Finally... an update
Well, it's been a really long time since I posted. So much to say, but I haven't really been sure how to say it. I've been on a really intense internal journey for the past eight months or so... and it's felt right to keep it close to the vest. I'm still not sure how much I'm going to spill the beans on my blog today.. .
... But I do feel like it's time to zap some new energy into this blog.
I haven't read my blog in a long, long time... but I do remember that there are a lot of feelings of anger, bitterness, depression, and sadness in the earlier posts... especially during the PPD era.
I don't want to take those posts off, because I remember that when I was going through my PPD awfulness... it was so helpful (and reassuring) to read that other normal women were going through the same thing.
I have a feeling if I read back through my blog, I would remember some semblance of that woman... but she won't feel like me anymore. I've been slowly but surely leaving her behind. And I want to make sure that moms who have had bad birth experiences or PPD know that things WILL GET BETTER. That's part of my impetus for writing this post. I need to complete my story a bit.
This journey to healing from my son's birth has taken a long time... but wow, how powerful it's been. Truly a roller coaster.
I am now 5 1/2 months pregnant with my second child. I never thought I'd get to the point when I'd feel ready to get pregnant again, and face the thought of another birth experience and another postpartum experience. And perhaps, when we decided to conceive (and we're one of those lucky couples who simply have to think about getting pregnant, and poof, we are)... I wasn't really 100% ready. I just wasn't adamantly opposed to the thought of being pregnant anymore. So I said to my husband, "Let's go with this, because I may never be in this slightly-ready place again!" I knew that pregnancy was long, and I'd have time to adjust to the thought :)
So here I am pregnant again. Loving the glow and fun and energy of the second trimester. It's been an interesting road getting here though.
The first trimester, I thought I was doomed to repeat everything from the past. I felt the same physical symptoms. Nausea, queasiness, food aversions, fatigue, heart pounding, you name it, it was the same from my pregnancy with my son. I had a hard time separating out the physical yuckiness from the postpartum depression I had. In fact, I kept asking my husband if he thought my PPD had come back. He said, "NO, you're just not feeling well." He was right. Thank goodness. I knew it too, but it was nice to have him confirm it for me.
Oh, there were differences, too... like the fact that I didn't have to figure out how to wear a wedding dress five months into the pregnancy (thank goodness, because I was in maternity wear 3 months into this pregnancy!). My husband was in between jobs, so he could take over more of the care of my son, and figuring out what I was willing/able to eat during the worst food aversions. Don't know what I would have done without him.
I did a lot of preparation in anticipation of this pregnancy... from cutting back the amount of time I spent working ON my business... to unsubscribing from as many emails as possible... to creating quiet space for myself... to assembling a care team (more on them later).
But it's still one thing to think about being pregnant... and another thing completely to actually BE pregnant.
What has kept me sane this time around? Sane isn't exactly the right word. I'm actually excited about the birth process and welcoming a second child to the mix. Wow.
Well, like I said, I have a great care team in place. I've been seeing the chiropractor every week (sometimes more)... acupuncturist every month... I've had a massage, a craniosacral session, a shiatsu massage, and I've been to see my homeopath. I have a birth care provider who I can trust, and who knows my story. I feel very well supported.
The homeopathy helped me tremendously when I had PPD (just one dose pretty much did away with it for good), and it helped again during the first trimester. My holistic doc pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said, "You know... your life is really well set up for you to have a great pregnancy. The only reason I can see for your yucky first trimester symptoms is the fact that your subconscious is unwilling to let go of your fears and experiences from the first pregnancy. Because your subconscious is holding on to the first experience, your body isn't able to tell that this is, indeed, a different pregnancy... with a potentially different outcome for you."
How true that was... I was stuck in the past. I was literally making myself sick over the thought of replaying my first motherhood experience.
And so I set out to try to help my subconscious realize that this pregnancy, this birth, this postpartum period could and would be very different.
The first thing I had to do was fire my therapist. For while she was helpful in helping me come to grips with ever having to have a C-section again, she also seemed pretty incapable (or unwilling, perhaps?) to entertain the thought that I could plan for and have a remarkably wonderful birth. She wanted to focus on preparing for the negative... while I want to focus on preparing for the positive. I firmly believe that my state of mind will impact the kind of pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience I have. So I want to surround myself with people who will help me build that positive image up. The therapist had to go - she just didn't get it.
