My pregnancy was a delightful time; I felt energetic, had no special cravings, no real trouble sleeping, no morning sickness, and I was cradled with a general sense of calm anticipation with an undercurrent of steady content. My mind and body felt magically balanced and I only wish I could maintain that level of emotional well-being without having to be growing a baby in my belly.
In the last stretch after 36 weeks, right around the time I had put together a birth plan and packed my bag for the hospital, I quit my job at the time, and had a window to enjoy being super round and untethered to agendas.
During this time, my daily ritual was to walk a mile to my yoga studio and practice gentle asanas for the morning. It was surprising how much flexibility I still had, with a human life growing within. On the walk home, I’d pick ripe & juicy fallen mangoes along the path, the sweet scent wafting in the breeze and all around.
I had done my share of nesting, sewing cushion covers, stocking up on adorable blankets, towels, and onesies. I would read a little and do some stretching, then follow with belly rubbing and singing to the bump.
Then I would take a short drive to the beach and swim for half an hour. Swimming was the loveliest sensation; it felt as if the belly buoyed my whole body. I didn’t swim very fast of course, but it was always a wonderfully fluid experience.
I feel lucky to have had this window to be my own person, yet simultaneously deeply connected to the person inside of me, my mini-me, that was due to be born to the world any moment.
Then she arrived, and motherhood was a shock!
Everything I thought I’d be prepared for, I was not. My once emotionally balanced ship, completely capsized and the mast had snapped! The sleep deprivation was especially trying, and the breastfeeding an equally daunting challenge.
My mother-in-law, and my mother were both in town for the birth. I remember there was one afternoon in that first week, I was sitting in the living room attempting to feed my daughter. As she vocalized her frustration more and more, the tears beaded in drops then started to pool, and eventually were flooding my eyes and cheeks. She was hungry and bewildered, I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I hugged her closer and we both cried extendedly in exasperate unison while my mother-in-law, and my mother, were both trying to console the two of us unsuccessfully.
Remembering that moment today, mixes nostalgia and relief, gratitude and wonder. All of us have these unique memories embedded into our fabric, into our psyche, changing our outlook and connection with our family members. It’s no different for new dads, uncles, aunts, and other relatives and caretakers of newborn babies. These memories fade like distant dreams as the babies grow older, into children, into youth and beyond.
To all the mamas and papas, grands, to-bes, and your mini-mes, cherish these moments among you, even the ones flooded with tears. It’ll all blur, leaving only a tingling trace in your heart.
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