How she passes ever-so deliberately these days of gestation. I am beyond thankful to see it tick bye me, knowing that with each passing minute I am closer to meeting my child and no longer sharing a body in this way. But I feel I am also entering a really sweet time of pregnancy, the kind where Joel begins to rest his hands on my belly as I lean back on him. The kind where I sit in a yoga studio with 18 other pregnant women as we listen to each other breathe. The kind where I realize for one of the first times in my life thus far that I am a grown woman, capable at bringing forth life. The kind where maybe, just maybe, I begin to uncover a fabulousness deep within that has nothing to do with vintage cocktails and tailored suit-jackets.
I've had a few very sad days. I've been swallowing the biggest bowls of self-pity, and while it's never my nature to try and "fix" a mood my soul needs to feel, it was unpleasant to say the least. I am a woman whose entire adult life has been based on self-care, cultivating relationships, fashion, photography, the study and consumption of all things fine and bubbly. I suppose I knew pregnancy would change things, but only in that a baby would change hings. I never imagined BEING pregnant would actually birth an entirely new identity. I always looked at it as 9 months to endure being miserable. Oh dears, I have never been good at just enduring. I have no choice but to be me and dig into this newness to discover what jewels of wisdom and human joy that I can. I believe the self-pity was therefore ingrained in the fear of this new identity. I didn't want to give up my fashion for maternity frump, and I sure as hell didn't want to stop sitting in restaurants sipping martinis wearing red lipstick and intoxicating Joel with my eyes. But for this time, for this moment, I am those things. I was frustrated because I felt incapable of enjoying myself in social situations without alcohol (I am an introvert, after-all), and therefore sat in the company of those I love lock-jawed and bitterly disappointed in myself for requiring wine in order to connect.
I believe the sad self-pity has passed for now. I managed to have a great time at a recent social event (it helped that my friend isn't drinking for lent!), and this boosted my confidence. I can do this! I can be pregnant and be fabulous, damn it. It's like my yoga teacher said last night as my quads shook in extended triangle pose, "Your legs are STRONG! They can do this." And they did.
This week, one of my very best soul sisters wrote me this in an email:
"i also want you to know that i remember you mentioning that you were afraid you'd lose yourself to some degree in the tidal changes of pregnancy and motherhood...and i want to tell you that i see you becoming more yourself day by day, sitting at your victorian desk sifting through handful after handful of sand. the piles of earth are riddled with rocks and glass, you marvel at the smoothness and you let yourself be cut by the remnants of what has gone before, what is happening, what will happen. none of it escapes your notice and this is the candace i know and love...you are aware, you are present, maybe you're even afraid. but you are there. it's even more elemental than that....you are. "
It shook me up enough to realize that even though I have to change course and walk down a less familiar trail for the next months, that all things I am and do are still me. I am in no danger of losing Candace, and I refuse to succumb to that fear.
To the battles ahead that we are well-equipped to endure,
To refusing to make decisions based in fear and shame,
To the sifting through murk and mire to re-discover your inner shine,