it feels good to be strong enough now.
Thing #5: The Gift of Giving Life
It has been three-and-a-half years since my co-authors and I published The Gift of Giving Life. And it has been almost as long since I opened it just to read it. A few days ago I realized it was probably a good idea to spend some time in its pages, preparing my heart and spirit for the honor of giving life to another beautiful soul. So I started reading from the beginning, and I’ve been nibbling on it here and there ever since.
One of the things that often happens as you go through the editing and revision process in publication is that you eventually have read and re-read and re-read the manuscript so many times that there is a part of you that wants to scream and pull out all your hair and never look at it again. And then finally it is complete, and you release it to the world, and you take a step back for awhile. And in that time, it’s almost like it continues to gestate in your heart even though it is “finished.” Over time, with fresh and rested eyes, when you’re ready, you look at the book again. And if you’re lucky it suddenly seems so much more beautiful than you ever remember. And if you’re really lucky you may even be overwhelmed with awe that you were privileged to play a part in the creation of something so inspired and magnificent. That’s how I feel reading this priceless treasure of birth literature.
If you’re interested, the print version of the book is currently 20% off for the holidays, and the e-book is marked-down to only $2.99. Click on this picture to check out these deals and read reviews…
Thing #6: Adventszeit
So my kids really wanted to learn more about the history of Christmas for homeschool this month. We’ve only just begun, but I’ve personally already learned loads of stuff I never knew before. My husband is half-German and lived in Germany for two years in the late ’90s. It was common for him to see Advent wreaths and candles at Christmastime in Germany. Partly inspired by the book Good Tidings of Great Joy: An Advent Celebration of the Savior’s Birth, we decided to incorporate Adventszeit (Advent season) into our celebrations. So we have begun a tradition of lighting Advent candles. The first candle represented hope. Hope. How fitting it has been to focus on hope as we anticipate the arrival of our baby Hope. Tonight we will light our second candle: peace. It reminds me of one of my favorite Mother Theresa quotes…
I do feel inspired to reach out to the downtrodden throughout the world, but I also know that the place where I will have the most powerful impact on the future of humanity is with my own children. I know that there is nothing more powerful than a mother’s love. I truly believe that if every child born on earth had the love of a mother and family, most of humanity’s woes would disappear. And as we often like to say in the birthing community… “Peace on Earth begins with birth.” Empowered, supported birthing women become strong, nurturing mothers, and strong nurturing mothers can change the world.