Barefoot and Pregnant

Photos of photos a friend took of Geneva and me while I was pregnant with Jonas.

I've been reading some things in the last couple of days that bring me back to the years of birthing and breastfeeding. I haven't written about it much here, because I'm in the season of training and rallying my troops; days aiming for efficiency and productivity. My days have lost the dreamy haze of what Nancy Campbell calls the "mothering anointing" - those bouts of renewed gentleness and tenderness when you have a nursing baby.

I don't really relish pregnancy. None of my friends seemed to vomit during theirs, but I would, every day for a few months. Then with my fourth child, I had hyperemesis - from the moment I woke up until bedtime, I would puke and puke until it felt like life was draining from me. Near the end, I would get that bad pubic bone pain, and as my stepmother-in-law called it, 'a catch in my get-along' - a nagging nerve pain in my lower back.

But I had great births; it seemed that was my reward for enduring the pregnancies.  The last one was about an hour and a half once I was in active labor. I had already run the gestational track a few times before, and knew what helped ease the different stages of labor. I felt in control.

Certain sounds, sensations, and smells recall the early days of parenting a newborn. The fragrance of Pampers Snugglers diapers. The songs of early Maisy episodes. Gatorade. Misty Edwards' album Always On His Mind. Unsnapping my leopard Bravado nursing bra dozens of times a day. The rip of velcro as I changed my toddlers' Happy Heiny pocket diapers.

I was an adherent of attachment parenting, and I found my own rhythm of those tenets that worked for me.  I will treasure the memories of sleeping next to them, holding them close in my various slings, nursing when they wanted and as long as they needed it.  I will probably never have another baby in my home again, but I have peace because I feel like I gave it my all; experienced every sensation and emotion of mothering in those early years. I don't always feel like I excel at anything else in my life, but darn it, I am good at being a mama. I can forgive myself of fumblings and failures to see I was made for this.

I hope to feel the same way when my homeschooling years are done: that just like when I was barefoot and pregnant, I soak in these days and relish it.


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