This was me in my original Angel Baby Outie Maternity tee – where it all began…
Pregnancy is fascinating. Over forty weeks a little being is slowly growing inside you. Every day it kicks and stretches, unfurls and curls a little more and you can almost like you have known the little creature for a long time (and so well) before you even get to meet him or her.
But there is also a lot that the little baby is teaching you before you even have the pleasure of meeting them.
1) Flexibility is important
The way that your body can accommodate the growth of a baby is amazing. Skin stretches, bodies change shape and even bones can shift to make room for the baby.
Parenting needs to be the same way. Although you might have firm ideas about how you will do things – it is important to be flexible about your approach. When I have been faced with tough moments parenting, I imagine that I am a rock in a river – things flow over me and shape me as they go and I need to remember the importance of flexibility.
“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
2) Listening is rewarding
The first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat through a Doppler is a magical moment but the listening goes both ways. I remember a successful meditation session during maternity yoga where I tried to listen to my body just as the baby inside me would be listening to my body. It changed the way that I thought about everything and it taught me that silence is new for a baby when it is born. There are tummy squiggles and bowel gurgles and a heart beat and breathing and muffled sounds beyond the womb….
I realised that before my baby was born, it was actually used to a lot of noise.
I trained my son to stay tuned in to lots of noise as a newborn by wearing him and taking him with me where I was working in my studio. I even deliberately hammered things and closed doors loudly around him!
I am happy to say that he is now a sound sleeper and dogs barking and my sewing machine going do not easily wake him. This has made his nap-times much easier on us as parents because we have not needed to tiptoe around the house and warn people at the gate not to set the dogs off etc.
3) What goes up must come down
Let’s not read this too literally here (rudey!) – but pregnancy is about giving and taking/providing and receiving. Your organs shift to accommodate your expanding uterus and they will eventually move back into place after birth.
I put on 30kg in my first pregnancy (!!) and the recommended maximum for my bmi was 11kg. Things went up on the scales… but they also came down again with daily walks and, eventually, runs.
It is important to realise that things balance out eventually. I even ended up 5kg lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight because I developed a love of running which I had not anticipated.
4) The body is resilient
My first labour was spent mostly at home alone with my old bulldog keeping me company. Eventually I called my man home from his night-shift as I had finally convinced myself that I was ‘actually’ in labour and yes, the contractions were regular enough to bother calling the midwife.
Looking back now, I left it a bit too long before I went to hospital. I was amazed at how well my body had coped and how well I had coped on my own really.
I arrived at hospital at 8cm and, 6 hours later was not progressing and ended up having an emergency c-section (posterior large baby not descending).
I cried on the way to theatre because I felt like I had failed and I was suddenly really scared of surgery and all of the unknowns that go with it… (that’s another story though).
Fifteen minutes later I was holding my son and my fears had gone.
Three weeks of slow healing after surgery later and I felt good again.
The body is amazing. Never underestimate your own resilience. Teach it back to your baby when you meet them.
5) Love is blind
How can you love someone before you meet them or know what they look like? You just can – having a baby teaches you this.
They look weird when they come out too – so it’s a lucky thing that love is blind. Tee hee.
6) All great things starts off small
Good things come in small packages.
My life was SO DIFFERENT before I became a mother. I was never to know how much one small person could change my life so much for the better.
(If I never got pregnant I would never have started Outie…)
7) Small things can be significant
When a baby kicks inside your tummy it can be a surprisingly sharp and strong sensation. A little foot turns into a toblerone-lump on the outside of your belly, a little bottom can be a giant hump-back whale swimming across your abdomen…
“Though they be but little – they be but fierce” – Shakespeare (adapted from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – “though she be but little, she be fierce” – about Hermia).
These are just seven small things that my baby/ies have taught me before they were born – yet there are surely a lot more than seven…
What have you learned from your baby during pregnancy?