I was laying in bed last night, feeling my tiny baby moving around inside me (yes, we are pregnant!) and stopped to marvel at this process of creating life. This tiny person, only 18 weeks growing inside me, barely big enough for me to feel their movements, is moving around and experiencing life through me, although I have no control! So many things happening all at once! My heart and head do their best to handle the massive, life-changing implications, and simultaneously, mundaneness of it all. It's been done billions of times before, and yet, never before has anyone carried and grown you.
I placed my hand on my tiny bump, just the size of an avocado, and smiled. Having a body is a big responsibility, I think to them. One day you are going to have to listen to your body, ask for your needs to be met, learn how each part functions, and communicate with us, your caregivers, and eventually friends and family outside our home. You will learn how to choose and keep good company, and it all starts with your dad and me.
This little person will eventually feel all of life's emotions, but first, through me. The soaring joy of love and the aching pain of heartbreak. They will learn how to ride these waves through me, and they will ultimately learn how to stay by others' sides through the waves, through me. And it's only just begun. All in a miniature ocean, inside of me.
We met with our midwife for our first session last weekend. A wise older woman who has birthed 8 children of her own over 25 years of witnessing and assisting births in the tropical jungle of Mexico. She asked me, with a smile "so, who are they? What are they like?" At first I laughed and shrugged before realizing she was serious. A part of them is already inside of me, and, as much as I am creating them, they are also creating me.
I stared out into the garden, thinking how I have already changed in just the past 4 months of carrying their little life. They already have a strong heartbeat, a brain with two hemispheres, even little hands, shoulders, knees and toes. But more than just a body, they have a spirit, they have a will to live and a desire to not feel discomfort. When we went for the ultrasound, we watched their little body twist and turn away from the wand to avoid the heat and noise. Who are you, little one, where did you come from, and why did you chose us to be your parents?!
The tendency in relationships is to want to control. Especially for parent/ child relationships, manipulation, coercion, bribery, and punishment, these tactics are pretty standard practices. What I am learning, through healing my patterns in relationships, is that control is the opposite of connection. While control placates the ego, connection nourishes the soul. The relationship becomes the overarching focus instead of the individual. It's no longer me versus you, it's about hurt-us versus healthy-us.
Undoing years of patterning that centers the individual over the collective doesn't happen overnight. There is a subtle slowing down that is noticeable when you're own will and desire is no longer the strongest voice in your head. First of all, it requires a deeper listening to others, not only to what is being said, but the words behind what is being said. Second, it requires an understanding of your own reactions to the situation, and being able to distinguish between sometimes subtly different emotions, for example, anger and disappointment, frustration and exhaustion, sadness and grief. And from there, there is a bravery and a trust that comes from being able to say difficult things, like apologize, admit wrongfulness, acknowledge hurt, or request needs or boundaries to be met.
This is the kind of parent that I am hoping to be, and I know it will take time and I will make plenty of mistakes. When someone tells me I've hurt them, or they are upset with me, can I respond with an apology and can we repair? Rather than blame, shame, and guilt? And same vice versus, can I tell someone that I'm upset with them and can they respond with care and concern rather than inflammatory, hurtful language?
This week I am launching my first circle for expecting mamas, a place to slow down and practice this level of relateful listening for closeness. It's sometimes uncomfortable and can feel murky at first, but by choosing connection over control we get closer, feel less alone, learn about ourselves more deeply, and have a greater understanding of what it means to be in good relation with each other.
How are you working on your relationships? Where do you see yourself trying to control rather than connect? If your curious to learn more or join a circle to practice with us, comment below on how this could help you connect more with your loved ones. I'm so excited to share this work with more mothers, who hold the pulse to the connection of the family. 🙏