As you know (or have gathered from my blatant header), I'm pregnant with our second child. While I'd wanted and hoped for this pregnancy for a long time, the reality of adding another child to our family, along with the horrible morning sickness and exhaustion I'd been living with for weeks, was making me question our decision to have another baby (although it's kinda too late for that!). I was sick, depressed and hadn't spent any time at all tuning in to myself, my baby or my body.
Enter Body, Soul, and Baby (BSB). This book arrived on my doorstep from The Parent Bloggers Network in the nick of time. It's written by Tracy Gaudet, the director of the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine. My predilection for complementary alternative therapies (I'd practiced hypnosis to prepare for Delaney's birth and had used hypnosis successfully in the past to lose weight) made me curious to see what BSB had to offer and frankly I was desperate for a new way to view my daunting and, up until that point, unhappy pregnancy.
When I was pregnant for the first time with Delaney I read practically every pregnancy book available and still wanted to read more. This time around, I decided not to read or even reread pregnancy books. But this book seemed different. One evening while Roger was putting Delaney to bed and I was lying on the couch trying not to die, I picked up, Body, Soul, and Baby and started to change the way I'd been thinking about my pregnancy.
Early into the introduction, a question caught my attention: "Will you tune in...or miss out?" The answer was obvious. I was missing out. And it's easy to see why. When you feel as physically miserable as I'd been feeling (unable to eat, throwing up, losing weight and having zero energy), it's all you focus on. What Gaudet explained is that I needed to see beyond how I was feeling and try to get in touch with why I was feeling that way.
Yes, my hormones were obviously in charge and they mercilessly drilled me into the ground. There wasn't much I could do about that, but I could work on changing my attitude about this pregnancy and look at it as a blessing taking place in my body rather than an enemy that's turned me into a bitchy shrew. It seemed like a small thing to do, but just changing my mindset helped me feel a bit better. And, of course, as the weeks have gone by the nausea finally started to loosen its grip (at about week 15), the painful acne began to retreat and now I'm getting excited about being pregnant for the first time since the stick turned pink.
Gaudet offers very specific tools such as mental body scans; dialoguing with yourself about how you're feeling; dreamagery (using your imagination to connect with your subconscious); and journaling to guide you through a connected and mindful pregnancy. I enjoyed reading about the tools and Gaudet's approach is certainly one I would have followed to the letter during my first pregnancy. I'd even recommend it to other soon-to-be-moms.
But if I'm being honest, between raising a toddler, working from
home and the various other obligations I have, I just don't make time
to sit, be silent and listen to my body. I have, however, started
checking in regularly with my baby after reading this book. I talk to
my unborn child to tell him/her that even though he/she is making my
life hellish right now, I love him/her and I understand that this
difficult period will be worth it. After reading BSB, I've made this a
nightly practice and it's making a difference in how connected I
already feel to my child.
I wish I'd had this book leading me through my first pregnancy back in 2004-5. I admit I'm a little jaded now. Knowing that I'll have a scheduled C-section this time around and knowing what to expect from that situation makes me less doubtful of the birth experience I'll have. I don't feel that I have to work as hard this time to understand everything that's happening because I already know.
Still, Gaudet's book is extremely informational and educational and she opened my eyes to things I'd never considered like (duh!) I can use hypnosis again even though I know I'm having a C-section this time. She reminded me that, "presurgical hypnosis has also been shown to speed healing," a fact I believe to be true from my own experience using it for several weeks as I prepared for my labor, delivery and eventual C-section with Delaney. And, although I'm pretty set on a repeat C-section, I'm exploring the section titled, "How to make a conscious choice about trying a VBAC," which includes tools I can use to help me figure out which course of delivery is best for me, my body and my baby. Who knows? Maybe the VBAC I never considered is actually the way I should go. This is an option that frankly hadn't occurred to me prior to reading BSB and I'm glad Gaudet's got me exploring the option.
Body, Soul, and Baby is exactly the kind of pregnancy book I would have devoured in mere days during my first pregnancy, especially since it's so different from all of the others out there. Gaudet's background in integrative medicine provides a refreshing viewpoint of the journey of preconception, pregnancy and the postpartum period and I'm glad I got the chance to read it during my second (and as Roger insists, LAST) go-round at this pregnancy thing.