I’ve heard the journey through pregnancy described in so many different ways, so it is really fun to be experiencing it for myself. Most sources talk about months and trimesters, which we of course know is based in sort of arbitrary notions of time. That said, there does seem to be a common rhythm and flow that happens during pregnancy at different mileposts, however you’d like to think of them. I know that holistic birth writers have hypothesized that the stages of pregnancy (loosely defined as happening in 3 nearly equal lengths of time before birth) are similar to all life transitions and rites of passage. The beginning is about excitement, anticipation, growing accustomed to a new identity. The middle is about becoming established in that identity, finding confidence and security. The third is about realizing this part of the journey is drawing to a close, going inwards into ourselves and beginning to dream about what life might be like on the other side. The same really goes for labor and birth as well, only it is REALLY accelerated, which contributes to the intensity and transformative power of the experience.
So as my own second trimester is winding down, I’ve been reflecting on this a lot. I can feel a shift happening emotionally and physically. The part of me that likes to prepare for worst case scenarios felt a sign of relief as my baby reached the age of likely viability, even if they were to be born early. And simultaneously, part of me let go of a fear that couldn’t be let go of until that moment, and I really started to comprehend that this baby is going to be born, is likely going to live (I know, how morbid of me, that that is real life, sorry!) and is going to be the center of our lives in a few short months!
This window of time between 24-28 weeks is also physically huge in that this is the final push for adequate blood volume expansion. I’ve been very hungry, very tired, and my baby and my belly have grown bigger and stronger seemingly over night. I’ve been paying extra close attention to what my body is telling me it needs, and I’ve felt a sense of urgency about getting every bit of nutrition and rest that I can.
And most interestingly (for me as I observe it) I feel a definite emotional and spiritual shift happening. I have been organizing and washing baby clothes and diapers. I’ve been semi-wacky about needing my husband to build a dresser/storage for the baby’s things. And most recently I’ve decided that I think we need to move into a new house altogether. A very deep desire to create a safe and protected space for my baby is welling to the surface. Nothing else seems to be of any importance.
Finally, I feel an opening on all of these levels. My pelvic bones and muscles feel like they are shifting into a new position in preparation for this baby’s exit, even though it seems like it is still far away. This is really a great example of how labor doesn’t really “begin” any time other than the moment of conception. My body has been preparing and will continue to until my baby is born! My heart is opening too, and making more space for this little one. When I think I already love this person so much, I find even more love, and right now I can only imagine how big and open my heart will be when I get to meet this little one on their birth day. It is truly a miracle. I’m also feeling much more open with the people around me, sometimes for good and for bad. I’ve lost most of my filter, and I am starting to sort of like it. There is no room for drama or pretense, only room for loving this little being and getting ready to be the mama they need me to be. Things that bothered me before are completely intolerable now, and I think it is a good thing, and an intense exercise in letting go of what is no longer serving me.
So as this part of the journey ends, the beginning of the next is already starting. I’m slowly transitioning into the final part of pregnancy, and I’m excited to see what the next months bring.