Beyond Birth

I’m guessing you’re reading this because you are expecting a baby sometime in the next few days or months and I’m also guessing that you’ve been inundated by a host of pressures and expectations from literally everyone you encounter. As if it isn’t enough that your body has been taken over by a growing human, you also have to deal with comments like:

Do you want a boy or a girl?” “Are you going to find out what you are having?” “Do you have to pee like, ALL the time?” “Are you going to get a minivan?” “What kind of car seat will you get?” “You’re glowing!” “You look like you’re going to pop any day!” “It looks like you’re having twins at least!” “Really, you’re having a baby? Haven’t you heard of overpopulation?”

And it doesn’t end after the birth. Society will give your little boy trucks and sports equipment and your girl frills and dolls without any space leftover for anything in between. You will be expected to be everything for your baby without giving up anything of yourself. You are supposed to give your child every opportunity without raising an entitled child.

It’s like the minute you miss your period all of a sudden your body and your baby become the common property of the entire species. But the lady at the grocery store touching your belly without asking might be surprised to know that there is more going on than merely ensuring our race continues for at least one more generation.

Yes, birth is this universal thing, automatically connecting us not only to every other human but also every other mammal in every generation that came before or will come after on the whole face of the earth. At the same time it is an intensely individual experience, not only for you but also for the new human you are carrying.

You are more than how you choose to transport your baby. You are more than the toll that this pregnancy is taking on your body. Your baby is more than the gender it is born with and you are more than your feelings about it. You may have generations of traditions surrounding birth and parenting or you may find yourself completely cut off from your ancestors and their ways of caring for subsequent generations. You may be faced with the difficult need to break generational cycles of toxic family relationships. You may be excited. You may be terrified. You would be only human if you find yourself experiencing a roller coaster cocktail of it all.

What you are is You. Right where and when you find yourself. No more, no less. Just right. All the fears and overwhelm, all the angry answers to annoying questions from strangers, all the attempts to stay positive and polite when you really do need to pee like, ALL the time. All the getting up in the morning to face another day after achy, restless sleep. It’s all part of you finding your way through this universally individual adventure.

And what you can do is take your stand. This is your pregnancy. This is your journey. You can claim your space and blaze your trail. Cling to those who make you stronger. Create a little distance from those who shake you, at least while you deepen your roots into the fertile ground that makes you thrive. Tell people reaching for your belly that they need to respect your body. Later, teach your little one to use the same words, LOUDLY, insistently, even when they are directing their demand at you and you just want them to put their pajamas on! Take naps instead of worrying about getting a new car (unless you are having your fourth and the back seat of your car is already full of car seats – in which case take a nap FIRST, and then look for a bigger car)! Eat your healthy snacks and walk in the sun, nourishing the body that is going through so much (glowing or otherwise). Later walk the same paths with your littles (regardless of where they land on the gender spectrum) and show them they way towards a world full of love, compassion, and respect.

Here at Nurse Log Birth & Beyond we are fiercely committed to helping you build the life you need when it comes to birthing, caring for, and raising your little human(s). We are here to support you during birth and the typical postpartum period, but we also want to support families in the years that come after that. Stay tuned for compassionate and empowering podcast episodes and parenting classes as well as locally hosted unschooling groups.

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