Today I am sixteen weeks pregnant with my fifth baby.
Just a few more weeks before I reach my 120th day of pregnancy.
“On the 120th day, we give our women a blessing and tell them to meditate more, and look toward God, so that they may have very calm, quiet, intelligent, self-creative children.” -Yogi Bhajan
Each pregnancy has come with its unique set of concerns. During my first, I was focused on the upcoming birth and how I would manage the pain. The second pregnancy brought concerns about having a precipitous labor since my first had been less than six hours from start to finish. During my third pregnancy, I had fears about my baby dying in the birth process (it was our first home birth). As I prepared for my fourth birth, my primary fear was that I would need a cesarean, that I had somehow used up my “smooth birth” allotment and was due for a complicated delivery.
In the end, none of my fears panned out. Giving birth to my first baby was smooth and “easier” than I had feared it would be. My second baby came after a long, drawn-out on-again-off-again 24+ hours of (posterior presentation) labor, not the 3-hour birth I had feared. Our third baby arrived alive and kicking (or rather, peeing and pooping on me right away). My fourth birth experience was nearly-painless, and I pushed her out in less than five minutes despite the nuchal hand up over the top of her head. My fears, while very much real, all proved to be unwarranted.
Yesterday I went to lunch with my husband at one of my favorite restaurants, La Casita. We frequented this iconic little house when I was a small child, and I can even remember sitting in one of those wooden high chairs at the end of the table with my large family. Of course I brought my soon-to-be husband to La Casita for a few meals before marrying him. And I still can’t go through a summer vacation without at least once visiting its tacky awesomeness. Yesterday I got my “usual” and it was just as delicious as ever. But this isn’t a restaurant review, so I guess I’ll move on. :-)
While we ate, the conversation turned to the worries on my mind. I don’t dwell on them often, but every once in a while they crop up, and it seemed like a good time to voice them, in part because I knew that the cute guy sitting across from me was great at helping me assess my fears and let go of them. So I told him that…
- I was afraid something was going to be wrong with our baby.
- I was afraid the baby would have Down’s Syndrome, brain damage, birth defects, major health problems, or autism.
- I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the ability to handle the challenges our baby might bring.
- I was afraid that I was going to fall apart again under the pressure.
That last bullet point is probably the root of it all. Ultimately what it all comes down to is that I don’t want to ever again find myself overwhelmed, in despair, full of darkness, paralyzed by fear, and longing for death. Ever. Again. So I talked through those fears with the remarkable man I call my husband, and he reassured me with a confidence I can’t quite describe but could feel pierce firmly into my heart that I was never going back to that place again. I believed him in that moment. And I’m trying to continue holding space for hope and faith.
Fortunately, I have more fear-managing resources and tools at my disposal than ever before. Some things I plan to incorporate over the next few weeks and months include…
- Various Kundalini Yoga kriyas/meditations for managing and releasing fears
- Therapeutic guided imagery
- Positive affirmations and “I Am” statements
- Releasing my fears out loud (“I release the fear that _________.”)
- Leaning on the faith and assurances of my loved ones who have told me repeatedly that everything is going to be OK and that this pregnancy/birth will be a healing experience for me.
Knowing I have all of these tools and resources gives me so much hope that I will be able to let go of my fears and move forward with peace knowing that I will have the strength and support to survive and thrive through whatever my future holds. Your words of hope and encouragement are always so appreciated.