Yesterday ended in the most beautiful, life-affirming way, as I witnessed the bond between pregnant couples as they connected at the end of the yoga session that rounded out the Birth by Design workshop in my practice. Looking at the five couples – all parents-to-be for the first time – I was reminded yet again of how beautiful it is to experience and witness this powerful stage of life – and how quickly pregnancy (and life with a newborn) flies.
We get so used to women lamenting how long their pregnancy feels, how they just want the baby to come. I understand that some women are uncomfortable, and that most are apprehensive about what the birth itself may bring. But quite honestly, this ‘just get this over with’ approach to pregnancy makes me sad (while also relieved to not pick up on that in the group yesterday). While I remember feeling like I was pregnant for ages, or that days with a newborn sometimes lasted for an eternity – I also remember taking many moments to just be, connected to how magical and awe-inspiring it is to hold a life in your body or your baby in your arms.
For women who are struggling through their pregnancies, my wish is that they could refocus – away from those things that are challenging – and towards what life is bringing to them. I wonder if they sometimes get so caught up in the daily things that they lose sight of the bigger picture?
Have they taken a moment to truly realize how miraculous it is that their body is creating a new life?
Have they given a moment’s thought to any of the women out there who are unable to get pregnant and who would give anything to do so?
It’s not that pregnancy doesn’t have real challenges – or motherhood for that matter. Both do. But when you put your time and energy on what is wrong, you may lose sight of all of those things that are oh-so-right.
In the big scheme of things, pregnancy lasts a blink of an eye: A short 40 weeks in a life that will likely have over 4000 weeks. For one percent of your life, you get to feel your unborn child move, grow and thrive within your body. For one percent of your life, you have irrefutable proof of life as a miracle, and your body as a vessel for the power of all of creation.
Personally, I am grateful beyond words that I was able to have that experience. In giving birth, not only did I meet the two most beautiful and important people in my life – but I also discovered how very powerful I can be. For me, birth opened the doors to fully trusting myself, knowing that I am strong beyond what I thought was possible, and a deep knowing that I can do anything that I put my mind and my heart into.
Becoming a mom has helped make me the person I am today. I know that I have my shortcomings, but I also know my strengths. I have had to face the fact that everything isn’t always perfect, that I can’t make everyone happy, and that I don’t always know the answers. Traversing these uncharted waters as a parent, however, is what has allowed me to discover myself as a much more insightful, understanding, empathetic, and authentic human being. Living up to my job as a role model holds me to the highest level of accountability. And so, for me – birth ushers in more than one new life. Like I’ve told Ethan: when he was born, I was born too – as a mom. I don’t always know what I’m doing, but I will always do my best, and it will always come from a place of love.
All of this underlies why I was so moved last night as I watched the expecting couples bond, connect to the power they have within, and come to trust more and more in their ability to not just ‘get through this’ – but to embrace these brief moments, enjoy them, and revel in preparing themselves for the momentous occasion of welcoming their children into this world.
The truth is that it makes me sad to know that I have passed to the other side of the pregnancy, birth and baby stage of my life. And while I am happy with my two wonderful children – and about to enter into the pre-teen stages of parenthood – I miss those days.
I miss being pregnant, and feeling my babies move inside of me. I miss that unique bond that forms over those fleeting 40 weeks of pregnancy.
I am even sad that I will never again get to experience birth. Some people may think I’m crazy about this one, but there has never been another time in my life that demonstrated to me just how powerful our bodies are, or that gave me such indisputable proof of just how powerful I am.
In this busy, crazy, fast-paced world we live in, one of my saving graces has been to consciously and consistently take time to be present to the moments that are happening right now. Being fully present to life as it unfolds. It passes by so very quickly.
So please, embrace those 40 weeks. Cherish those moments – even when they are hard, or you’re tired, sore, cranky or feel like being ‘done’. Because one day, you’ll realize that it has passed in an instant – and my wish for you is that you recall it all with as much overwhelming love, tenderness and awe as I feel right now.
I believe that all of life is miraculous, and that there are daily glimpses of this magic. Pregnancy and birth, for me, is the epitome of it all. Please cherish it.