Trusting Your Body

15Jun07

I wrote last month about all the lessons I’ve learned so far during my pregnancy. I wrote that during my second trimester, I learned to let go and just accept that my body knows what it’s doing. This same idea was echoed in my labor and delivery class last weekend as well: trust your body, our instructor told the pregnant women in the room. Trust that the baby knows what to do to get out and your body knows what to do to help it.

I find it amazing that this seems to be true. Time and time and time again, pregnancies go exactly according to plan and women experience more or less exactly the same things. They have mild contractions which, over the span of hours, increase in frequency, duration, and intensity. Their cervixes dilate and thin, their babies turn first to face the spine and then, once the head is through the pelvis, to the side to fit the shoulders through. Baby crowns. Baby cries. Mom cries.

But what I am currently finding most frustrating about the last weeks of pregnancy is that I feel like I can’t trust my body, at least not in the small ways I’ve grown used to trusting it. For example, there are all these things the doctor tells you to be on the lookout for. Sparing you the details, these are both signs of labor and signs of fetal distress or infection or other problem. But some of them are so difficult to discern: am I experiencing this one, or is it all in my mind? Is this the right color? The right amount? Is this it, or is it something else altogether? Is this something good or bad or, even worse, something completely inconsequential?

If someone tells you that you might experience menstrual-like aches and cramping, and you feel that, is it real or is it psychosomatic? Do you ache or do you just wish you ached?

As for me, I’m holding out for contractions that stop me in my tracks before I get too excited.

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