I’m coming up to 31 weeks tomorrow and feeling huge! But pretty good, quite heavy, and I get out of breath really quickly, my ankles are swelling a little more than before, but nothing serious, I’m coping quite well, thanks to my incredibly strong body. I don’t really like the new stretch marks appearing at the tops of my hips and tops of my thighs, but I’m just hoping I don’t get any on my stomach…
I’ve been reading, of course. For months, I’ve been looking forward to reading Birthing From Within, as so many people in the homebirth circles had raved about it. I finally borrowed a copy off my midwife, only to be totally taken aback; I hated it. The initial chapters talk a lot about birth art as a way of processing fears around pregnancy, birth, parenting etc, and this just really didn’t gel for me. It made me angry and frustrated! It didn’t resonate at all. I am a pretty good artist, I did a year of Visual Arts degree, I love art of all kinds and can pretty much turn my hand to any kind of artistic expression or creative pursuit. But I couldn’t think of anything I was afraid of! And why would I want to draw a picture anyway? If I was afraid, I’d just write about it… but what’s the point of being afraid anyway? Where does fear get you? I kept hearing Yoda… ‘…anger leads to fear, fear leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side…’ – yes, exactly, nothing good comes of fear, there is no point in being afraid because it will not serve me. So I am not afraid of pregnancy; I’m not afraid of birth; I’m not afraid of parenting. This book does nothing for me, I thought.
I stuck with the book, although must admit to skimming through the last bits about pain referral and techniques for dealing with pain, which I thought were interesting and worth exploring… but by that point I was frustrated and over it. So I ‘finished’ it as best I could and returned it.
At the same time, I’d borrowed the Ten Moons book. I’d vaguely heard about it but it sounded a bit too ‘womanish’ and out there for me – like all about periods and getting in touch with the earth and all that stuff that really doesn’t resonate with me, or so I told myself. In fact, it’s so far absolutely amazing, and exactly what I needed to read! It’s saying some similar things to Birthing From Within, but in a way that makes more sense to me. The same scenarios arise – women have been through some awful birthing experiences involving trauma and powerlessness, and in working through their fears and letting them go they’ve found ways to let that trauma live in the past and grasp hold of power once again.
Suddenly and gradually at the same time I had a realisation: I do have a fear, and it’s pretty damned huge! I am afraid that my eating and food issues, which have resulted in my beautiful, strong, healthy body being covered in a layer of fat and having to work harder than ever to process garbage, will not only have somehow changed the baby’s experience in utero, but make it harder to give birth and, the worst part, they might be passed on to my child in his/her life on earth!
How can I let this happen? This is my one chance to do things differently. In the past I’d tried and failed, time and time again, to get rid of these issues. But never before have I had the opportunity to change things in a context that I will only ever experience once in my life. Gestation, the act of giving birth, and the journey of parenting, represent transformation in a huge way. I expect birth to transform me, and I expect to see things differently once I have given birth. It’s like a rebirth for me. While I’m experiencing the brand new feelings of having a baby inside me, another person who is so closely connected to me and who influences me, who I must work with and love unconditionally, I can experience the brand new feelings of being happy in my body and showing it love for the first time. Being able to appreciate my features aesthetically is all very well, but that’s not loving myself from the inside out.
For the first time ever in my life, I’m seeing myself as a beautiful woman. I’m seeing what real beauty is about, what my husband sees every day in me and in other women. I have always been happy with my looks and would never change anything, but this problem with ‘being a woman’ has really plagued me, and I’m finally letting it go. Being a woman is good, the best!
I spent so long trying to find out where all these issues stemmed from, who or what had caused me to need to protect myself so much with food, and I found a lot of possible influences, but pinning down that one thing, that one cause, was impossible. That’s because this process was just distracting me from what really needed to happen; stop the pattern of comfort eating. All those influences actually mean nothing for now – this is what I’m dealing with now, this is my issue, and mine to leave behind, as I have left behind all those influences. They don’t affect me any more and this problem doesn’t have to either. The excuse that I cannot picture what I will be without the issue just doesn’t cut it any more; the thing is, I will be, that’s a fact, and I don’t need to control it beforehand. In fact, if anything I need to let go and let it wash over me.
Now it’s time to start letting it all go, the barriers preventing me from being safe and content with myself, making me want to eat to feel secure and cared for, medicated and distracted.