The very last weeks of being pregnant is a TENDER time, man. There is so much anticipation and waiting and the physical strain of growing another human starts to feel intense. Each of my pregnancies were so different. It’s incredible to reflect on them all, where we were living, what our environment and life was like during each of them and they all feel special in their own way. With Juniper, the word “hibernate” would most describe the ending weeks and months. I stayed home a lot. Bottled myself up inside the walls of our home and the trunks of our trees out back and just felt all the emotions. Looking back now, I see what a huge role those end weeks at home played for our family unit. The girls and I really got to know a new form of comfortability inside our home.. the rhythm began to form and it slowed us waay down with great anticipation for the arrival of their baby sister. My labor started, stopped, started, stopped over the span of the last months and it was so freaking hard. I gained much empathy for those experiencing a similar journey in pregnancy. I've loved the idea of that there are two ways to face and process a struggle or hardship. One is to become easily cynical and the other is simply to harness that experience and use it to grow in empathy for others. To sit in that un-comfortability and let it simmer. To reflect and hone into that subtle darkness and know that most often the light is there again so soon. The end days require patience and intense tenderness and graciousness towards our minds and bodies and I have an entire new view towards women in these last weeks and makes me want to cry thinking about those last days and want to embrace and love on other Mamas feeling all that tenderness towards the end. Anyone who is feeling that now, I'd offer a whisper to engage with what you need, everyday, right here, right now. Say no, ask for help, (I learned this so much and never realized I was so bad at it), go slow, make rest your biggest ally. Don't rush or run away from the discomfort, but lean into it a little further.
“To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman, and distressingly inhabited. Soul and spirit are stretched – along with body – making pregnancy a time of transition, growth, and profound beginnings.”
– Anne Christian Buchanan
My tired and poofy pregnant face. I was barely sleeping in these weeks towards the end. Up with the moon waiting for mornings to come. I have always found that to be such a magical phenomenon how most women are up through the night during pregnancy. It's either viewed as a pain or as the perfect preparation and training of the body and mind to be awake and able to care for the baby once it arrives. I've always tried to view those awake hours as a part of the training. To birth a child without fear requires training and preparation of both the body and the mind. It requires breaking down expectations, fears, worries, and engaging with a deep trusting of the body and self and is not something that comes automatically. Especially in a society where labor and delivery is generally accompanied with great fear and pressure, and the timelines feel tight. The instruction comes from the outside world, instead of the baby and body leading the way. I hope to share more of Juniper's home birth story in the coming weeks and felt so reflective of those last weeks today.
Wishing peace to any of those experiencing the tender end days or tender days in general. Be gracious with your thoughts and heart. Feel all the feelings, right down to the nitty gritty hard ones. Let yourself be there. There is light ahead!