Friday, April 26
It's been a trying week--physically and emotionally. But, there was also incredible kindness and wisdom that people have offered me, and, at the end, a most wonderful massage. I'm grateful for a cooler-than-average spring here in Central Texas, green and rain, and vivid carpets of jewel-toned wildflowers.
read :: swamplandia! // this: enough
taste :: applesauce & coconut water (I was sick)
see :: because I've needed the laugh
touch :: melting and releasing in most capable, intuitive hands during an amazing prenatal massage
hear :: alexi murdoch, this one and this one over and over. and over.
think :: about smoothies and nervous systems and coffee and essential oils
feel :: better and worse and better all over again
linking up with Monica
Tuesday, April 23
As I sit down to write this, the windows are open on a low and gray spring day, and I am enjoying a cooling cup of coffee, my first in 48 hours. I was hit with a stomach bug late on Sunday, and spent much of yesterday recuperating. So glad to report that I'm feeling all better now, but boy, that was a doozy.
Today there are many things in the house that are asking for my attention: laundry needs tending to, toddler muffins and granola need to be made, black beans are soaking on the stove in preparation for tonight's dinner. The kitchen floor needs sweeping. I'm already planning on Annie's mac n'cheese, with added broccoli, garlic and basil from my budding herb garden for lunch. It feels good to want to eat solid foods again, after a full day of a steady applesauce-and-coconut-water diet.
But I know that I don't have the necessary energy to check all of these items off the list. I am incredibly lucky that I've been able to put Silas in daycare four days a week, as compared to our usual two, from now until the end of the schoolyear. At first I thought, Great! I can get so many things done! I can work on an e-course! An e-book! (Oh, I have dreams and plans...) But after one week of enjoying this new-found time and freedom, I've had to get real and clear my agenda of almost all but one item: to rest. The truth of the matter is that I am a mere handful of weeks away from my due date, and the mother of a busy toddler, and I am tired. It's a good kind of tired--I am feeling healthy and strong, though I am moving very, very slowly, and aware that more and more duties and tasks are falling outside of the realm of things I should do or care about.
I am still in solid nesting mode, though. This weekend we made great strides on the ready-for-baby front. The bucket car seat was unearthed, checked, and cleaned. We brought home a loaner co-sleeper from a friend's house and I set it up next to our bed, and stashed a variety of baby items in it. (Of course, it has since become a cat-magnet. Don't worry, all of that stuff has yet to be washed, for this very reason.) I remember doing the same thing before Silas was born. The proximity of all these tiny baby things helps me get my head in the game. On the list for this week: packing birth bags and ordering our birth kit. Yep--it's that time.
These days feel spacious and good. I spend a lot of time in the evenings, when the little one in my belly is very active, just staring down at the enormous moon sitting in my lap, and watching this strong swimmer of a boy leaping and kicking under my bulging skin. It feels so strange, so alien, yet so very familiar and close at the same time. One of the great gifts of this pregnancy has been to enjoy things as they are in the moment, with much less anxiety about the future as when I was expecting Silas. In so many ways, this time, I know what's coming. With Silas, I felt somewhat lost due to the fact that I wasn't feeling this strong connection to my child. I'd expected I would know more of who he was while he was still nestled within my body. This time, I know that this is enough: knowing the hard curve of this child's bottom under my ribs to the left, the sharp outline of his heel to the right. This togetherness, this sharing of each breath, in and out. Trusting that all will be revealed in time. Knowing that, once more, I will be blown away by love and recognition. Maybe not while still pregnant, maybe not on his birth day or even a while later (as it was with Silas), but soon. And when it happens, it will be complete and beautiful and perfect. Just as it should be.
Wednesday, April 17
When I was pregnant with Silas, I taught up to six yoga classes a week, and had to drive nearly two hours round-trip to the studio where I taught most of these. I even taught a class the very morning my water broke! It was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I also managed to attend only two or three Prenatal classes the entire time. I was determined, with this second pregnancy, to not put myself in a position when I had to give so much of my care and energy to others, and to make sure I got to receive the nourishment I need.
My teaching load this time around has been much, much lighter, and I taught my last class a couple of weeks ago, at 32 weeks. And while I have only made it to one Prenatal class in a studio, through the magic of the Internet, I have been able to have wonderful teachers hold space for me, keep my practice fresh and inspired, and provide me with that wisdom and nourishment that is so beneficial for me at this time.
I've been making my way back to the mat in a more committed way over the last few weeks. This pregnancy has been tricky for movement due to aggravated issues with my low back, hips and pelvis (not to mention an adorable but energy-sapping toddler to look after!) But about a month ago I got fitted for a maternity support belt that has literally changed my life. I'm still tight and achy but overall feel about 75% better. So I have been making yoga my top priority again, after months of shying away from the mat because my pelvis felt too unstable, and I am loving it.
Late last week I moved through a practice led by Stephanie Snyder on Yoga Glo, and was deeply struck by her simple but profound words. She offered, during the opening mediation, the following blessing:
Remember that you have everything that you need. You can do this. There is nothing to fear. You will be your strongest, most beautiful, most powerful, and your most graceful self when you give birth.
