It was an ordinary day in September when I felt like I needed to stop and pick up a pregnancy test on my way home. This wasn’t uncommon for me, I peed on many a stick while trying to conceive our first and early on when we decided we were ready for #2. I didn’t think it would be positive, we had stopped “trying” and hadn’t pursued the hormones we used to get the two pink lines the first time around. I listened to my instincts though and stopped at the dollar tree and bought 10 tests, I may as well stock up again, right? I took a test as soon as we got home and instantly there were two lines. I was shocked, but then again I wasn’t. I had a feeling that it would be, I had just doubted my instincts could be right.
I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, who had been my provider with my first, because she was easy to get in with and I needed to confirm if I was 6 weeks or possibly 3 months along; irregular cycles are confusing like that. In my gut though I knew I needed to find someone else if I was going to get my vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) that I longed for. But I didn’t listen to my instinct with that and back to the old I went.
Weeks passed, I scheduled my husband and I for a five week hypnobirthing course, hired a doula, and finally couldn’t avoid that voice in my head saying “make the call!” over and over again. And so, 25 weeks along, at lunch when my stomach was growling, I listened to my gut instinct as well as my hunger pangs. I called a midwife and made an appointment. I anxiously awaited my appointment and as soon as I got into that room I felt relaxed and empowered. Ready to ask all the questions I failed to ask my previous doctor because I already knew her answers wouldn’t sit well with my instincts. And so I asked, and overwhelmingly heard “yes, Yes, YES!”
My mother always told me that when you have a baby your instincts kick in like some internal switch is flipped and you know what to do. I did feel like with many aspects of parenting in the past 2 1/2 years that has been true but I’ve also learned I have to make sure to get out of my head to get in touch with those instincts. A few things I’m focused on this time around are:
To stop glorifying the anxiety. If you Google any parenting question you are sure to find forum after forum of women who all have one thing in common: anxiety. They are worried about everything and if you aren’t worried about it they are worried about you too. We thrive on fear but fear locks us into place rather than giving us the freedom to enjoy our decisions. I’m trying to make the conscious decision to let go of at least the little worries, then build to the bigger ones. The hope is that when a legitimate problem arises I will have practiced separating the anxiety from the problem solving and be able to take action to a solution much more quickly.
Breathe deeply. When I can’t get through the anxiety right away, I have learned to take several deep breathes. Focusing on breathing forces my mind and body to relax, it’s also a great coping skill to model for our kids.
Ask myself the questions first, and listen to the answers. When I’m afraid of the answer I am going to get from someone else, I ask that question aloud to myself. I play through the conversation, if I don’t get the response I want to hear, there’s a good chance I already know the response I’ll get from the other person. Then I can either ask the question to the person and confirm my instinct or choose to find someone else to ask my questions too. When I knew my OB wasn’t going to be fully supportive, I didn’t ask. When I knew my midwife was supportive I asked even more questions!
Limit advice seeking. Or at least who I am seeking advice from. Dr. Google and parenting groups on Facebook can be helpful at times but the are also full of fear mongering and side-taking. I’ve learned I will always search but that I need to do my reading then sit with that information for a while to see what conclusion I naturally come to. If I have to ask, I pick one or two very trusted individuals and run my ideas past them first before soliciting their advice.
Here we are, just a couple short months until we meet this sweet boy, and now I’m learning to listen more. Do I need to sleep more? What foods are going to enhance the way I feel and the health of the baby? What does my husband need for this delivery? What does my toddler really need from me? I’m asking the questions that I had avoided, but instead of discomfort, I’m feeling stronger, more confident, empowered. Far more prepared and feeling like I’m headed for success. Turns out my ever growing gut is a pretty smart lady if I take the time to listen to her and trust the instincts that nature has put there for a reason.