I’ve been waiting awhile to make this announcement and I’m certain that many of you who’ve seen me lately in class or on Instagram have guessed it.
Second babies tend to show themselves a bit more quickly, so I’ve looked pregnant since about 6 weeks in. Apparently, I was also super cranky for a few months, which is another indicator of growing a human. At least it is for me, according to one friend who noticed.
Actually, I’m happy to be pregnant. We’re all excited. Milly keeps telling everyone there’s a baby in her mommy’s belly, which is another reason I couldn’t have held this news back for much longer. Toddlers are notoriously terrible at secrets. Although I had a rougher first trimester than I did with Milly, I feel great now. I’m about 16 weeks pregnant and baby seems to be healthy and growing.
So why wait to share such good news?
I could say that it’s because I like my privacy. Or that I didn’t want to make such a big deal about being pregnant. And while both are true, neither is the real reason.
Mostly, it’s because I don’t trust my body.
After growing and giving birth to one healthy child.
After healing and restrengthening my body from growing and giving birth.
After therapy and coaching and yoga, which have been touchstones over the past 2 decades of living with and recovery from self-image issues, eating disorders, and destructive behaviors towards my body.
Still. I don’t trust my body to carry another baby.
I’ve heard so many stories of moms who’ve lost babies. An unbearable experience, I can’t even begin to fathom. So I was afraid. Afraid I’d share too soon and then something terrible would happen that I would have to explain.
Also, I didn’t necessarily feel especially pregnant….other than 2 months of constant, low-grade nausea and exhaustion and a growing belly. There’s not much to “feel” in early pregnancy. Every once in awhile I think I feel movement or a flutter, usually when I’m sitting in meditation with my hands pressing into my belly. Otherwise, it’s sometimes tough to believe that there’s a baby in there.
I took so much for granted in my pregnancy with Milly. I sailed right through the first 13 weeks without even knowing I was pregnant. My second trimester was lovely and I felt full of energy. Then Milly arrived early, at 37.5 weeks. She was small but very healthy. Born at home. No complications. I was so fortunate.
I think all of this makes me feel so nervous about being pregnant now. I’m afraid that I got all of the luck the first time around. I’m afraid everything will go wrong. I’m afraid I’ll do something to harm this little nugget while it’s still in my body. I’m afraid something will go horribly wrong. I’m afraid my labor won’t be as easy this time. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to deliver at home. I’m afraid recovery will be harder this time. I’m afraid of being a mother of 2 children under 5.
There’s a lot to be afraid of.
Most of it I can’t control.
Only the last one in that list is something I have some agency over.
So that’s what I’m going to focus on.
I think it’s time to let go of the fears I can’t control. It’s time to try and trust. Faith isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I like to know what’s going to happen before it actually happens. In books, it takes all of my control to not flip through to the end. Or to read the synopsis of a movie before I see it. Often, when the plot of a TV or movie is very formulaic, I actually can guess what is going to happen at the end, which drives Nathan crazy.
But you can’t flip through to the end of a pregnancy.
There’s no formula for motherhood.
The first step to letting go of the uncertainty is admitting that I am pregnant. Silly as that sounds, by putting my pregnancy out there, I can’t take it back.
I have to own it. Fears and all.
In yoga, fear is something I’ve learned to overcome through practice. It took me a long time to trust my body again after injuring myself in a headstand. I had to rebuild my strength in order to rebuild my trust in my ability to attempt the pose again. I practiced the basics of the pose as well as strength-building prep poses for years before I was able to balance safely and comfortably in headstand. I also had great teachers who encouraged and believed in me. I had to learn to take my time. To be compassionate with myself when I struggled, but courageous when I felt ready to go for it.
In the health coaching I do, people tend to have a lot of fear around what will happen when they get rid of an old habit and step into something new. We tend to grip tightly to what is comfortable and familiar, even when it holds us back or harms us.
But eventually, if we actually do want to create change in our lives, we need to let go of what is familiar and embrace new actions in order to create healthier habits. The more slowly we go, the better. Radical change seldom works.
It’s like in crow pose when you are struggling to balance. You can either jump your feet up quickly, in the hopes that you’ll magically be able to balance. OR you can lift one foot, shift further forward onto your hands, and slowly, methodically, intentionally pull the second leg off the floor. It might take awhile, but eventually you’ll achieve lift off.
I couldn’t hold off on sharing my news until after the baby is born. That’s unrealistic and a little ridiculous. But I did give myself 4 months to adjust and settle in. Anything could still happen. And that still scares me. But that’s also a part of life. That’s the risk we take when we choose to live life fully. When we choose to fall in love or create friendships or have children. It’s harder than trying to balance in headstand or crow pose. But it’s a risk that I’m willing to take, even if things don’t go as planned.
I know that no matter what happens, I am surrounded by love and support.
I can’t eliminate the fear completely, but I can balance it out by not keeping it hidden and letting a little bit of the joy in.
In fact, I’m feeling better already.