I have an app on my phone that calculates the odds of my flight going down. I just plug in the airline, the make of the plane, the departure and destination airport, and voila - my fate appears on the screen. Once the four pieces of information have been inputted, it produces some glorious statistic such as, “There is a 1 in 3,983,422 chance of the flight going down.” I wish I could say that the $1.99 I forked over for this app has eliminated all anxiety about flying, but unfortunately, the presentation of numbers is too rational. And anxiety is not. What will forever fuel my palm-sweating, eyes squeezed closed, heart racing, coming to terms with my own death, fear of flying is the obvious fact that I am not in control. I suggested to a doctor that I take flight lessons instead of Xanax and she sympathetically assured me that one of those options was cheaper and less time-consuming, and wrote out a prescription. Fine. I will never become a pilot and will never get to be in control of my own flight (destiny). Instead, I will use my app to calm me down, knowing full well it will be the Xanax that will take care of my nerves.
It may not come as a surprise then, that someone who enjoys control and dislikes the unknown, will struggle with some aspects of pregnancy. Cut to the scene of me eight weeks pregnant, my wide eyes red and puffy from an afternoon of crying, demanding that three of my closest friends – who all had children - explain themselves to me. “WHY DIDN’T YOU COMPLAIN MORE?! THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TALK ABOUT HOW AWFUL THIS IS?!” At that point in my pregnancy, I was experiencing - what I felt to be - an extremely hostile takeover of my body. The nausea was terrible and only moderately subsided when I was shoveling some kind of nutritionless food into my face. I felt sick all the time. Whoever coined this state of vomitus-being as simply “morning sickness” was a fool and I hated them for calling it something so inaccurate. I was exhausted. I couldn’t stop crying. And unlike any other time in my life, I felt like I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I was experiencing the first of many infinite sacrifices of motherhood. My body was being transformed and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, nor would I want to. Forty weeks felt like forty years. I was mad as hell that I wasn’t prepared for the state I was in. The only logical place to channel that anger was directly at my friends for not preparing me. Obviously.
I will never forget their sympathetic nods and words of encouragement. One of them in particular – who had three children and was probably the quietest during my tirade –started texting me daily to check in. She became my pregnancy coach and frankly, my lifeline. I could vent and she would listen, support, encourage, and gently remind me of the beauty of creating life.
Eventually things started to improve, but I still struggled to find joy in being pregnant. What compounded the bleakness was the fact that I very much felt that I should find joy. We had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, and it finally happened. My rational side – the same side that understands that operating an automobile is a bajillion times more dangerous than flying – would very loudly scold my lack of joy. I am not going to list all of the circumstances and scenarios that I would think about willing myself to feel happiness for actually getting to be pregnant. We know them. I would tick through the list and plead with my heart to find joy.
After I triumphantly passed into the second trimester, I went to my first prenatal yoga class at Blooma. I vividly remember standing tall and placing one hand on my lower abdomen, over the tiny zygote furiously growing inside me, and my other hand over my heart. It was quiet. It was calm. The nausea had momentarily subsided and the room was full of glorious Blooma supportive energy (that if I hadn’t experienced myself I’d tell you to tone it the eff down, hippy). A lump in my throat formed. As I breathed in and out and closed my eyes, tears streamed down my cheeks. I just wanted to lay down and do some ugly crying because my heart was suddenly painfully full of joy. I stopped fixating on the hostile takeover that was happening to my body. In that moment, I surrendered. I started channeling thoughts to the little plum. “You can do this. Keep growing. I’ll keep you safe.” And even as I said it, I hoped that I could.
Now, let’s be honest. I may have left the class zenned out on “she believed she could so she did” Blooma love, but by the time I got home, I was probably cursing a litany of things that were uncomfortable and frustrating. And believe me, that did not stop until the day I evicted our sweet, precious bundle of joy from my body. But I definitely realized: first, it was okay that I wasn’t a naturally joyful pregnant woman; and second, it was crucial to take time and space to focus on what was happening and surrender to it. Whenever I did, the joy would come.
Being pregnant and becoming a mom is an ass-kicking in humility, and for someone who prides herself on being able to create some semblance of control with a shitty app for $1.99, I trust that this ass-kicking will keep reminding me that some of life’s best experiences are not mine to control. Oh and here’s the plus side of having a kid and flying: there is no time to contemplate death when there’s a tiny human requiring all of your attention for however many hours the giant tube shoots through the sky. What a fantastic distraction.
Written by Blooma Mama Ann