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Coping with birth anticipation and frustration in the third trimester

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The end is near! So why is time creeping along like an old lady crossing the street when you’re late?  At any moment I could experience telltale signs of labor.  My water could break or I could feel that first major contraction and be holding my baby girl within hours (hopefully not too terribly many of them).

I want to treasure this time, but instead I’m fighting with roaring anticipation boiling into frustration.  I catch myself in fantasies about my water breaking in random places like the grocery store.  I’m Nancy freaking Drew in the bathroom, studying used toilet paper and my underwear in hopes of finding some clue to what’s happening.  As I climb in bed I wonder, is this happening tonight? When I wake or face hours of contractions that don’t progress, I feel like a little kid fighting an intense desire to pound the floor with my fists, crying out “But I want it now!”

So how do you deal with this angst and anticipation? Once she’s here, there will probably be times where I miss the quiet of having her safe in my tummy. So I want to treasure these moments.  How can we reframe these last weeks so we can enjoy the silence?

Ask the universe a question and you will find an answer. I took a break today to go to acupuncture and discussed my labor with my acupuncturist.  Much of my life I’ve felt very in tune with my body. But right now I feel like I don’t know what’s the heck is going on.  Evidently neither does my body.

According to my acupuncturist, sometimes our bodies need time to figure this whole thing out.  They need time to prepare.  “It’s a process,” she said.  Suddenly, I felt my chest relax and my breath soften.  A process, this is a process my body is going through!

I’d been looking at my body like a lawnmower, with a cord that needs to be pulled over and over again to eventually get it started. But when she used the word “process” I realized that there is no “stop” and “start” for my body.  I’m ramping up to go all the time! Everything is all part of this beautiful, magical process of birthing my daughter.

In this age we have access to unlimited information and opinions about our health and bodies.  So when we face something we’re not familiar with, our first inclination is to turn to the internet.  I Google every weird ache or pain, wondering if it’s “normal.”

Yet in the birth process, nothing is really normal.  So we struggle to make the abnormal more normal by surfing the internet and comparing ourselves.  I think that I search the internet because I believe there is some missing piece of information out there that will allow me to speed this along – get that lawnmower started. If I could just find it!!

Wow, no wonder I was frustrated!

But why are we looking to the internet for information about our bodies?  No two women have the same bodies or go through the same birthing process, so ladies let’s stop comparing ourselves! Let’s stop valuing the opinion of Miscellaneous Martha Midwife over our own intuition. Instead, let’s tune into our bodies and let’s listen.

The female body holds a raw f-ing power and brilliance here. We can grow another human. That still baffles me!  We can make a person! Let’s stop and find that awe, that deep appreciation for our bodies during the final weeks of pregnancy. Within that, we can find trust – trust in our bodies, trust in our intuition, trust in our babies, and ultimately trust in the entire process. Give your body and your baby space for whatever is happening, and ultimately you can find patience and joy in these last few days or weeks.

How are you coping with the anticipation of birth during the last few weeks of pregnancy?

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