Maybe January feels like the longest month because everything slows down after the holidays. After vacation mode, family visits, running around and gift giving and receiving all through November and December - January settles in and settles down. Everything settles down and time slooowwwwws dowwwwwn.
Or maybe everything has slowed down for me because I am now deep into the third trimester. My sleep is compromised (laying on my side kills my hips, she is pushing on my bladder leading to 4-6 bathroom trips a night, and insomnia tends to find me around 3am); lower back pain creeps in every time I stand up after sitting for more than 20 minutes; and the most scary pregnancy symptom these days is difficulty breathing.
It's not really that breathing is hard, per say, but it feels like I can't breathe as big or deep as I normally do- it feels like I'm not getting as much air as I want. Apparently this symptom is normal in the third trimester of pregnancy- but it is quite strange to experience, especially as a person who practices yoga, meditation and deep breathing. My big baby and big uterus is apparently pushing up on my diaphragm and lungs, which is not allowing me to take in as much air into my lungs. According to everything I've read, however, it is not a reason to worry- this body of mine is doing amazing things for the little baby body inside
"At the same time that your lung capacity decreases due to the physical constraint of a growing uterus, the respiratory center in the brain is stimulated by progesterone (a hormone released during pregnancy) to get you to take slower breaths. Although each breath may bring in less air, the air stays in the lungs longer so you extract the oxygen you and your baby need. Your body also expands your blood volume during the pregnancy to make sure your baby is also getting enough oxygen." - http://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/third-trimester-shortness-breath-edema#1
Because I know this feeling of shallow breaths seems to hit me several times a day now, I plan to take those moments of noticing to focus and be mindful. Each time I notice my breath feels shallow I will set my intention on purpose and breath deep sending breath and love to little baby - breathe and love (like the tattoo I got 5 years ago) it all comes full circle.
Although this month has been long and slow, so many wonderful things happened and as January comes to a close, I am grateful for the pace and the push to slow down myself and to remember that each day is precious.
We're getting closer to the end of our pregnancy and nearer to meeting our little baby girl - the last 6-7 weeks before our lives change forever. Everyone says nothing will prepare you for how your world will change- and I know that to be true. Until then, Kevin and I will be headed to our babymoon (next weekend!), enjoying "us time" and date nights, taking birth preparation class, "nesting" and some other less fun things (like dealing with termite fumigation).
All we can do to prepare and then even after she arrives is to be mindful, patient and breathe and love over and over every single day.
Most of us like to start off the new year with a new resolution- a plan or goal to do better, be better. Or, like I've done for the past several years- an intention (nice read on why you should set an intention, rather than a resolution). Because this year is extremely important to me and my family, I've put a bit more time and thought into what my intention should be - at least to start - I also feel that based on my progression, heart and current state of being that my intention may be more of a month by month, week by week or perhaps even daily focus. I don't want to feel locked into one intention or focus for the year, but rather go where my heart and soul want to take me at any moment.
This book, The Power of Intention, has deeply resonated with me and I'm going to refer to many of the lessons it shares as I go throughout 2017, as a mom to be and (very soon) as a new mom to our baby bear. One practice that is consistent throughout the book, and one that I've always known to hold great power, is gratitude. And, what is often very hard to do, is being grateful for everything, even challenges and set backs or things that would normally upset or disappoint us.
This past week on Thursday I let myself be pulled into a funk by a great disappointment at work- but I was able to bounce back pretty fast and actually turn a bummer of a situation into a really positive thing, by being grateful for it. I was upset, then I noticed that emotion as just energy, let it flow through me and listened to what remained. What remained was a feeling of peace and knowing - I know my heart, my passions and I know what is important. I have and am grateful for the abundance of friends, love, family, humor, kindness and joy that is in my life. I know I have a purpose, I know every road teaches me something and I am patient in that I am finding my way.
And less than 24 hours after what I thought was a great disappointment, I was blessed to gain great momentum, to meet several new people and be surrounded by a positive energy that I feel very strongly that I attracted into my life.
