My weekend away to rejuvenate was very nice. Very different than my my first one, back in April: the ocean offers a different energy and power than the mountains, I am very pregnant during this retreat and it's winter, making it... colder to be outside. So, I did spend a lot of time inside, retreating into myself and my baby.
It has begun to occur to me more and more frequently that this baby is going to be coming into the world in the not-too-distant future. I'm excited about that. What I'm not totally excited about is getting it out. Knowing more about labour this time around makes me feel more confident as well as more nervous than I was for round one.
In preparation for what's to come, I've been reading the book Birthing From Within. It's a great read, centering around the female body having the power and knowledge of birth within it and focusing on trusting that intuition during labour. I find that it's especially nice to read going into my second birth. It would have been nice to read for the first birth, but what I mean is that there is a tendency to view the first birth as very special (i.e. baby showers, more focus on the becoming mother, attention by others). For subsequent births, some of that new specialness seems to have worn off for others. But for me, there is a different kind of specialness to this pregnancy because of the extra work it took to get here.
Something in the book that struck a chord with me was the sharing of the birth experience with other women. In many cultures, there are different customs and rituals that honour the mother and her shift into a different life. I think the power of women and community is very great and under-valued and under-used these days. Even though I have some very good friends here, I left my larger support network of moms in Portland. At this point in my pregnancy journey, I miss all their energy and support.
This retreat did not feel long enough. I didn't come to any great epiphanies like I felt last time. At first, I was bummed about that. But what I realized was that this retreat was only a beginning. A beginning of retreating in, letting go of the outside world a bit more (and all those tasks that are forever being added to "the list"), focusing on me and the baby, preparing for a different lifestyle and honouring the present for what it is and for what it is soon to be.... the past.
The ocean holds a cleansing power, constantly moving, changing, pushing out the old and taking in the new. In April, when we were making space for getting pregnant and making a major decision about moving, the power of the ocean spoke to me. It helped push out fears and challenge me to shift. The mountains hold a different power. One of strength, endurance, awe. As I approach the birth of my second child, this is the kind of energy I want to embrace: The power of being a woman, of growing another human being within myself; the strength and endurance to trust my body through labour; the awe of creating life.