We're not really telling people about our plans for this baby. We haven't divulged our due date to anyone (not really necessary, since this little babe will come whenever he/she wants). We aren't finding out the sex of the baby... again... no need... he/she will be whatever he/she is! We aren't sharing where we've decided to birth, or with whom, or how. It's no one else's business, really... and it's our birth to plan and prepare for. Everyone seemed to have an opinion about our birth last time... and any birth scenario we unveil will cause someone somewhere to do some kind of worrying... worry which we don't need to absorb. We've made our decisions, we feel really, really good about them, and we're ready. I' m not really talking birth with many women, except those who I know support the kind of birth mentality I have, because again... why do I need to absorb worry, fear, or negativity? I spent enough of my postpartum period under that umbrella, thank you very much!
The other thing I've done which really has helped is I've been dedicated about going through my imaging CDs. I've been visualizing this upcoming birth. At first, this was really hard. I couldn't get through a few seconds of visualization without hearing the doubts, "But your birth won't end up like this. You don't deserve this. Something will go wrong." Those negative voices kept popping up... and they ma stde me so mad and sad that I stopped doing the visualizations for a while. Then I realized that those were past beliefs... old beliefs that simply had to be let go of. So, now if they pop up (and they still sometimes do) I send them on their way... and go back to my visualization. I've got a lot to let go of, and slowly but surely I'm doing it. Now, the positive image is outweighing the old, negative ones.
I realized that with my last pregnancy, I didn't have much time to truly prepare. It was a surprise pregnancy. We switched to our home birth plan about 6 months into the pregnancy. Looking back, I realize that I spent more time reading about the dangers of hospital birth, and the dangers of birth interventions... then I did actually visualizing and believing in my own birth. Perhaps that played a part in sending me down the path I went down? I'm not saying that it was all my doing... my son's energy played a part in it, too. There were two of us at play in the birth. But I was definitely giving more energy to birth fears than birth dreams. This time, I'm doing my very best to switch that around. I don't fear birth as much as I did last time.
I don't fear what will happen to my body after having a baby. I don't fear losing myself as a woman. I don't fear becoming a washed-up mom. I don't fear a lot of things I feared last time. I find that protecting myself from the anxiety-ridden messages that are out there everywhere has been really helpful in preparing my mind and spirit for this new little one.
This time, we found a care provider within 8 weeks... much faster. This time, I didn't have to really do any reading about pregnancy or birth (I did it all the first time!). This time, I didn't freak out when my heart started pounding... or I couldn't work out for a few months... or I was eating crap for a few months. I knew it would all sort itself out by trimester #2 (which it did).
I have a neighborhood babysitter and a daycare provider for my son 2 days a week. That is worth its weight in gold!!! I have a prenatal yoga teacher I adore... and neighborhood I love to walk in every day.
This time around, I know moms in my area, and I'm part of the Holistic Moms Network now. Heck, I know my town now! Both of these things weren't available to me last time around, since we had just moved, and I was the first person I knew to have kids. This time, I'm not planning on trying to actively run my business while taking care of a newborn. I have a PCP, a holistic MD, a few therapist I can call on, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, and many other wellness experts I can call on if I need support at all. I'm part of a PPD task force who I know will help me out in any way that they can... if I need that help.
But I have a feeling I won't. I'm much better prepared for motherhood this time around. I hold no fantasies about showering every day, answering emails, being on time, getting things done. I pretty much intend to breastfeed every day... and feed myself and my son... and if those things get done... great. Anything else? Simply a bonus.
I guess you can say my expectations are a lot more realistic this time around. I will be gentler with myself... and I will make sure that I have people/things in place to support ME after the birth.
Funny enough, I spent so much time and energy preparing for the birth last time (or as we've uncovered already, preparing to fight potential birth interventions) that I never really looked past the birth to the actual motherhood piece of it. This time, I hope to savor that piece.
OK, more to say, but my shoulders are getting tired, and it's time for some yoga/stretching.
I hope that this post added a bit of much-needed update to the way that my energy has shifted since I last wrote. There may be more to come... or maybe not. I'm not sure yet. These days, I'm just going with what feels right.