Does a Good Pregnancy Exist?
I was recently eating with some other women at a female function and since I am obviously pregnant someone asked me how I was feeling. I said "I feel good. I have good pregnancies" to which the response was- " I didn't know that existed." YES- it is possible to have a good pregnancy!
But this comment, probably meant in jest really got me thinking about the way we view pregnancy and how thinking of pregnancy as the disease, really leads us down the path of thinking that birth is little more than the operation to rid our bodies of some contaminant.
All About Suffering?
When I was pregnant with my first, I had a few friends who had recently lost babies a little late in the game (past that magical 12 week point) and of course I knew people who just were not able to get pregnant. So I told myself that I would not complain about my pregnancy but instead be grateful for it.
I will admit right now that I have of course complained while pregnant- I did have one in the summer in Texas- I am not super woman and of course I complain. I am not even judging women who do complain. I know that I probably do have it pretty easy and I certainly can not be in somebody else's body and experience what they are feeling.
Despite all of this I notice that so much of what I hear abut pregnancy is about the problems related to it. Swelling, farting, gaining weight (I admit, this one I have a hard time not complaining about - seriously 45 pounds!?), stretch marks, the constant urination, bleeding gums, urinary tract infections, illness, morning sickness, headaches, tiredness, the list goes on and on. In fact, if you read pretty much any book on pregnancy, you will find a chapter devoted simply to common complaints!
The Positive Side of Pregnancy
There is another side, and one we should try to concentrate on a little more. While pregnant with my first, I worked till the end and I felt an enormous kinship with people around me that I had never noticed before.
Nearly everyone I met asked about the baby and told me about their kids and grand kids, their pregnancy's and births. Sometimes we view this as annoying, all the extra advise, but it is really an amazing life altering event that everybody shares in in some way. We have all been born and many of us have family ties that are very important to us. Being pregnant and having children is one of the most universal events we can experience.
I realized that people love their families. The world is not all gloom and doom and people who do not care. Being obviously pregnant in a public setting every day I had the opportunity to listen to people tell me what they most loved about their families and their children.
One person after another told me that it was worth it and that children were amazing. Grandparents talked about their grand babies. Other women shared their stories (and yes, even some of their complaints) but we got to talk together and connect in a way that I never had with complete strangers. I felt oddly like I was now part of a universal sisterhood of women that had always existed, but that I had just never noticed.
The Amazing Baby
One of my favorite things about pregnancy is feeling the baby move. It seems to make all the other uncomfortable parts worth it and is something I look forward to. It is an awe inspiring thing to actually feel another human who is actually part of you for a short while.
What really is mind boggling to me though is that you can feel the spirit of that baby before it is even born. Mom's who have had a few will tell you that they can even tell some of the personality traits before they are born. This is a unique opportunity as women and one of my favorite parts of pregnancy. It is a special time when the baby is kind of yours alone to enjoy and be with.
Staying Healthy While Pregnant = Feeling Better
Despite the wonderful things about pregnancy- there are some true discomforts, many however are a direct result of how we eat, take care of ourselves, or, like labor, they are trying to tell us something.
One approach to pain is to mask it- this is what we often do with everything from headaches to labor contractions. You can take a pill- or we can look a little deeper and try to figure out why our body feels this way and what it is trying to tell us.
For example- headaches in pregnancy. I get them frequently the first trimester, and I almost never get them when not pregnant. Now, you have probably been told that it is perfectly safe to take Tylenol while pregnant. This would just mask the symptom (I won't even get started on the avoidance of drugs of any kind while pregnant) but it does not address the cause.
For many women, the headaches are a sign of low blood sugar. Your body is working hard to build a baby and a placenta, and it needs fuel. Much more than normal. The headaches can be a sign of low blood sugar and the need to eat or drink more water. By just taking a pill, not only are you not addressing the cause, it is quite possible that you are denying your body and baby of fuel that it is desperately trying to tell you that it needs.
Women in this country are amazingly sick while pregnant. Even wealthy women suffer from toxemia, which I have not doubt, makes you feel pretty badly. Look around, many pregnant women don't have a lovely glow, they look ill. We must listen to what our body is trying to tell us if we want to stay healthy while pregnant.
The Brewer Diet is an excellent guideline along with- lots of raw foods! Try it and feel better while pregnant. Also- plenty of sleep helps! And the pregnancy exercises!
The Mind Set= Do We Want People to Treat Us Like Victims?
Do we want people to pity us because we are pregnant? Sadly, this is probably true to some degree. Pregnancy is a time when we as women can actually catch a break! I have to admit I have of course let the house get messy and gone out to eat because- "I'm pregnant".
When women are expected to do so much and noticed for so little of it, it is nice to have a little bit of attention and get a little bit of help around the house - and truthfully- we deserve it. The only down side of this is that sometimes we help encourage the idea that pregnancy, birth, and everything that goes along with it is a disaster waiting to happen. When- truly, it is one of our most powerful moments.