Giving Each Other Permission
I never wanted to be a parent, I thought. Neither did he. And yet, here we are… 11 weeks away from the ultimate bliss of kissing the sweet face of our baby for the first time. Surreal. The last 29 weeks have been so radically life changing and expansive that I struggle to find words.
My partner and I humbly step into our role as parents with wonderment and deep reverence. I believe our yoga practice has informed the ease with which this transformative journey can be witnessed. We’ve seamlessly shifted our individual life paths to focus on what matters most in our lives, to focus on what teachings and experiences we most desire for this child to bear witness, and to live a life as a family that empowers us to care for ourselves with the same love and compassion that we care for our troubled planet.
He and I met on a magical island where our souls seemed to vibrate in the deep cosmic recognition of one another from a time without memory. This sparkling partnership, suddenly chosen by an unborn spirit, now entangles three souls each with their own stories of manifestation, trust, and love.
The words of a friend continue to ring throughout my being,
“There is no fear in ultimate trust.”
Some friends have encouraged my sharing of the more intimate details of this journey, both in finding my beloved and our shift into parenthood, as a possible source of inspiration for others. Perhaps one day I will. Out of respect for our unborn child and the sacredness of my own experience, I’ve kept the news offline until recently. I’ve chosen instead to share the details within community, between close friends and of course, with family.
Private in a sense, and yet, the public sharing of one particular aspect of my experience in pregnancy seems imperative. I hope that my words find the hearts of those needing permission. Permission to be, to love, and to accept themselves.
As a pregnant cis-gendered woman, I have experienced a fantastic showering of love and excitement from nearly everyone around me. I am glowing, and each day feels like a fluffy cloud in a blue sky. I have an amazing community of love and support, 6 very excited soon-to-be Grandparents, and the most wonderful partner imaginable. Truly. My heart hums with love and gratitude.
Pregnant women are often given a unique sort of permission from society at large with unprecedented permission for self-care. I have noticed myself relaxing into these new areas of allowances. Feeling strongly driven to care for myself (and baby) first, I am quick to acknowledge and handle my own needs.
I speak my truth.
I hosted an evening with friends, and went to bed early.
I canceled plans because I felt tired, introverted, and happy to just be at home.
I eat without question when I’m hungry, and have snacks whenever I feel like it. I’m not counting calories, resisting any cravings, or pretending that I don’t want seconds. And yes, I do want more chocolate, please.
I take naps, sleep-in, and go to bed early if I feel like it.
I’m frequently short of breathe when doing simple tasks, and take a moment (or several) to slow down and catch my breathe without feeling like I need to be Super Woman. I go for walks with a senior dog, grateful for his laboured pace.
I’m pretty gassy. Sometimes I’m bloated. Either way, my stomach boldly (and adorably) sticks out quite far and there’s no sucking it in. There’s no sucking it in… Imagine a world where no one sucks in their belly because of shame and is thus allowed to live and breathe freely!
I feel no shame when my yoga pants feel tight, and am quick to slide into XL stretchy pants and add a bra extender without any guilt.
I have gained weight, my boobs are bigger than ever, and it all makes me smile. I jiggle with joy.
I simply take up more space these days. Unapologetically.
My body is expanding and changing in the most beautiful and bizarre ways, and I am happy to allow it to do so. I give myself permission to accept my body in whatever way it needs to be to grow a healthy strong baby.
And with great relief, so do those around me! It’s as if a magic wand has been waved through the air releasing myself and others of all negative judgements about my body and behaviour. Living for the past 7 months without these societal rules and expectations towards politeness and body image makes me better able to understand their subtly crippling weight.
*I would like to mention that I am aware of my privilege in being a happily pregnant white woman. Not everyone who gets pregnant is excited about it, accepted by their families or communities, or have the support they deserve. Some people are pregnant, carrying a baby for 9 months, in a body that doesn’t feel like their own, or with a baby that isn’t their own. Some pregnant people identify as male, non-binary, or gender fluid- in which this time of a shifting rounding body and standard societal reactions may come with feelings of resistance, judgement, or frustration. Plenty of cis-gendered women may feel these things too.
Not all pregnant people want to have their bellies rubbed (some of us love it). Not all pregnant people want to talk about their babies. Not all pregnant people want to be treated like the fragile women/people they aren’t. We just don’t know what experience any person is having in their body, in their pregnancy journey, or in their life at any moment.*
It’s never safe to assume we understand someone’s relationship with their body or pregnancy. It probably IS safe, though, to assume that they want to be accepted as they are.
Wait, don’t we all? Don’t we all want to feel loved, cared for, and noticed? Treated with kindness, compassion and from a perspective of non-judgement?
Don’t we all deserve to be given permission to care for and love ourselves as our first priority?
Do we have to be pregnant to accept our weight gain or protruding bellies? Or to “allow” someone else’s?
Do we have to be pregnant to allow actions of self-care to be the most important decisions throughout our day? Of course not.
We can gift that permission to ourselves AND to each other, pregnant or not.
We can accept ourselves and one another as the emotionally sensitive or fatigued people we can be.
So, Thank You to everyone for allowing me to cancel the dinner plans, take a bath, eat some ice-cream and fart myself to sleep. BUT I’ll want a high-five for doing this when I’m a Mom too.