Friday was brilliant and bright and today was beautiful. I woke up early (thanks to Kevin's alarm waking him for a 13 mile run!), made a fantastic green smoothie to feed my and little bear's body with goodness, and read and reflected some more. There was an immense positive energy today here- and all over the world -especially with the women's marches and rallies going on. Nothing is on accident- everything is on purpose, everything has happened for a reason. And we can take everything that has happened and do something positive with it.
So my current intention is to Live my Life on Purpose. I aim to look at the kaleidoscope of my life - everything that has happened - from a perspective of gratitude. To help me do so, I will notice my energy, thoughts and actions - Do they flow from a source of love within me?
To give one's heart is to give all
I am wake and up before 6am on a Monday. Why, I am not sure, but my body didn't want to fall back asleep after the last 4am bathroom break (insert eyeroll here). Kevin says I need to get more sleep before the baby comes, and I try but my body is fighting it. But at least I have time to get back into my blog writing and reflection, because time is flying by and it's been too long!
Last week was a challenging week, more emotionally than anything- with a good heavy bout of the post-holiday blues for me. When you return back home (norther Cali) after a great long trip home (Michigan) filled with so many of your closest family and friends, life is tough- at least for me it is. It happens pretty much everytime we take a trip back to the midwest for me, without fail. No matter how much I love our home here (and I especially love returning to our cuddly puppy and our own bed) coming back to California after a Michigan trip will probably always be an emotional roller-coaster for me. We're so lucky that travel is easy these days and that we can afford the trip and the time off work, but even knowing "I'll see you soon" still feels like "soon" isn't soon enough. Add in some pregnancy hormones to my parting from my nearest and dearest, and you have a sad and grumpy hot mess. I feel better now over a week later, but writing about it again still makes me cry! My poor husband had (has) to mop up my tears for a couple of days and remind me why our life is so good here for a good solid day or two before I can lift my heart back up. And he did, as he does wonderfully, and I'm mostly all put back together again now.
We returned on January 1st, 2017 and put away the Chrismas tree and holiday decorations on January 2nd. Usually it feels like a sad chore, but I think it helped me feel good about our momentum towards Spring- and our path towards our little baby bear joining the family. She's due on the first day of Spring, which seems so fitting- and I wonder if she'll be a little early, on time, or late. There is so much wonder and possibility ahead, and I'd like to stay in that mindset. The mindset of wonder and awe is a great distraction from the post-holiday blues, the constant rain we've been having and any other negative emotions I might otherwise experience. I can let the negative energy flow through me and out as I focus on so much more of the positive.
Now that I feel past the saddness that comes with saying goodbye to my friends and family, I want to soak in some of the beautiful and simple memories we made:
- cuddling with one of the sweetest dogs ever, my sister's golden retriever Draper
- the gingerbread cake and maple frosting cupcakes made by my mom
- homemade escargot, curtisy of the amazing (but humble) chef Sarah
- long walks around the neighborhood, and needing my mom to slow down because my pregnant butt can't keep up with her crazy pace
- the gorgeous, intricate and thoughtful baby quilt my mom sewed for little bear
- all of the love and gifts our baby was showered with on our boxing day family & friend celebration
- (more food) Derek's smoked chicken and my sister's buffalo cauliflower, enjoyed in their home, as they hosted us for a night
- spending time with my longest and best friends, two of whom are also pregnant right now <3
- witnessing our wonderful friends get married in downtown Chicago on NYE
- dancing the night away on NYE, at 7 months pregnant, with my husband and love of my life, to celebrate our friend's wedding, another beautiful year and all the love this life has to offer
Reflecting on all of these things and so many more great memories really helps remind me that no matter where we live, we are so blessed to have the most wonderful family and friends from all walks of life - who care about us and support us no matter where we roam, where we reside or where we land.
And now, onward and upward to 2017 ...