It’s nice, in that early afterglow of finding out you’re pregnant, to think that you’ll have the ideal pregnancy.
It’s kind of like New Year’s: You feel full of possibility, full of the energy and resolve you need to realize all those ambitious goals and dreams.
You’ll eat well. You’ll push away from work at the computer to go for a leisurely walk in the afternoon sun. You’ll spend more quality time with your partner. And so on.
And like New Year’s, a few weeks later, you wake up one morning and wonder what the hell happened to that sweet vibe…when the moment was, exactly, that you lost it, whether it’s possible to get it back again, whether it can be captured and channeled with the same intensity and pleasure. And you feel a little sad because there’s a part of you, however tiny, that thinks maybe you can’t.
When I found out I was pregnant, I imagined all the ways I’d take care of myself (and be taken care of) for nine whole months, all the new little rituals we’d initiate: talking to the baby before going to sleep, listening to classical music or something, always being gentle with ourselves and each others. Eating nothing but organic, fresh food. And on and on.
But the reality is–surprise!–that pregnancy is a lot like the rest of life. You wake up in the morning grateful to be alive, to be healthy, to love and to be loved, to have work that brings you pleasure, but worried about bills, about the problems of people you love, thinking about the list of things to do (and the ones you didn’t get done yesterday), bracing yourself for all of the challenges and unexpected bumps any day brings. You find yourself away from home, faced with the decision to eat a cheap slice of pizza or to take the time and spend the money to eat something a bit better. Though your inner circle of family and friends is stronger and more supportive than ever, you still have people in your life who you’d rather were playing their parts on another stage, preferably one on another continent, far away. You still get into bed at night wondering where the day went, why you don’t have the energy to make love, why you fall asleep during the first 10 minutes of a pretty interesting movie.
When these moments come–and they came last night as I lay in bed alone at our apartment in Mexico and stared at the ceiling until the sun rose and the traffic started buzzing outside this morning–there’s really only one thing to do. Just be with the feeling. Invite it in, sit with it. Have a conversation. Acknowledge your limitations. And agree that right now is the moment to begin again.