This time I vowed to be different. I would suffer the waves of nausea gladly as I admired my gurgling stomach and its ability to retain the four pack I have worked so hard to maintain. I would sip ginger tea and nibble on Ezekiel toast like any good waifish Mum. Except that I am no waif. Healthy is the term most used to describe my physique, or voluptuous. I have been slightly obsessed with the amount of food I would allow myself to eat this time and the amount of weight I would allow myself to gain. So when I woke up yesterday and couldn't take my rings off...not even with oil on my fingers, I began to panic.
How could this be? I had been so careful. I stepped on the scale to find that I had gained two pounds. I called Jeremy almost in tears and told him that despite my best attempts my body was out to destroy me. "Jill, you're PREGNANT" was his reply. "Well my BUTT'S not PREGNANT JEREMY!" I told him. He spent a few minutes trying to console to not much avail and then had to go see a patient.
Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I tend to obsess about weight. Because I am the kind of person that can simply walk past a bakery and gain five pounds. And by some ironic twist of fate I'm surrounded by family and a husband who just "can't keep it on". When I was home recently I asked my brother if he wanted to go for a run with me. "Hell no", he said "I'll lose 10 pounds!" I told him that I hoped he caught crabs of the eyelashes and went bald at 30 and then headed out all by my self.
This obsession of mine started around my eighth birthday. I had always been a gangly kid. And then I discovered toaster hash browns. So let's blame the hash browns. And my Dad. Because when I began to show signs of chubbiness, he lovingly referred to my as "Pudge". A pet name every daughter cherishes. That summer I went to a sprinkler party at a house down the street. I can still remember that bathing suit; it was hot pink with black polka dots and I thought I was the cat's meow. After jumping through the sprinkler with squeals of delight for what seemed like an eternity, I stopped to take a break next to some other kids from the neighborhood. I overheard one girl whisper to another girl, "Jill kind of has a big butt."
When I got home I looked in the mirror and tried to get a good luck at this big butt of mine. Until that moment in my life it had never crossed my mind to notice it before. It had always just been a butt. Good for sitting on, mooning people with, and often the recipient of a spanking with "the spoon", my Mother's disciplinary utensil of choice.
It still looked like a butt to me, but from then on I began to compare my body to other girls whenever I was around them. And that dear readers, is never a good idea. But alas, old habits die hard. And so here I have sat, in my own nauseated, self absorbed and obsessed little prison.
That is until I picked up a book on natural pregnancy written by a famous midwife who also happens to be a former hippie. Because of the complications I encountered at Elsbeth's birth and the lack of compassion I felt, I have been toying around the idea of a home birth with a midwife. This book talks about surrendering to the power of the contractions during labor and that by doing so many women can speed up the process and experience less pain. Ina May states over and over that as women our bodies are pretty amazing things that we are able to grow and then expel a human from an almost unbelievably unproportionate place. We are amazing. She says that if a Man had an organ that could get as big as a uterus you'd better believe he'd be bragging about it.
The testimonies in this book by the women who have delivered at home or at birthing centers without the use of medication has been so inspiring that as of last night I have a new attitude. Internet, I am making a public statement that as of last night I have surrendered to this pregnancy and whatever it wants to do with my body. I am going to take excellent care of myself in a holistic way. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and that means that most of the struggle occurs in the mind.
This can be applied to so many things in life, not just pregnancy (this is the part where I deter from humorous analogies and begin to preach "at" you). I woke up this morning (yes, still felling green and exhausted) but I started singing This little Light of Mine which Elsbeth very much enjoyed. I made a decision that I was going to be sick whether I was in bed or whether I was enjoying my day and my child. It worked. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast of Irish oatmeal with raw honey and rasberries, coffee (I only had one cup you Nazis) and a hearty dose of optimism.
I feel great, in between bouts of the urge to toss my cookies. My butt feels great too. The way it is retaining fluid makes for a very comfy seat cushion. Kind of like a water bed. I jest.