I often forget that I’m pregnant. I have a naturally busy mind and throw myself into my work. Right now, while I’m taking a hiatus from active birthwork, my days are spent balancing 18 credits of coursework as I finish my degree, planning curriculums for childbirth education and other classes, writing for pleasure, creating materials and handouts for clients, answering work emails, succumbing to my Nurse Jackie obsession, and painting the baby’s room. (My husband would note here that curiously, my day does not include doing laundry or dishes).
With my days spent constantly working on projects of personal and professional nature, I just… forget that I’m pregnant. I noticed this a few days ago while my stomach growled mildly, and I looked up from my computer to realize that it was 11am. I hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet. This is a problem.
As a doula, one of my biggest messages to pregnant women is to practice good self-care. This is a concept I’ve struggled with personally, even before I was pregnant- but now I simply have no choice: I have to take good care of myself, so I can take the best care of my child. It seems that I’m going to have to literally schedule this time in order to make my pregnancy my top priority.
Once I found out I was pregnant, I became the most important person in the world, because I was carrying the most important person in the world. I kicked myself for not taking vitamins when I knew there was a chance I could get pregnant, I kicked myself for drinking too much wine that week, I kicked myself for not seeing a dentist in an eternity. I vowed to do yoga, which I don’t particularly enjoy sans actual group class, every day in my living room. I would eat the finest meals of the highest quality. I would stay hydrated at all times, get 8 hours of sleep a night, and wake with the sun.
Then the reality of morning sickness kicked in, hard, and all of my wishful thinking went out the window. Yoga? I couldn’t even fathom getting up to go to the bathroom half the time. EAT FOOD? DRINK WATER? Surely you jest. I did get plenty of sleep, but it was most definitely not on my terms, as pregnancy fatigue ruled my world for the first 3 months.
Now at 20 weeks, I find myself wondering if I’m taking this pregnancy for granted. Here I am so crazy blessed with energy and an appetite, and yet 99% of my time is spent in activities that have nothing to do with my pregnancy. When my daughter kicks, I smile and talk to her, and usually glance at the clock as I believe she’s starting to establish a sleep/wake pattern. It’s also a reminder for me to eat. She and I most definitely have an understanding.
She’ll be here before we know it, and as much as I need to spend time working and focusing on school, I do not want to look back at this pregnancy and feel that she and I did not have the chance to fully connect because Mama just didn’t have the time. I’m committing to being there for my daughter when she needs me, and she needs me now. We will only be this close for this very short window of time, and I don’t want to miss a single second!