Friday, April 26, 2013

Preparing for Sprout's Arrival...

"Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness."

-Eckhart Tolle

Why do I allow myself to worry so incessantly? Anytime I am reading one of my favorite books, my anxiety tends to slip away as I become engulfed in the present moment. The specific titles that come to mind are "A New Earth," "Discover the Power Within," and more recently, "Spiritual Midwifery." These books are currently in a storage unit (along with my beautiful leather-bound journal...since I would never allow this blog to become a substitute for my journal, and since my journal is inaccessible right now, I have been keeping a lot inside...) I called the library this week to see if any of these books were available, and they are not. I went to the internet for inspiration.

What's been causing me stress lately? I could make a list with relative ease...or I could sum it up and say I didn't envision becoming a mom while still trying to get two feet on the ground. Parents (excuse the language and frank dialogue) always seemed to have their shit together.  Are we really ready to be parents at any given moment?

My present isn't what I thought my "future" would look like. I've been caught up in the timetrap. When things aren't going smooth in my life, be it a conflict at work or in a personal relationship, I aim at resolving it tirelessly. But right now, there is little I can do to have my "life in order" before little Sprout joins our family.

So with this realization, I am making more conscious choices. This didn't happen overnight. Actually, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Thank God for the endless support of my family, an impromptu girls night at Starbucks, and the unwavering love of my husband. I've had a few blessings come my way, too. Some might call them blessings, some might say I'm exceptionally lucky. 

Regardless, I had a realization that when I hear good news, my mood completely changes. Literally, from stressed-beyond-belief and teary, to an ear-to-ear smile and deep breathing. I can't allow my emotions to be swayed so dramatically by extrinsic factors! It's not fair to myself or those around me!!!! I've got to work on this! Remembering "this too shall pass," in both the good and the bad times. 

I've had fleeting moments of anxiety and happiness. But what I'm actively seeking now is inner peace. I must say, I already feel ten steps closer to that peace today than I did last week. FINALLY being on maternity leave (today is day one of forty-two) helps me tap in to the inner peace. I remember two of Tolle's quotes:

"Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not."

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it."

I also have been reflecting on some powerful words by Ina May Gaskin, before I embark on this journey of BIRTHING our baby! I am not afraid to go into labor. Sure, her size is intimidating...and I know it's going to be painful...but I am excited to be the vessel that allows a spiritual being to become her own physical lifeform. What an honor.

The following is a quote from Ina May in her book, Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta:

For the birth, I have made a playlist of songs I think I'll want to hear. I have a wide range!!! I figure for the parts that seem like more of an intense workout, I'll want music to pump me up. I also thought there might be a part of me that would appreciate a laugh, so I've included some more humorous titles ("I'm Coming Out," "Drop It Like It's Hot," "Ring of Fire," to name a few). 

But there are also more contemplative, meditative songs, to help me tap in to the spiritual act that birth is. My midwife wrote me a letter after the rough week with the bloodclot, and suggested a song with Christian lyrics for my inspiration. Though I don't attend a church regularly, I can easily become attached to the messages in Christian songs, because I hear the words through my own filter. I think about what those lyrics mean to me, exactly where I am on my spiritual path. The song "He Will Carry Me" might sound like a regular Christian pop song to some, but as a woman about to give birth for the first time, and as a woman feeling deeply connected to Life around her, I hear a very powerful message that is telling me a Force greater than myself will help me get this baby out. I know that during birth, regardless of how this baby decides to come to us, I will be relying on God/Universe/Jesus/Holy Spirit. Call Him/Her what you will; language doesn't matter. 

Some songs aren't necessarily religious...but when processed through my filter, become spiritually uplifting. I used to like the Sade song "By My Side" as a romantic R&B track. Then, I thought it would be a fantastic song to add to the playlist, envisioning the lyrics coming through George to me. Then I took it to another level, and thought....there is a good chance George will think this song is cheesy or unimpressive (as he typically does, being the music critic that he is), and if he insults it while I'm expecting him to be practically DEDICATING it to me, it will tick me off. So I thought, why not dedicate this song, in my crazy little head, from God, to me? God won't criticize, critique, or laugh at the song. When I thought about this new perspective and heard the song again, I heard it like never before.

