Discovering a support network that seemed to have been waiting for me my whole life. Theoni, yoga and hypnobirthing teacher and general pregnancy guru at the hub of it. If you are pregnant and live in Joburg, you must get in touch with her. From midwife to gynae to massage therapist and homeopath, I have been blessed with really caring, sensible professionals. When I hear some of the stories women go through, I wonder how I got so lucky.
Yoga. I joined a Kundalini pregnancy yoga class at about 10 or 11 weeks. Always an Iyengar kind of girl, this form has been great for me. I love all the chanting and breathwork, the meditations and the weird holding poses. My body has learned how to understand a full minute of intensity. The idea is that contractions only last about a minute, so if you remember holding your arms up in the air for agonisingly long, like you did in class, you understand presence and intensity in a different way. Several of the girls from the class have reported that this has really worked for them in their labours.)
Watching birth porn. I didn't do antenatal classes. Just the Hypnobirthing course. Couples meeting once a week for a month. Dads baffled but wanting to do the right thing. Women unsure what they want but knowing its not the medical route, not drugs and spinal blocks. Wanting to be present and conscious but, erm, no pain please. So there you are, nervous strangers discussing perineal massage, studying diagrams of the uterus, and watching birth porn. Yes, birth porn. In the normal antenatal classes they show you all the options. That means watching gruesome birth videos that make you blanch and reach for the phone to book a caesarian. In the Hypnobirthing course, they only show you footage of women having easy, comfortable, deeply relaxed and sometimes ecstatic births. And then there's Amber. Amber, standing in warm water, moves her hips in a spiral. Amber has a blissful smile on her face. As the baby descends she starts to moan. Not 'oh my god this hurts' kind of moaning, but I'm having a Really. Really. Good. Time. Kind of moan. Not Meg Ryan's moaning in When Harry Met Sally. Intenser than that, and softer. I'm not a prude, but I didn't really know where to look while Amber channelled the Milky Way through her spiraling heart and hips and had a lengthy spirit, body, cosmic orgasm. Whew. I want what Amber was having.
Nesting hormones. I have never been much of a domestic goddess. Bohemians are people who wash the dishes before meals, right? In the last few months I have been renovations supervisor, put-away-your-shoes-nazi and I've baked gluten brownies. I have a very beautiful new kitchen.
Perspective. I really don't give a damn about stuff I used to give a lot of a damn about. And its better this way.
Being ushered to the front of the queue. It only happened once, but it was a very good day for it to happen.
Random smiles from strangers.
Saving graces: Like flax seed oil for the tearful weeks, the forgetful so-called porridge brain. Tissue salts - they're safe and can treat an amazing range of stuff. Rescue remedy - without which I would probably be on trial for husband-icide.
Being right. All the time. Don't argue, its just true. You are. One is. I am.
Relaxin hormones that make your joints unstable. Dislodging my sacro-iliac joint at about week 26 and still having to drive, teach, climb stairs and carry books for the three weeks that it lasted was very flippen sore. Thank you the Osteopath for making it go away. (Of course those hormones are really pretty cool. They loosen your ligaments so that pelvis can open and baby can get through easier. But its good to keep yourself fairly symmetrical, just in case.)
Working through your shit. Got parental, childhood issues? Who doesn't. Pregancy is a great opportunity to clear that stuff and clear it fast. You just don't have space for it anymore. Just warn your partner and watch for the emotional speed wobbles and aftershocks as you vaccuum your psyche. Like the last point, this could be under cool stuff. But my husband wouldn't put it there.
Overwhelm. Sometimes it doesn't take much to slide over the edge into a blubbering wreck. Just ask the parking official on campus that wouldn't let me park in the 'reserved' bay that I know never gets used, after I drove around for 30 minutes looking for a spot and was late for class. Just ask him. (Just ask my husband, poor pussycat)
Turning over in bed. Is so flippen hard! I'm really looking forward to lying on my tummy again.
People who want to tell you horror stories.
People who have random unasked-for advice.
Lost parking tickets. And words, and keys and cups of tea, and, supposedly, brain cells. The whole 8% thing? That pregnant women's brains shrink by 8% and they get stupider? Its a myth, ok? My sense is that your intelligence centre moves down from the head into the heart and solar plexus. I am much more forgetful, but also much more psychic and intuitive and 'smart' in ways I've never been. And right. Did I mention that I am right? Sigh. If only everyone agreed with me. Then they could be right too.