Being pregnant was a joy and happened so much quicker than I had expected. I was in complete awe of my body and how everything interconnected and worked in a beautiful rhythm to create what was to be a little human being. It was incredible and made me appreciate my body and just how amazing it was to see myself grow and shift with each stage of the pregnancy, as early as it was. I knew I was pregnant the moment we had conceived and I also knew I was having a girl. It was as if all of my senses had become more aware and a great feeling of clarity came to the surface: my world had changed in many ways, and more would soon follow.
Reading about other women’s experiences has helped me to learn about how women can support each other. This level of awareness has offered me the opportunity to appreciate the simplest of ways we as women can be there for each other. Recently, I witnessed such appreciation on a most practical level.
I was sitting in the waiting room of a Medical Centre on a Saturday afternoon filled with many ill patients waiting their turn to be seen by the doctors. I noticed that most of the patients were women sitting with their sick children for hours, way before I had arrived. The children looked tired and exhausted and the mothers were doing their best to support them as they waited patiently to be seen by the next available doctor. There was an urgency in the eyes of the various women and a sense of relief when their names were called out from the front desk.
I breastfed both my children. It was a choice I made before both were born, something that felt right for me. I knew I wanted to support them as naturally as I could concerning their immune system, building a relationship with them and cradling them. I did not know what this looked like in reality before they were born, I had no preparation for it.
Over the months of pregnancy I began to observe and become used to my breasts being something other than attractive appendages. They began to swell, feel tender, look different and feel different. I began to get a sense that my breasts had a different purpose other than being craftily placed in a bra for maximum cleavage and impact, but this was very new to me and I had not realised how much being observant of my body and so connecting to it, would alter how I felt about myself and life.
In September 2005 I conceived my first child, by November I needed no pregnancy test to tell me I was with child: I can remember opening the curtains one morning, standing still and once again clocking this deep vibration, a fluttering pulse within my body that was strangely unfamiliar yet at the same quite natural, I knew. Turning to my partner, I told him we were having a baby.
I felt amazed and blessed by the power of this bodily communication I was offered by my unborn child – an inner hum that emanated through my every cell, I felt deeply humbled and radiant.
There is a lot of talk and discussion around feeling connected with our children during pregnancy while in utero, once they are born and for the many years of life ahead to come… What I’ve noticed of particular interest is how for many, we can feel disconnected from them and also hold many pictures of what connecting with them actually looks and feels like – for a woman and equally so for a man.
Two days ago, after a missed period in my menstrual cycle I took a pregnancy test that confirmed positive results. I’m pregnant!
Initially I didn’t believe my eyes! And yet when I looked deeply into those eyes in the bathroom mirror I recall feeling absolute love, joy and confirmation for what was ahead.
In this moment I immediately felt everything that this meant and would mean, how my life would change but mostly the huge responsibility that I was saying yes to (which I’ll explain more about) and this felt BIG.
The responsibility that comes with bringing a child into the world is no small thing. It affects every aspect of life – socially, physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially. For many women the experience of falling pregnant is welcomed, planned and embraced as a joyful life event, but when pregnancy is ‘unexpected’, as 50% of them are1, it comes with a mixture of emotions from shock, dread, surprise, fear and feelings of ‘what do I do now’?
I was pregnant ‘unexpectedly’ at 24 years old. I was well aware of how to, and how not to get pregnant, so no blame of insufficient sex education rests here. For me at the time life was ticking along; I was newly in a relationship with a man I was besotted with and although his feelings for me were not fully reciprocated, you could say we, ‘enjoyed ourselves’. The result being a night of passion where caution was thrown to the wind with us knowing I was likely to be ovulating. At the time I was not taking any oral contraception and that night having no other means of contraception available the choice was made to ‘carry on regardless’ throwing caution and implications to the wind in the moment…only to have them blow right back again after the moment had gone. Continue reading “An Unexpected Pregnancy: Making Truly Responsible Choices”
I grew up with one older brother and three younger ones. There’s quite a difference in age between us. There are fifteen, nine and eight year’s age difference between myself and my three younger brothers.
No one asked me, nor was it expected of me, that I take on the role as ‘a second mother’ to my younger brothers, but that’s exactly what I did. I would take responsibility for them and how they felt. I used a lot of mental energy worrying about them, and also being there for them and doing things with them. At times I would even yell at them and put them into place and really acted out the ‘mothering-role’ as a teenager.
The first two trimesters – Letting go of Control and Perfection of pregnancy for me were a time of new beginnings, with the opportunity to feel what was in the way of me being able to more deeply embrace the womanly quality of stillness I naturally have. I found that during my first trimester my need for perfection was revealed, and after releasing as much of this need as I was able to, I began to see moving into my second trimester of pregnancy that it was about letting go of my need to control others and my environment.
So as I headed into my third trimester without this incessant quest for perfection or the overriding drive to control in order to ‘protect’ myself, what was being uncovered was my natural tenderness in being vulnerable.
Losing a baby through miscarriage can bring up so many feelings. When I miscarried my first child at only one month, a month that has left a lasting legacy to this day, the fact that it was so early didn’t really change the intensity of the emotion.
I remember feeling the profundity of the miracle of being pregnant; I felt very connected and still, and had the deep sense that we are so much more than our physicality. It was an amazing experience to feel so connected to this unborn child. I knew within days of conception that I was pregnant and that I was pregnant with a girl. I already knew her name. I could feel her beauty, her joy, her strength and her grace. When I was pregnant with her, whilst I was holding her preciously she was also doing the same for me. Throughout the pregnancy I was able to connect to and sustain my exquisite stillness that as a woman I naturally possess; I also felt more connected to everything around me. My senses were heightened and more receptive and everything looked and felt lighter, sharper, richer and more colourful.