We are counting down the days for Sprout's arrival. I was hoping she would make her appearance with the BEAUTIFUL full moon last night. If she doesn't come by May 5th, I will be induced and see her on May 6th. Finally. While I don't like the idea of rushing Mother Nature, I can't afford to waste my days off without my baby in my arms. I need to maximize my time away from work, nurturing and loving on my baby. I need that, and she needs that. Then, when I return to work, I will focus on the importance of a strong work ethic, and how lucky women are to be able to work and provide a substantial income for their families. I will need to remember the Tolle quotes I mentioned earlier in this post, about being present, and tapping into inner peace rather than fleeting happiness. I must remind myself as I struggle to find the balance between working woman and a new mother, that I will make mistakes, because I'm human. But my daughter will have a leading female role model that gives her best in all areas of her life... and that is all I will ever ask of her. 

Sweet Sprout, you are already so loved.
Come and meet us! We are ready for you.

*Maternity Photos by Stephanie Rose Photography.
*The other photos are my own.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Patiently Waiting...

I just typed up a full page of feminist musings. About how unfair it is to have to save up for a self-funded "maternity leave," and how compromising it is to train somebody to do your job, when you know you need the financial security more than ever. But I highlighted that blogpost, and pressed delete.

Nothing else seems to matter quite as much as the excitement and anticipation I feel about meeting our daughter and kissing her cheeks. I CANNOT WAIT TO HOLD HER! And dress her! And kiss her all over! And stare at her! And think about where she's come from while memorizing her every facial detail! I can't wait to know what color her hair is, what color her eyes are, what her SMILE looks like, and if she has a dimple?!?! I can't wait to see if she looks like me or George, or a mix of us both! I am so excited to love on our DAUGHTER! ANY DAY NOW!

Seems like YESTERDAY that I saw those two pink lines. And now, the days are crawling by at the slowest pace yet. She can't get here soon enough!!!!

She could come tomorrow and be considered "full term." What a blessing. The end of pregnancy is in sight, and the beginning of a new chapter is about to begin.

Her carseat is assembled and ready to go. It clicks in the stroller, also assembled and ready! Thanks, Papa G. He's been such a great daddy already!

I donned my birthing gown today after work and have decided I'll be living in this for the next couple months. Unbelievable comfort, and nothing else fits anymore anyway. I can't believe I thought I was showing at 12-16 weeks. When I see other bump pics on social media sites, I chuckle to myself. Of course when you start off very petite, the tiniest fat pad on your lower abdomen FEELS like you're "showing." But when you have a globe on your frontside, you REALLY start to feel like Mother Earth! Round, full of life, and ultra feminine. 

Four drawers filled with clothes. I adore her outfits so far! Equal Rights, Texas Rangers, OU, Grateful Dead, Democrat Donkey....and tons of pink and bling. Thanks to hand-me-downs (mainly from Crystal, one of my favorite all-time co-workers) and generous gifts from friends and family, we are set on clothes!!!!!
The cutest little shoes. She also has some jellies, and black patent leather Mary Janes. 

In my old high school bedroom. My vanity is now a changing table! And her bassinet is beside my old bed. Everything feels nostalgic and new, simultaneously. 
We moved out of our rent house, and moved in with my parents. We were supposed to close on a house on March 27th, but it was a short sale, and fell through. Our lease ended at the end of the month, and while it was disappointing initially, I must say, I feel a huge relief living with my family. I'm surrounded by constant support. 

I wasn't as emotional as I was expecting, moving out of this house. Maybe it was because I was just ready to feel more relaxed (I HATE transitions!), or maybe it was because I didn't do much of the moving. I'm very grateful to George's parents for helping him so much. He gradually moved throughout the week, but they showed up that last weekend and did WORK on that house. Meanwhile, I finally got to indulge in the "nesting" phase, while I unpacked our clothes, toiletries, and countless baby shower gifts into my old high school bedroom and bathroom. 

We are ready to meet you and show you the world, Sweet Lil Sprout! Come on OUT!!!!!