Her words resonated with me not because they carried a brand-new insight, but because they reminded me afresh of what I already know: that I hold within me all the resources necessary to grow, birth, and mother this baby with beauty, strength and grace. It calls to mind the affirmation with which I close my Prenatal yoga classes, and which I use myself to end my time on the mat:
I hold within me the strength and wisdom to birth in harmony with nature in the best possible way for me and my baby.
This is one of the reasons for which time on the mat is so crucial for me these days. By spending time moving and breathing mindfully, in fully inhabiting my body for those brief, dedicated moments, I remind myself of the strength, beauty and openness that I already possess. Slipping into Warrior 2 or Pigeon pose is not unlike opening the door to one's house and stepping inside: there is a recognition, a sense of belonging, in coming home.
I already have everything that I need. Just as I am, I am enough.
It is easy to forget, in the midst of the myriad small failures that make up an ordinary day as a mother, the truth about our best, shiniest selves. It is tempting to think that there are improvements to be made, ways to be better at what we do, at who we are.
But we are never not that shiny self. Sometimes the truth of who we are is obscured, the way the sun is sometimes covered with clouds, but a short flight up above the cloud line reminds us that the sun is always shining, even when it's dark and dreary below. In the same way, we need reminders--like time on the mat, or good books, or great friends--to remind us of what we know to be true.
There is no becoming, no there to get to. There is only remembering what already is.
:: The lovely flowers illustrating today's post were given to me at my blessingway this past weekend, by my doula and friend, who always reminds me of what I already know. ::
Thursday, April 11
May I yield to the process of becoming.
May I ask for the touch I crave without knowing it.
May I hold my fears lightly like a leaf or feather in an open hand, ready to let go.
May I come back over and over to myself, my baby, my breath.
May I choose trust and wonder.
May I believe that I am enough, that I already have everything I need.
May I rest in love and its power to expand.
May I birth in strength, grace, wisdom and beauty.
May I step out of the way and let life come through.
May I trust in my arms' capacity to hold more than I think they can.
May I remember what I know, which is everything.
May I accept help, and say thank you.
May I breathe in and open, breathe out and relax.
May I sit in the midst of it all and bless the chaos with my full attention and acceptance.
May I give myself the gift of starting over, starting again, starting afresh.
May I forgive immediately and forget forever.
May I cry and laugh in equal measure with sincerity and abandon.
May I greet each day anew and accept its fresh opportunities and promises.
May I welcome each night and its invitation to lay things down to rest.
May I feed and be fed.
May I count nothing but the blessings and the breaths.
May I drop the heavy weight of expectation.
May I allow each moment to be exactly as it is.
May I embody fierce and radiant calm.
May I be vibrant, present, engaged.
May I do it all, over and over, again and again, leaning into the sanctity of repetition.
May I honor each child, each day, each hour, each breath by showing up fully.
May I let go of all that isn't serving me.
May I receive the resources available in each moment for each moment with gratitude.
May I be true to myself always.
May I mother wholeheartedly and with every ounce and fibre of my being.
:: :: ::
PS: Prayer for a mother becoming.
Monday, April 8
These are our green spring days here in Central Texas, with electric green oak pollen falling on everything, and bluebonnet patches exploding at roadside, and rain lilies constellating the lawns. Actual rain has fallen, and more on the way, and I am feasting my eyes on all this deep soft green because the scorching summer is scratching at our doors already.
These days I am nesting feverishly. This weekend found me sitting on the kitchen floor, scrubbing those forgotten, always-overlooked corners, culling and organizing my grocery and reusable bag stash, prettying up my fridge with washi tape and art and making it work hard with a spot for meal plans, and a sheet with handwritten oft-used dressing recipes. Spaces feel fresh and inviting and I am always on the lookout for the next spot on which to unleash my scrutiny and zeal.
These days I am waking to the comforting rituals of a hot washcloth to the face, dabbing on some rosewater, neti, hot water & lemon with honey to soothe my allergic throat, then poetry, before, finally, on to coffee and writing of morning pages. I have been delighting in waking before the little bear, drinking in the stillness and quiet, except when I've been awake in the night, and sleep in until he joins me in bed for cuddles and "jump awesome", like this morning.
These days my thoughts are full of double strollers and baby massage oils and anything else I can imagine to lull me into feeling like I can handle this gig with two kids.
These days I am watching my sister-in-law, who welcomed a baby girl into our family last week, make that very transition herself, with bated breath, hope and fear all mixed in.
These days I am listening obsessively to this and this and this and more again of this.
These days I am rekindling my relationship to the yoga mat, remembering my own strength, beauty, openness and equanimity in the process.
These days I am reading voraciously: this, then this, which I abandoned to read this.
These days vacillate between ease and softness and the hardest of hard, but I am practicing coming back to my breath, retreating, starting over, self-forgiveness, and feel I am growing strong and supple in all these skills.
These days you would find almost all my meals in the intersecting planes of a Venn diagram of greens, poached eggs, and avocado.
These days I am writing to-do lists with items like breathe deeply, move slowly, listen to the rain.
These days I am playing with washi tape, scissors and glue in a Smashbook, harking back to my adolescent days of magazine cutting and pasting, and uncovering new truths in the process.
These days I am looking for the light.
These days I am feeling wild ripples in my belly, from this strong swimmer of a son who is growing, growing, growing. These days I am amazed at one body, one heart's capacity to expand so.
These days I am wishing you the soft green of new life, cool breezes into fresh spaces, depth of ease and finding beauty in your own truth.